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North Carolina releases foster care specialty plan program RFP

This week, our In Focus section reviews the statewide North Carolina request for proposals (RFP) for the new Children and Families Specialty Plan (CFSP), which the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) released on February 7, 2024. The plan will provide physical health, behavioral health, intellectual and developmental disability, long-term care, and pharmacy services to children, youth, and families that the child welfare system serves. Implementation is scheduled for December 1. 


North Carolina implemented Medicaid managed care on July 1, 2021, after working on a plan to transition individuals from fee-for-service to managed care since 2015. CFSP is one of the four types of integrated Medicaid managed care plans the state will contract with to serve Medicaid beneficiaries. The other three are Standard Plans, the Behavioral Health and Intellectual/Developmental Disability (BH IDD) Tailored Plans, and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Tribal Option.  

Standard Plans are operated by one of two types of Medicaid managed care organizations (MCOs): statewide commercial plans (CPs) or regional provider-led entities (PLEs). The state awarded contracts to four CPs, the maximum allowed under the procurement, and one PLE. AmeriHealth Caritas North Carolina, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, UnitedHealthcare of North Carolina, and WellCare of North Carolina serve beneficiaries across six Medicaid managed care regions. A regional contract with provider-led Carolina Complete Health, a partnership between the North Carolina Medical Society and Centene, covers Regions 3, 4, and 5. The total value of the contracts is approximately $6.4 billion. The plans serve more than 2 million members as of year-end 2023. 

The state plans to implement BH IDD Tailored Plans July 1. Tailored plans will be provided through the awarded local management entity-managed care organizations (LME-MCOs): Alliance Health, Partners Health Management, Trillium Health Resources, and Vaya Health. Implementation has been delayed multiple times since 2022. As a result, the state issued a directive last year to dissolve the Sandhills Center and consolidate Eastpointe and Trillium Health Resources to hasten the delayed rollout. The tailored plans are expected to cover approximately 160,000 beneficiaries. 

Details about the CFSP 

The following populations will be enrolled automatically in CFSP: 

  • Beneficiaries who are in foster care 
  • Beneficiaries who are receiving adoption assistance 
  • Beneficiaries enrolled in the former foster youth eligibility group 
  • The minor children of enrolled parents 

The following populations will be eligible for enrollment in CFSP during contract year two: 

  • Parents, caretaker relatives, guardians and custodians with children in foster care 
  • Minor siblings of beneficiaries in foster care 
  • Adults identified on an open Child Protective Services (CPS) In-Home Family Services Agreement case and any minor children living in the same household 
  • Adults identified in an open Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Department of Public Health and Human Services Family Safety program case and any children living in the same household 
  • Any other beneficiary that has been involved with the child welfare system who could benefit from enrollment  


The state will award the contract to a single statewide managed care plan. Applicant MCOs will need to develop strategies for engaging with historically marginalized populations, addressing health disparities, and incorporating health equity. Technical proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria: 

  • Medicaid Managed Care Qualifications and Experience 
  • Medicaid Managed Care Program Administration
    • Administration and management 
    • Program operations 
    • Claims and encounter management 
    • Financial requirements 
    • Compliance 
    • Technical specifications 
    • Historically underutilized businesses 
    • Diversity, equity, and inclusion 
  • Integrated and Coordinated Delivery of Services
    • Members and recipients 
    • Benefits and services 
    • Providers 
    • Stakeholder engagement 
  • Comprehensive Care Management
    • Care management 
    • Quality and value 


The CFSP data book and capitation rate methodology will be released March 1, with an overview for presentation at a pre-proposal conference on March 7. Proposals are due May 1 and awards are expected to be announced August 15. Contracts are scheduled to run December 1, 2024, through June 30, 2028, with one additional option year. The RFP indicates that the Department will work with awardee to establish an appropriate launch date. 

Link to RFP