ECBH to add 120 jobs

Published 9:15 am Tuesday, August 23, 2011

JACKSON — The Northampton County Board of Commissioners expressed their delight over the addition of more than 100 employment positions at East Carolina Behavioral Health (ECBH).

Last week, the board received a budget report from ECBH’s Chief Operating Officer Leza Wainwright who also spoke about the addition of 120 employees to the organization.

Wainwright said the biggest excitement at ECBH is that the organization has been approved by the state to move forward with the implementation of a Medicaid waiver for individuals with mental health developmental disabilities.

“Basically what that means is on April 1 of 2012, East Carolina Behavioral Health will become the Medicaid program for the 19 counties that we serve,” she said.

Wainwright said effective April 1 all of those relationships with providers will be local and they will be dealing with ECBH only.

“The other good thing about that is that we will be adding 120 staff to our organization to do all that work,” she said.

Wainwright added a lot of those people will be field based. She said ECBH will be hiring throughout 19 counties and felt confident that some of the new hires will be from Northampton.

“We’re really excited that some of that work that has been done by people in Virginia and Texas will now be done by North Carolinians in our 19 counties,” she said.

Wainwright said with the Medicaid changes, providers that necessarily would not come to a rural area because of the distance will be encouraged to come to areas like Northampton.

“One of the things we are able to do right now under the state’s Medicaid program, the state pays the same price for a service here in Northampton, if it’s in Raleigh, if it’s in Charlotte or out at the Outer Banks. We will be able to pay different rates hopefully to incentivize providers to come into underserved areas,” she said.

The commissioners questioned Wainwright about the 120 new positions.

“Of the 120 staff that you are going to recruit serving 19 counties that means that each county should get about six people,” said Commissioner Robert Carter. “How do Northampton County citizens go about making (out an) application?”

“All of our vacancies are posted on our website (; we also recruit through ECU (East Carolina University) and Elizabeth City State (University), and we do make sure that the members of our board are aware when we have vacancies,” Wainwright said.

Commissioner Virginia Spruill asked if all of the 120 vacancies had been filled.

“No, we’re doing it in waves and we started posting in July,” Wainwright said. “I would say at this point we probably filled no more than 10; so there is a lot of opportunity available.”

Carter questioned what kind of pay scale the jobs offered.

“They are primarily professional level positions so most of them would be in the mid-to-upper-$50s on up to the mid-$60s salary range,” said Wainwright. “A number of them require a license.”

In other ECBH news, Wainwright said the budget for this year totals $68.8 million. Northampton’s funds are budgeted at $81,614, which is a combined total of the county appropriation and ABC funds.

Wainwright said $6.87 million is for service management funds (for general operation of ECBH).

Meanwhile, service delivery funds total $41.8 million.

“That number will be going down about $2 million,” Wainwright said. “The General Assembly cut $35 million out of mental health services in the budget that they passed this year. Our share of that will be about $2.4 million.”

She noted the ECBH Board has to approve a budget revision for that cut.

All other state and federal funds total $1.16 million.

Expenditures in the budget total $7.4 million on internal operations (staff, crisis line etc.) while $51.3 million goes to providers and another $10 million goes to providers, but goes out on grant basis.

“In calendar year 2010, we served 1,287 people in Northampton County,” she said. “The value of those services was at $9.9 million in Northampton.”