Aldona Wos

Aldona Vos, DHHS
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

    

North Carolina’s Medicaid program covers 1.7 million people at a cost of $14 billion per year.

The program for low-income and disabled residents has had a turbulent past. Last year, computer glitches created a long backlog of applications and payments for providers. And Medicaid has been a question mark in the budget, causing cost overruns for several years.

But health officials say the system is improving enough that the state could reconsider expanding Medicaid to half a million people who do not have health insurance.

Medicaid illustration: A Caduceus symbol and a dollar sign
Neff Conner / Flickr

North Carolina health officials say the state Medicaid program has a positive cash balance for the first time in years.

For years, the state health insurance for people who are poor or disabled has cost tax payers more than expected. We're talking hundreds of millions of dollars.

But that wasn't the case last year. Aldona Wos, the state secretary for Health and Human Services, says the Medicaid budget was in the black.

NC Department of Health and Human Services logo
NC Department of Health and Human Services

A group of physicians has filed a class-action lawsuit against the state and contractors who launched a new computer program designed to reimburse health care providers for serving Medicaid patients.

The suit seeks millions of dollars in damages. The plaintiffs say they haven't been reimbursed properly for serving those patients. As a result, they say their practices have suffered severe financial losses. Camden Webb is their attorney.

Office of Pat McCrory
NC Governors Office

Governor Pat McCrory said that he will veto a bill that places stricter regulations on clinics providing abortions unless state lawmakers make significant changes to the bill. McCrory's office released a statement this morning saying “major portions of the bill are of sound value,” however he would block the measure unless the legislature amends it to include provisions his administration outlined yesterday.

Aldona Vos, DHHS
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

The head of North Carolina's Department of Health and Human Services has asked state lawmakers to review a bill that would enact new regulations on abortion providers.

Secretary Aldona Wos told lawmakers at a committee meeting earlier today that her department and the governor are very concerned about patients' safety. News 14 Carolina broadcast the meeting.

Computer, medical.
Tabitha Kaylee Hawk via flickr, Creative Commons

The state Auditor has found that the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services did not fully test a new computer system.

The DHHS system was installed to start processing Medicaid claims beginning in July.   Beth Wood's audit found that the nearly $500 million computer system was not put through all of its paces.  The report raises questions about the software and its ability to handle Medicaid claims paid by the state that exceed $12 billion. 

State officials say they plan to reform the health department ahead of their budget proposal to the General Assembly.  Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos told lawmakers yesterday her priorities are to overhaul the state's Medicaid program and improve her office's computer system.  Wos said in committee testimony aired on WRAL.com that she's cleaning up a department whose employees have filled out incomprehensible reports and wasted money through poor communication.

North Carolina's new Secretary of Health and Human Services says she's committed to helping residents of group homes find a place to live at the end of the month. About 14 hundred people with mental illnesses or developmental disabilities are no longer eligible for Medicaid reimbursements for personal care services.

The outgoing Governor, Bev Perdue, allocated one million dollars from a rental assistance fund to keep remaining group home residents in place until the end of January. But everyone's aware that money will run out, says Secretary Aldona Vos.