122C-115. Duties of counties; appropriation and allocation of funds by counties and cities.

(a) A county shall provide mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse services in accordance with rules, policies, and guidelines adopted pursuant to statewide restructuring of the management responsibilities for the delivery of services for individuals with mental illness, intellectual or other developmental disabilities, and substance abuse disorders under a 1915(b)/(c) Medicaid Waiver through an area authority. Beginning July 1, 2012, the catchment area of an area authority shall contain a minimum population of at least 300,000. Beginning July 1, 2013, the catchment area of an area authority shall contain a minimum population of at least 500,000. To the extent this section conflicts with G.S. 153A-77 or G.S. 122C-115.1, the provisions of this section control.

(a1) Effective July 1, 2012, the Department shall reduce the administrative funding for LMEs that do not comply with the minimum population requirement of 300,000 to a rate consistent with the funding rate provided to LMEs with a population of 300,000.

(a2) Effective July 1, 2013, the Department shall reassign management responsibilities for Medicaid funds and State funds away from LMEs that are not in compliance with the minimum population requirement of 500,000 to LMEs that are fully compliant with all catchment area requirements, including the minimum population requirements specified in this section.

(a3) A county that wishes to disengage from a local management entity/managed care organization and realign with another multicounty area authority operating under the 1915(b)/(c) Medicaid Waiver may do so with the approval of the Secretary. The Secretary shall adopt rules to establish a process for county disengagement that shall ensure, at a minimum, the following:

(1) Provision of services is not disrupted by the disengagement.

(2) The disengaging county either is in compliance or plans to merge with an area authority that is in compliance with population requirements provided in G.S. 122C-115(a) of this section.

(3) The timing of the disengagement is accounted for and does not conflict with setting capitation rates.

(4) Adequate notice is provided to the affected counties, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the General Assembly.

(5) Provision for distribution of any real property no longer within the catchment area of the area authority.

(b) Counties shall and cities may appropriate funds for the support of programs that serve the catchment area, whether the programs are physically located within a single county or whether any facility housing a program is owned and operated by the city or county. Counties and cities may make appropriations for the purposes of this Chapter and may allocate for these purposes other revenues not restricted by law, and counties may fund them by levy of property taxes pursuant to G.S. 153A-149(c)(22).

(c) Except as authorized in G.S. 122C-115.1, within a catchment area designated in the business plan pursuant to G.S. 122C-115.2, a board of county commissioners or two or more boards of county commissioners jointly shall establish an area authority with the approval of the Secretary.

(c1) Area authorities may add one or more additional counties to their existing catchment area upon the adoption of a resolution to that effect by a majority of the members of the area board and the approval of the Secretary.

(d) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, counties shall not reduce county appropriations and expenditures for current operations and ongoing programs and services of area authorities or county programs because of the availability of State-allocated funds, fees, capitation amounts, or fund balance to the area authority or county program. Counties may reduce county appropriations by the amount previously appropriated by the county for one-time, nonrecurring special needs of the area authority or county program. (1977, c. 568, s. 1; c. 679, s. 7; 1979, c. 358, ss. 5, 23; 1981, c. 51, s. 3; 1985, c. 589, s. 2; 1989, c. 625, s. 14; 1995 (Reg. Sess., 1996), c. 749, s. 1; 1999-202, s. 1; 2001-437, s. 1.8; 2004-124, s. 10.26(a); 2006-66, s. 10.32(c), (d); 2007-504, s. 1.3; 2011-264, s. 2; 2012-151, ss. 1, 6; 2013-85, s. 4(a)-(c); 2013-363, s. 4.12(a); 2013-378, s. 11; 2013-410, s. 23(a).)