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By Erin Smith

A second county has now requested to be allowed to leave the Eastpointe network. Columbus County submitted a request to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to be allowed to leave the Eastpointe network and join Trillium Health Services.

Eastpointe filed a lawsuit against Nash County and the NC DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen earlier this year after Nash County’s request to leave Eastpointe was approved. The lawsuit was dismissed this summer.

Eastpointe serves 11 counties after Nash County’s departure. With Columbus County’s exit, if approved, would bring the number of counties served to 10.

Columbus County officials have expressed their belief the county’s residents are not receiving the quality of services they deserve under Eastpointe, hence the desire to switch to Trillium.

Nash County officials have had disagreements with the Eastpointe board regarding payment disparities and allegations of financial malfeasance by Eastpointe executives. A former Eastpointe Financial officer is awaiting trial for charges of embezzlement. In recent Eastpointe Board of Directors’ meetings, there has been no discussion of the allegations or any efforts to try to find and retrieve the funds embezzled.