11/13/11 — Commissioners to vote on Eastpointe meger

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Commissioners to vote on Eastpointe meger

By Steve Herring
Published in News on November 13, 2011 1:50 AM

Wayne County commissioners Tuesday morning will consider approval of a resolution calling for the merger of Eastpointe Human Services, Beacon Center and Southeastern Regional Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services local mental health management entities.

The merger is in response to the state Department of Health and Human Services' statewide restructuring of the management responsibilities for delivering services for people with mental illness, intellectual and developmental disabilities and substance abuse disorders.

The state plans to reduce the number of the agencies, referred to as local management entities, from 23 to no more than 10.

The state Division of Medical Assistance has determined that to operate efficiently, a local management entity must have a minimum Medicaid population of at least 70,000 people and a total population of at least 500,000. The division has recommended that the entities not meeting those population thresholds collaborate or merge with one or more other entities.

Eastpointe serves Wayne, Duplin, Sampson and Lenoir counties and oversees a $22 million local budget and $88 million in Medicaid funding. The Beacon Center covers Wilson, Nash, Greene and Edgecombe counties. Southeastern covers Bladen, Columbus, Robeson and Scotland counties.

Combined, the three will have a Medicaid population of approximately 178,000 and a population base of approximately 806,000.

Currently, the area served by Eastpointe has a population of 294,000 and a Medicaid population of 70,000. About 80 percent of the people served are adults and 20 percent children. Mental illness accounts for about 77 percent of the cases, 20 percent substance abuse issues and 3 percent developmental disabilities.

Commissioners in May unanimously agreed that the merger should come sooner than the state's 2013 deadline rather than risk the possibility that Eastpointe find itself not in control and/or merged with a less desirable agency.

In other business Tuesday, commissioners will be asked to approve leasing county-owned property for farming operations for 2012 through 2014.

The leases are for:

* Goldsborough Bridge site, Old Mount Olive Highway, eight acres, Bruce Howell of Howell Farms, $608

* Mt. Carmel Church Road, Pikeville, 47.32 acres, Paul Daw, $9,747.92

* Old Mount Olive Highway, Goldsboro, 62.3 aces, Larry Martin, $8,413.62

* Northern Landfill, Hin-nant Road, 64.1 acres, John Lee Tyndall, $8,173.39.

Commissioners also are expected to reconvey the Brogden Primary School property in Dudley back to the Wayne County Board of Education.

Under a 2008 agreement, the school board had transferred the property to the county for the sum of $1. The county in turn, leased the property back to the school board for the sum of $1 -- an arrangement that allowed the county to use the property as collateral when it borrowed money for a construction project at the school.

Rounding out the meeting, Goldsboro High School Principal Tonya Faison will update commissioners on parental and community involvement at the school.

Tuesday's session will get under way at 8 a.m. with an agenda briefing followed by the meeting at 9 a.m. in the commissioners' meeting room on the fourth floor of the county courthouse annex.