The Eastpointe Human Services board of directors voted unanimously Wednesday to consolidate operations under the umbrella of Cardinal Innovations Healthcare.

Eastpointe, funded through federal, state and local tax dollars, oversees mental health, substance abuse and disability services to 12 counties, including Wayne. The consolidation would lead to Cardinal Innovations, based in Kannapolis, to overseeing services to nearly one third of the state in 32 counties.

The consolidation would provide services to about 1 million eligible residents, said Sarah Stroud, chief executive officer of Eastpointe, based in Beulaville.

The vote, taken during a meeting at the University of Mount Olive, is subject to approval by the N.C. Health and Human Services secretary, with Eastpointe seeking consolidation by July 1, said Jonathan Charleston, Eastpointe's attorney.

Eastpointe currently has nearly 200,000 eligible clients in its 12-county area and a budget of $300 million, all which would become part of Cardinal, Stroud said.

This is a developing story. See Thursday's issue of the Godlsboro News-Argus for more details and local reaction.