NCDHHS NEWS 11/17/23

Posted in: Madison Park
Nov. 17, 2023
NCDHHS Secretary Kody Kinsley shared an update on the progress of Medicaid Expansion, which will launch on Dec. 1, 2023. Expanding eligibility for Medicaid is the most significant investment in the health of North Carolinians in decades, providing health coverage for more than 600,000 people.

Medicaid Expansion will increase access to mental health and substance use treatment and will help build a healthier workforce in NC. It will help working families, as 80% of the people who will benefit from expansion are working families. Find out if you're eligible and more information at:
Five Stillbirths and Neonatal Deaths Related to Congenital Syphilis
NCDHHS is issuing a public health alert following five stillbirths or neonatal deaths in babies with congenital syphilis born between Jan. 1, 2023 and Sept. 1, 2023. This alert follows a provider memo issued last week by NCDHHS asking for health care providers’ help to prevent congenital syphilis and reverse the alarming trend. From 2012 to 2022, there was a 547% increase in reported syphilis cases in North Carolina among women with an associated increase in congenital syphilis infections, from one case in 2012 to 57 cases in 2022. Congenital syphilis is preventable. If left untreated, syphilis in pregnancy can result in miscarriages, stillbirth and neonatal death, as well as adverse life-long health impacts for the baby such as bone damage, severe anemia, enlarged liver and spleen, jaundice, nerve problems causing blindness or deafness, meningitis or skin rashes. All pregnant women should be screened at least three times during pregnancy. NCDHHS will continue efforts to raise awareness and address this issue with a provider education campaign to spread awareness about syphilis and the importance of testing. 
State, Federal Health Leaders Hold Collegiate Recovery Program Listening Session
This week, NCDHHS Secretary Kinsley joined Dr. Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, Assistant Secretary, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), to celebrate North Carolina’s first Collegiate Recovery Program and its successes during a visit to the University of Charlotte. The Charlotte program began 11 years ago and is one of 18 Collegiate Recovery Programs supported by NCDHHS. There are approximately 30 total collegiate recovery programs across the state. Collegiate Recovery Programs increase access to recovery services and support on campuses for students with substance use disorders and those wishing to pursue a substance-free lifestyle. Collegiate Recovery Programs have been in existence for more than 40 years and provide services and educational opportunities in a supportive environment, as well as promote personal accountability while attending a public or private college, university or community college. Through outreach efforts, UNC Charlotte’s program has reached more than 900 students over the past 14 months. The program has a 100% current graduation rate for participants.
Increase in Reimbursement Rates for Behavioral Health Help Strengthen Workforce
Historic Medicaid reimbursement rate increases will soon be implemented for most mental health, substance use, intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) services in North Carolina, the first increase to the state minimum reimbursement rates for behavioral health services in more than a decade. Raising these rates will strengthen the care workforce who provide these services and increase access to care for every North Carolinian. It will also make Medicaid expansion more impactful for the estimated 600,000 people who will gain access to these Medicaid health care services. For example, the overall reimbursement for inpatient behavioral health services is expected to increase by 30%. And psychiatric diagnostic evaluation will almost double from the prior rate. Additional information on these increases will be shared through a Medicaid Provider Bulletin. These rate increases will have a positive impact on the more than 2.3 million people served by Medicaid, allowing increased access to behavioral services. 
NCDHHS Recognized for Ad Encouraging North Carolinians to Stop Smoking
NCDHHS was recently recognized for its work to educate and encourage North Carolinians to stop smoking. The department won a silver Health Marking Impact Award from publisher Modern Healthcare. Named the Tiny But Mighty Campaign of the Year, the Quit and Live campaign uses cartoon illustrations to show the risk of continuing to smoke while also pointing to free resources available to smokers through These images appeared in both English and Spanish and were displayed in videos, digital ads and on social media. During the two-month outreach effort, the campaign resulted in a 12.3 percent increase in average call volume and a 63 percent increase in website traffic to Traffic to the Spanish homepage for the program also rose greatly, showing a more than 13,500 percent increase. Watch the ad on the NCDHHS YouTube channel. Visit for information about the state’s free tobacco cessation program. 
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