WTSB News has learned that Johnston County officials are considering a possible merger of the Johnston County Mental Health Center.
Johnston County Manager Rick Hester has confirmed that he and other staff members are exploring a possible merger of the Mental Health Center with Alliance Behavioral Healthcare as early as the summer of 2018.
Alliance is a behavioral health managed care organization (MCO) that currently serves Johnston, Durham, Wake, and Cumberland counties. Durham, Wake and Cumberland have already merged with Alliance.
Alliance manages Medicaid and state funds for consumers in the areas of behavioral health, substance use disorders, intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“If Johnston County merges, Alliance would have more local involvement in mental health service delivery,” Hester said. “Part of our merger discussions will include asking how a merger could enhance behavioral health services in our County.”
Currently, Johnston County only has a working agreement with Alliance for their services.
If the county agrees to merge the Mental Health Center with the company, it would directly impact 21 full-time and 8 part-time employees at Johnston County Mental Health.
“If the County merges with Alliance, it is anticipated that most – if not all – of the employees would have an opportunity to work for Alliance,” Hester said.
Johnston County is currently contracted to spend $175,000 for Alliance services this fiscal year.
Hester said any merger would only involve Johnston County Mental Health and not the Johnston County Health Department. The health department does provide some mental health services but that would not be impacted.
The county manager says he will update County Commissioners on the merger talks before the end of the year.