Johnston County Mental Health Merger Approved

Johnston County Manager Rick Hester

County leaders have agreed to merge the Johnston County Health Department with Alliance Behavioral Healthcare in 2018.

County Manager Rick Hester received permission from the Board of Commissioners on Dec. 4th.  As many as 29 county jobs could be impacted by the merger next year.

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.

When WTSB News first broke the story of a potential merger back in October, Hester said the merger would allow Alliance to have more local involvement in mental health service delivery in Johnston County while hopefully enhancing the services they offer.  Currently, Johnston County only has a working agreement for Alliance for the services they provide.

In a Dec. 5th letter from Mr. Hester to Alliance Behavioral Healthcare CEO Rob Robinson in Durham, the county manager said the intent was to merge on July 1, 2018.  “We look forward to working with you and your team on the details of this agreement/memorandum of understanding,” Hester wrote in the letter.

The merger 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.

The 2018 merger will 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.

Commissioners could work out the final details of the merger as soon as their February 2018 meeting.