NC Senate budget plan would cut Community Care Networks

Senate leaders have inserted into their budget proposal their quest for reducing, then eliminating, the N.C. Community Care Networks.

Community Care of N.C. is a homegrown, nonprofit series of Medicaid managed-care networks that has significant statewide support among doctors and health care providers, as well as several federal and state lawmakers.

The state Medicaid program covers about 1.9 million North Carolinians and has about a $14 billion annual budget.

The CCNC networks saved the state almost $1 billion in Medicaid costs between mid-2006 and mid-2010, according to an independent actuary's report in 2011.

However, the Senate budget would discontinue contracts and payments to the network, effective Jan. 1. That represents a funding cut of $32.5 million in fiscal 2015-16 and $64.9 million in fiscal 2016-17.

The proposal mirrors Senate Bill 701, introduced March 30 and supported by several Senate Republican leaders.

In both instances, the Senate would forbid the state from providing financing to primary-care case-management programs, such as CCNC, as part of redirecting health-care resources and expenditures.

Instead, contract payments would go directly to county health departments. Also being discontinued would be per-member-per-month payments that include Carolina Access payments to physician providers.

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