Archive for Pat Mccrory

N.C. Hospitals Applaud McCrory’s Mental Health Task Force Plan

Hospital executives know all too well the toll that mental and behavioral health patients can have on their health systems.

These patients can show up in emergency departments – and sometimes stay for days – clogging the rooms and halls of an ED, and in rare cases even becoming dangerous to hospital staff or other patients.

“Community hospitals are the safety net for behavioral health; every three minutes, a North Carolinian experiencing a behavioral health crisis arrives at a hospital emergency department,” according to the N.C. Hospital Association. “Not only are these visits and admissions expensive, but they are not providing the appropriate level of care for the patients.”

That is an average of 186 patients per day. ED visits are expensive – about $1,500 on average.

In 2013, North Carolina hospitals had 162,000 behavioral health emergency department visits and 68,000 admissions. Not only are these visits and admissions expensive, they are not providing the appropriate care for patients, according to NCHA.

Indeed it was the care of mental and behavioral health patients that led to a heated battle between WakeMed Health & Hospitals and Rex Healthcare a few years ago. The UNC Wakebrook facility, only a stone’s throw from the main WakeMed campus, is a result from those discussions.

Advocates for better mental health care lament that these services are chronically underfunded and say that society has largely turned to law enforcement as a solution. In 2010, the Wake County chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness declared that “Prisons and jails are North Carolina’s new mental hospitals.”

In the fall of 2014, NAMI released a survey asking families and individuals who had a psychiatric emergency to share their experiences from the ER. With more than 1,000 individuals responding, two out of five rated their experience as “Bad” or “Very Bad.”

In an effort to improve care, Gov. Pat McCrory announced intentions to establish a North Carolina Mental Health and Substance Use Task Force, a panel that will make recommendations to improve the lives of those with mental illness and substance use disorders.

“Our goal is to improve collaboration between health care, justice and safety professionals using existing resources,” McCrory said. “If we improve these linkages, we offer the best hand up to those in need – especially our young people.”

The task force has the support from hospitals. “N.C. Hospitals are pleased that Governor McCrory has made mental health and substance use issues a priority in his administration,” according to the NCHA. “We look forward to working collaborative with the task force in developing and implementing workable strategies to address this critical health issue.”

The task force will be co-chaired by N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Martin and N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Aldona Wos, and will include Sen. Tamara Barringer, R-Wake, and Rep. Susan Martin, R-Pitt and Wilson, as task force members.

“On a daily basis, courtrooms across our state serve those who struggle with mental health and substance use issues,” Martin said. “My hope is that this task force will, among other things, examine the role and effectiveness of mental health and other specialty courts currently operating in North Carolina.”

The task force will submit findings and strategic recommendations to the governor by May 1, 2016, for improving the lives of North Carolina youth and adults with mental illness and substance use disorders and their families.

Teacher Raises Come with Cost

NorthCarolinaSealNorth Carolina Senate leader Phil Berger released the details of his 2014 education budget Thursday, which would provide teachers with an average 11 percent increase in pay beginning this fall.

But there is a catch — those who would like to take home the significant pay raise, which amounts to somewhere between $5,000 and $6,000 for many teachers, will have to give up their career status, also known as tenure. Lawmakers have been trying to squash tenure for some time, and the General Assembly repealed it during last year’s legislative session.

Governor McCrory said he had problems with the proposal. A court ruled recently that lawmakers can’t strip tenure from teachers. McCory disagreed with the budget on other fronts too including impacts on the Department of Transportation, environmental protection, commerce and health and human services. The budget would also include 14.8 million to build a crime lab in WNC. Extra spending comes from the cuts some of which include eliminating teachers assistants in second grade classrooms across the state.

A bill must pass 3 readings but can’t be voted on the same day. The short session has made it difficult for the public to be involved. Senators have been told to stay in Raleigh on Saturday signaling a vote could come as early as just after midnight Friday.

DMV Customer Service Improvements

NorthCarolinaSealGovernor Pat McCrory formally opened the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles’ new flagship state-of-the art office today in Huntersville and highlighted improved DMV customer service across the state. As part of those changes the governor also announced that, starting today, most newcomers to the state will no longer have to take a written test to obtain a North Carolina driver license.

With the elimination of the written test, newcomers and North Carolina residents only have to present a valid driver license that has been expired less than two years, and take the eye test and road sign test to apply for a license. The change is expected to dramatically cut the time many have to spend in the DMV office. First-time drivers and applicants whose licenses have been expired more than two years will continue to be required to take the written test.

NCDMV piloted numerous changes during the past year based on a “Voice of the Customer” study aimed at improving customer service, efficiency and technology, and eliminating bureaucracy

Key Appointed To Crime Commission

800px-Eastern_Band_CherokeeCalling it an “important milestone,” Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Principal Chief Michell Hicks applauded Gov. Pat McCrory’s appointment of tribal member Iva Key to the N.C. Governor’s Crime Commission. She is the first member of the tribe to serve on the commission that advises the governor’s office on crime and public safety policy “Ms. Key has made great strides on behalf of our tribe as manager of the EBCI Domestic Violence program and we are gratified to know she will take her exceptional talent and experience to Raleigh,” Hicks said. Chief Hicks went on to say that appointment also “signals a commitment by our state to address the issue of violence against women which has long been a pressing problem for Native people in America.” He cited data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting violence against women in Native American tribes is the highest among any group in the nation. Ms. Key’s appointment follows sweeping expansion of the national Violence Against Women Act in 2013 that gave Indian courts greater jurisdiction in domestic violence cases.”It is gratifying that Ms. Key can now expand her commitment to saving lives and improving the ways we treat victims of abuse on a statewide level,” Hicks said.

Gov. McCrory Concludes Sylva/Dillsboro Visit

Governor McCrory Hosts the Roundtable Discussion

Governor McCrory Hosts the Roundtable Discussion

Gorvernor Pat McCrory visited Sylva, North Carolina today, and met with business leaders at local industries as well as had a discussion with regional leaders and citizens. The Governor’s visit began with a tour of Jackson Paper Company where he spoke with both executives and mill workers to get a better understanding on how the company has coped during the recent economic decline. Following the visit at Jackson Paper, the Governor hosted a round table discussion forum at the Jarrett House in Dillsboro. Nearly 40 invited guests were on hand to hear the governor speak and ask him questions. Governor McCrory began the roundtable event with the following opening statement, “You know, what I want to do is first of all, I am here to have conversation with you. I’m not here to give a speech and we’ve got business leaders in here, we’ve got republicans, democrats, and independents here in this room and I want to welcome all of you. This is about governing and this is about leading now.” He went on to say, “For the people of Jackson County and Sylva, I’ve said it in 2008, this is one of my two favorite towns in North Carolina.” “I love the Main Street here.” During the 45 minute roundtable discussion the Governor touched on questions across a wide range of topics, including taxes, spending, state hiring practices, health care for the mentally ill and the tourism industry. When asked about criticism he has received regarding the states education budget, the Governor replied, “I want to also let you know, despite what you read, K through 12 spending is the largest this budget has ever been in North Carolina history.” WRGC’s had the opportunity to sit down with the Governor and ask how hi tour of the Jackson Paper Company went and why he chose to visit. “One is, I went to that company back in 08′ when I was running for governor and I wanted to see what’s changed since 08′ and what some of their challenges are. I want to get feedback from the industries that are making things. We’ve got to continue to be a state where we make and build, innovate and grow things. As Governor I am focusing on the agricultural industry, the manufacturing industry, and travel & tourism. We kind of take those industries for granted, and those industries margin a profit.” “I went there to listen, and not just to the head of the company, I went to listen to the employees. I met with their employees that work on the line and just trying to make it through the day.” At the conclusion of his stay, WRGC asked the Governor what he had learned about the needs of our area during his visit. “There are some very basic things that we can look at to make a positive difference. For example: Signage on state roads, that’s not too complicated. A lot of times its the small details that people are looking for. You just need to listen.”

Governor Pat Mccrory to Visit Historic Dillsboro

It has been announced that NC Governor Pat Mccrory will be visiting Jackson County on Thursday. According to an unofficial schedule he will begin a tour of Jackson Paper Company in downtown Sylva at 10 am and later in the day move to the Jarrett House in Dillsboro to have lunch and host a roundtable discussion with invited guests. Jim Hartbarger confirmed that he and his staff will indeed be hosting the Governor along with several others. Jim had the following to say, “The only thing we know is that he is going to have a round table discussion at lunch. They said that there would be between twenty and twenty-five people in the roundtable discussion.” Even though all details of the trip have not yet been made public Jim said that he and his staff are excited to add Pat Mccrory to the list of Governors that have visited his establishment. “We’ve been here thirty-eight years, so we have had may Governors during that time and we are honored to have him.” WRGC will be continuing coverage of the Governors trip to our area.