Our roots go back to 1972, when we were founded under the name Smoky Mountain Center. Initially, we provided direct services and operated group homes and other facilities in the state’s seven westernmost counties. We continued to grow as an organization throughout the seventies, eighties and nineties.
In 2001, North Carolina implemented reforms related to public behavioral health and intellectual/developmental disability service delivery. We transitioned from an area program to a local management entity (LME), ceasing direct service provision and assuming the role of a manager of care delivered by area providers. We went on to successfully complete mergers with neighboring LMEs to our north and east, increasing the size of our catchment area to 15 counties.
In June 2011, the state Legislature expanded the Medicaid 1915(b)/(c) Waiver statewide. We transitioned to a full LME/MCO on July 1, 2012, now serving both state-funded and Medicaid members. In 2013, we merged with Asheville’s Western Highlands Network, and today we serve 22 counties in western North Carolina.
To better reflect the geography of our growing catchment area, in 2016 we assumed the name Vaya Health, with a focus on moving forward as an organization and helping the individuals we serve find stability, recovery and hope.