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MedicaidThere’s new and compelling evidence that North Carolina’s model for delivering Medicaid (Community Care North Carolina -CCNC) is a winner — notwithstanding the often-bumbling oversight provided by embattled state DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos and the attempt by Senate leaders to sell the program off to a private managed care company. (It’s worth noting that the flawed sell-off idea was once also touted by Gov. McCrory and Sec. Wos as well until the two gradually came to their senses over the past year).

Today, in a letter to state Medicaid directors throughout the country, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at the national DHHS announced today that they are launching a new national collaborative initiative called the “Medicaid Innovation Accleerator Program.” The goal of initiative is “to improve care and improve health for Medicaid beneficiaries and reduce costs by supporting states in accelerating new payment and service delivery reforms.”

The letter announcing the initiative holds up three examples of state innovation success in Ohio, Washington and North Carolina. Here’s what it has to say about North Carolina: Read More

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Femcare clinic

(Photo by Jon Elliston, Carolina Public Press)

If you haven’t already done so, be sure to check out this excellent new story by Carolina Public Press reporter Jon Elliston: “Documents disclose political, PR pressures surrounding Asheville abortion clinic’s suspension.” Elliston, who combed through reams of McCrory administration documents and emails obtained through public records requests, paints a rather dark and fascinating picture of what went on behind the scenes last year as lawmakers passed new abortion clinic restrictions and communicated with HHS officials about past and prospective clinic inspections.

This is from the story:

“While the documents stop short of pinpointing who or what prompted the mid-July inspection of the Asheville-based clinic — Femcare’s first comprehensive review in almost seven years — they do show: Read More

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Aldona WosAn editorial in this morning’s Winston-Salem Journal pulls few punches in characterizing the latest incident of political cronyism in Gov. Pat McCrory’s embattled Department of Health and Human Services and demanding a full accounting. That incident, of course (as reported and expanded upon here and here earlier this week by N.C. Policy Watch) was the department’s bestowal of $310,000 in pay to a “contractor” whose permanent job just happens to be working for the private company owned by the husband of DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos (and whose main work product during the period in question seems to have been to recommend cutting a number of safety net programs). This is from the editorial:

“The latest manifestation of Wos’ closed-government philosophy arose in news reports about Joe Hauck. Wos hired him as a private consultant and paid $310,000 for 11 months of work. But so far, it’s hard to tell what he did for that money. Read More

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The Henderson Daily Dispatch has called for the resignation of North Carolina Health and Human Services Director Aldona Wos. According to the editorial dated yesterday entitled: Wos must immediately resign post:

“Aldona Wos must immediately resign her position as the secretary of our state’s Department of Health and Human Services. If she does not, Gov. Pat McCrory has to make the decision for her.

Wos helped raise money for McCrory’s gubernatorial campaign last fall. Her department’s hires are foul-smelling of campaign worker exchanges. The governor’s campaign against a corrupt culture in Raleigh has long left the station.

Allowing her to continue disables McCrory’s integrity while she digs a deeper hole.

Wos is responsible for a department with nearly 18,000 employees spread in 30 divisions and offices, 14 facilities and a budget of $18.3 billion. She took the job for $1 in annual salary. Everybody, whether qualified or not, with connections to her is raking in the dollars.

State leaders have tightened the grip on money, particularly for the unemployed and the education system. Free spending by Wos’ department cripples any sense of balance in McCrory’s governance.

Our confidence in Wos is irrevocably broken.”

After listing her numerous foul-ups, the editorial concludes this way:

“Until Wos is gone, the cycle will repeat.

And North Carolina can’t endure any more of her egregious and reckless actions.”

Click here to read the rest of the editorial (the site may require you to register, but it’s free).

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Durham BullsToday’s lunch links will, to everyone’s relief no doubt, feature a brief break in the play-by-play descriptions of the ongoing meltdown over at the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Instead, we’ll focus on something a heck of a lot less depressing (at least some of the time that is): sports in North Carolina. In case you lost track and were wondering, however, after eight-plus months in control, the scoring line for the new HHS departmental leadership is:  Zero runs, zero hits and umpteen errors.

Speaking of impressive scoring lines, how about those Durham Bulls? After last night’s come-from-behind 2-1 win over those dirty, no good (and defending champion) Pawtucket Red Sox, our local boys are just two wins away from snagging the franchise’s fourth Governor’s Cup (as champions of the Triple A International League) in the past 12 seasons.  Unfortunately, the Bulls’ big league brothers, the Tampa Bay Rays, continue to slide and may not make the A.L. playoffs.

And speaking of troubling slides, is there anyone that can watch and truly enjoy big time college football anymore without experiencing a powerful sense that the whole thing has become an absurd cesspool of exploitation, deceit and corruption? Read More