Can’t keep up or remember all the headline-grabbing goofs over the last year at the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services?
WRAL reporter Mark Binker compiled a chronological list here.
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services under Secretary Aldona Wos has rarely gone a few weeks this year without contending with some major crisis or controversy.
Here’s a snippet of some of the problems, though it’s worth clicking on the WRAL link to refresh your memory of just what’s gone sour at the state agency over the last year.
Sept. 2013: Chief of staff paid $37,000 “severance”
The Department of Health and Human Services paid Thomas L. Adams $37,227.25 as “severance” after he served just one month as chief of staff at the department. Adams’ severance payment stood out because he occupied an exempt position, meaning he could be hired and fired at will with little notice and no need for the state to give cause and no appeal rights. The settlement was in addition to $14,000 in salary he earned over a short tenure.
Oct. 2013: State closes off WIC benefits for women and children as questions rise about whether the move was necessary Questions remain on WIC closure
Dysfunction in Washington came to North Carolina as the partial federal government shutdown stemmed the flow of tax dollars to North Carolina. The Women, Infants and Children, or WIC, nutrition program was one of the hardest hit by the shutdown. North Carolina announced it would stop processing applications due to the shutdown. But the federal government raised questions about that response, saying that the state should have had a reserve to allow them to carry on work through the shutdown period. Question intensified because WIC programs in other states continued operating.
And, most recently:
Jan. 2014: Doctors sue over Medicaid billing problems
North Carolina’s Medicaid billing system has been so dysfunctional that it costs doctors time, money and patients, according to a class-action lawsuit filed by a group of medical providers in early January 2014. The suit alleges the state Department of Health and Human Services and some of its computer services providers were negligent in developing and implementing a new Medicaid claims billing system, known as NCTracks. Doctors from Cumberland, Nash, New Hanover, Robeson and Wake counties are part of the suit and claim “NCTracks has been a disaster, inflicting millions of dollars in damages upon North Carolina’s Medicaid providers.”