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News State / Region

Gov. Pat McCrory has appointed Brian Ingraham, the CEO of Smoky Mountain LME/MCO, to a new state task force charged with making recommendations to improve the lives of N.C. residents with mental illness and substance use disorders.

The 24-member N.C. Mental Health and Substance Use Task Force will seek to reduce stigma and encourage people to seek help before their situation becomes a crisis. This special panel consists of experts from the justice system, private sector professionals, healthcare providers, county leaders and non-governmental organization entities to tackle mental health and substance use issues statewide.

Smoky Mountain, based in Asheville, manages services for mental illness, substance use disorder and intellectual/ developmental disabilities in 23 western N.C. counties. In the six years Ingraham has served as Smoky’s CEO, the organization has grown from its roots as an area program to a public managed care organization and expanded nearly eightfold.



In the days following the passing of the the State's budget, state agencies and departments are still working on the details and researching the impact the new budget will have. Regional mental health agencies quickly learned the new budget meant that an adjustment would be needed to brace for $110 million in funding cuts across the state.

North Carolina is comprised of eight regional mental health agencies, including Smoky Mountain LME/MCO, which oversees the 23 westernmost counties in the state. The $110 million funding cut will vary from regional agency to regional agency, based on that agency's fund balance.

Macon County Commissioner Ronnie Beale, who was appointed by Gov. Pat McCrory to the state's task force on Mental Health, explained that the funding cut was passed down by the state because of the amount of money being held in the mental health agency's respective fund balances.


Governor Pat McCrory and Secretary of Transportation Nick Tennyson announced that the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Southeast Corridor from Richmond to Raleigh (R2R) has been signed by the Federal Railroad Administration, the State of North Carolina, and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

“This is a significant step toward making high performing rail in the Southeast Corridor a reality,” McCrory said. “Rail is a critical component of our 25-Year Transportation Vision that will improve connectivity throughout the state and strengthen our economy.”

The Raleigh to Richmond project is a critical segment for the Southeast Corridor, which links southeastern states to the vibrant Amtrak Northeast Corridor at Washington, D.C. This will provide great synergy that will result in increased rail ridership throughout. The FEIS document and decision address comments from residents, elected officials, businesses, and agencies throughout the planning process.


Same level of TAs; drivers education fully funded.

Nearly 80 days after the budget was due, state lawmakers have finally reached an agreement and with Gov. Pat McCrory adding his signature to the final product on Friday, North Carolina now has a budget in place.

"The budget submitted to me by the General Assembly includes many of the goals and ideas we put forward to provide the tools North Carolina needs to continue what we have accomplished during the past three years,” said Gov. McCrory. “Now we can work together to implement a common-sense vision for our great state that includes job creation, education, healthcare and transportation.”


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