Reflector editorial: DHHS missteps ‘a pattern in need of attention’
The editorial board of the Greenville Daily Reflector weighs in this morning on the increasing number of questions being asked about recent leadership decisions at the state Department of Health and Human Services.
Here’s an excerpt:
‘North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services employs 17,000 people and operates on an $18 billion budget. More than 1 million North Carolina residents rely on DHHS for a wide range services that include Medicaid, mental health and public health.
Leading so large a department would challenge even an experienced administrator. [Secretary Aldona] Wos lacks such seasoning, though her professional background explained McCrory’s enthusiasm when naming her to head DHHS. One wonders if he remains as confident today as in December, in light of the following:
• In May, Wos blamed Democratic Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin — rather than votes by the Republican-led House and Senate, and McCrory’s signature — for the decision blocking Medicaid expansion to 500,000 residents.
• In July, Dr. Laura Gerald, state health director and director of the Division of Public Health, resigned her post, citing differences with Wos’ leadership.
• This month, Wos fired Dr. Rebecca King, head of oral health at DHHS, ending her 35-year career with the state. King claims her termination was because she declined to help identify state dental hygienists who may have used vacation time to protest budget cuts to public health.
• The two McCrory campaign staffers who received promotions and generous salary increases in April work at DHHS.
• And it was recently revealed that an employee of Wos’ husband, Joe Hauck, has collected more than $228,000 in eight months as a DHHS contractor, making him one of the highest paid in the state.
If one is only a point and two simply a trend, then this record denotes a pattern in need of attention. Wos may be capable of fixing this mess, but she must demonstrate that capacity soon. Continued missteps in so important a department simply cannot be tolerated.’
You can read the paper’s full editorial here.