Healthcare provider faces closure due to problems at DHHS

The problem goes back to the much-criticized NC Tracks system, which is run by the state's DHHS.
October 17, 2013 6:45:53 AM PDT
A Fayetteville-based home healthcare provider says they are a week shy of closing their doors, and letting go more than 100 employees.

The problem goes back to the much-criticized computer NC Tracks system, which is run by the state's Department of Health and Human Services.

Seven days a week, three years counting, Erma Mitchell gets a visit from Angel's Home Healthcare in Fayetteville. They do anything the 78 year old needs.

"I really need my help every day," said Mitchell, whose arthritis and scoliosis severely limit her abilities.

But come next Friday, Mitchell may not get that visit.

"What is she going to do? She needs her care regardless of what's going on with the state," said LaShonda Wofford, the office manager of Angel's Home Healthcare.

At end of June, providers across the state were notified of DHHS' switch to a new claims system called NC Tracks. The goal was to be a quicker, seamless electronic way to process claims reimbursements.

However, a glitch began to delay payments for many providers, like Angels, who says, months and stacks of correspondence later, DHHS owes them more than $182,000 in outstanding Medicaid payments.

"What's going to happen Friday when I have people lined up," said Angel's owner Charlotte Robinson. "What am I supposed to do?"

Robinson says since then she's taken out personal loans, and stretched savings to make late employee payments, and keep the lights on. However, next Friday they're shutting down if the issue is not resolved.

That move would leave 150 employees in three counties without a paycheck or a job, and about 100 clients like Mitchell without care.

"I'm sorry is not good enough," said Robinson. "I'm sorry is not good enough for my employees and it's not good enough for NC Tracks to tell me."

Letters to employees warning of a potential non-payment are being drafted this week. Letters to Rep. Renee Ellmers have already been sent out, leaving a glimmer of hope as late as last week.

In August, DHHS loaned Angel's $56,000 to help with expenses that tied back to their glitched system. That money is just that a loan, and has gone back to the state.

Wednesday, DHHS told ABC11 that they've since fixed the system problem, and started paying Angel's back, but they were not able to tell us how much, if any, they still owed them.

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