Western Highlands announces plans to merge with Smoky Mountain-attachment0

Western Highlands announces plans to merge with Smoky Mountain

As the July 31 deadline looms for ending Western Highlands Network’s state Medicaid contract, its board hopes to keep mental health, substance abuse and developmental disability services close to home. (Above, WHN board member Steve Wyatt announces the board’s the resolution of intent to merge with Smoky Mountain. Photo by Caitlin Byrd)

State tells Western Highlands Network its contract will end in July

On Friday, April 5, the North Carolina Division of Medical Assistance notified the Asheville-based Western Highlands Network that it’s terminating its contract, effective July 31. WHN coordinates mental-health, substance-abuse and developmental-disability services in in Madison, Mitchell, Yancey, Buncombe, Henderson, Transylvania, Polk and Rutherford counties.

In the red: Former Western Highlands Network CEO Arthur Candar Jr. explains how the organization ended up $3 million in the hole. At the end of the July 27 meeting, the board voted to fire him. photo by Caitlin Byrd

Under the gun

After a consultant discovered a $3 million shortfall, the Western Highlands Network must undergo close state oversight aimed at getting the agency back on track. And if the managed-care organization doesn't strictly adhere to the recommendations in the state’s Aug. 1 correction plan, it could face severe consequences. The board has already fired CEO Arthur […]

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