Commissioners Approve Mental Health Merger

July 1st Merger Could Impact 29 County Employees

Following nine months of discussions and negotiations, Johnston County Commissioners have now formally approved the merger of the Johnston County Mental Health Department with Alliance Behavorial Healthcare.

The merger could impact about 21 full-time and 8 part-time county jobs.

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.

Last October, Johnston County Manager Rick Hester received permission from the Board of Commissioners to enter into negotiations with Alliance to have more local involvement in mental health service delivery in Johnston County while hopefully enhancing the services they offer.  Until now, Johnston County only had a working agreement for Alliance for the mental health services they provide.

On June 4th, the Board of Commissioners adopted a resolution approving the merger effective July 1st, 2018. The agreement will allow Alliance to occupy the current space at the Mental Health Center for 1 year at no cost but they must pay utility fees. After the first year, a monthly rent amount will be worked out.

Commissioner Cookie Pope said she wanted to make sure the citizens of Johnston County are being taken care of.  County attorney Jennifer Slusser said citizens should see no change in the services being provided and if anything, services would be enhanced.

Alliance currently has a 20 member Board of Directors. Under the agreement, Johnston County will appoint 2 individuals to the Alliance Board.

Johnston County is contracted to spend about $175,000 for Alliance services this fiscal year, ending June 30th.

The July 1st merger only involves Johnston County Mental Health and not the Johnston County Health Department.  The health department does provide some mental health services but that will not be impacted.