Beth Wood defends North Carolina Medicaid audit for second day

Says she warned health care officials that the computer system for Medicaid reimbursement had problems
November 21, 2013 1:47:50 PM PST
North Carolina State Auditor Beth Wood defended a Medicaid audit done by her office for the second straight day Wednesday - using perhaps some of her strongest language yet when it comes to the Department of Health and Human Services controversy surrounding the NCTracks computer system which is how Medicaid providers get paid.

Wood addressed a letter she sent to the legislative oversight committee last month clarifying what she says was misinformation given to lawmakers.

Wood says her office told DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos in March that the NCTracks system may not be able to go live on July 1 because of problems the Medicaid audit uncovered months before the audit was released in May.

Wood said her office suggested the NCTracks program may have to be delayed after finding a number of shortcomings in the testing of the system. That despite DHHS telling lawmakers the system had met test benchmarks.

Out of more than 800 critical priority tests, Wood says more than 120 failed and nearly 300 were never performed.

"For the secretary to say there was no independent or anybody else that had given them a look at their risk readiness for going live on July 1 was not a true statement to the committee, and we felt like that the committee needed to know that information," said Wood Wednesday.

But a spokesperson for DHHS says it implemented the auditor's recommendations and consulted with outside entities before the system went live.

Spokesman Ricky Diaz also says Wos believed the auditor was satisfied with the DHHS response.

"The department and the secretary took the audit very seriously, in fact the audit, as the auditor explained, she pointed out that some testing needed to be done, so before go live the department actually completed all the testing prior to go live, so that testing was complete and we did take her recommendations very very seriously," said Diaz.

Starting July 1, NCTracks replaced a billing system originally built in the late 1970s that is supposed to handle Medicaid claims valued at $12 billion annually from more than 70,000 providers statewide. But it stumbled out of the gate, as routine invoices by doctors, dentists and hospitals were rejected and new billing terminology threw off their billing experts - even those trained to use the new program.

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