Department of Health and Human Services

A picture of colorized Ebola particles.
Thomas W. Geisbert, Boston University School of Medicine / Wikipedia

North Carolina health and safety officials are building a united front to prepare against the Ebola virus.

State Health and Human Services secretary Aldona Wos announced at a press conference yesterday that the Centers for Disease Control has named North Carolina's State Laboratory of Public Health to be a regional hub to test potential Ebola specimens.

DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos
Jessica Jones

North Carolina's Secretary of Health and Human Services spoke before a legislative committee Wednesday to explain organizational changes made in one of her divisions.

Secretary Aldona Wos explained the changes will help streamline the Division of Medical Assistance, which administers the state's Medicaid program. She also told legislators that a formerly enormous backlog in the IT system used to process Medicaid applications- called NC FAST- has been reduced by 81 percent. The Secretary says she expects the system to be caught up by the end of October.

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

Medical examiners in North Carolina routinely skip critical steps in their investigations, according to a new report by The Charlotte Observer

Medical examiners rarely go to the scene of a death and in some cases, they do not actually examine the bodies. 

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.

Beth Wood
NC Auditor's Office

State auditor Beth Wood went before lawmakers for a second day Wednesday to defend her office’s audit of the state’s Medicaid program.

A new computer system called NCTracks that allows health care providers to get reimbursed for Medicaid claims has been operating since July first. But many doctors and hospitals have reported they’re not getting the money they’re owned, and the system has numerous glitches.

HealthServe is closing in Greensboro this week and 20,000 people will have to find a medical provider elsewhere.
Flickr.com

State health officials are trying to cut the number of people with behavioral disorders who end up in the Emergency Room. 

The Department of Health and Human Services says it's creating an advisory panel of health experts and patient advocates.  The group's job will be to recommend improvements at the local level for mental health and substance abuse services. 

Division of Mental Health director Dave Richard says there's apparent confusion about where to send those patients now that the state has moved away from community mental health centers.

Protesters take a stand for abortion and women's rights at a Moral Mondays protest.
Matthew Lenard

The Department of Health and Human Services found health code violations this summer at two North Carolina clinics that provide abortions. Now, one of them has closed for good, while the other has re-opened.

Dr. Laura Gerald
NC Division of Public Health

State Health Director Dr. Laura Gerald has resigned from that post effective immediately. 

A release from the Department of Health and Human Services said Secretary Aldona Vos accepted the resignation Tuesday.  Gerald served as state health director for the past 18 months.

In a correspondence sent to DHHS employees, Vos thanked Gerald for her service and wished her well on her future endeavors. The secretary also announced temporary replacements in the Division of Public Health

NC General Assembly

One of the issues still to be decided by the North Carolina Legislature before it adjourns is whether to approve new rules that Republicans say would make abortion safer.

Democrats say abortions in the state are already very safe, and that the new provisions would lead to clinics closing.

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. 

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