NC ends Medicaid contract with Western Highlands

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ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina is ending its Medicaid contract with Western Highlands Network later this year.

The change takes effect July 31. The Citizen-Times of Asheville reports (http://avlne.ws/14TOOck) that this means mental health providers and Medicaid clients will have to go through another managed care organization.

Western Highlands Network has oversight for state-paid and Medicaid-paid mental health services in eight counties in western North Carolina. The company started to directly administer the federal Medicaid program and transitioned to a managed care organization.

But in the first six months of 2012, Western Highlands accumulated a multimillion budget deficit, and the company fired its CEO in July.

Company officials say they were surprised by the state's decision.

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