NC health agency heads pitching Medicaid revamp - WNCN: News, Weather

NC health agency heads pitching Medicaid revamp

Posted: Updated:
DURHAM, N.C. -

Health agency leaders faced a crowd of skeptics sprinkled with voices of hope Wednesday as they sought to sell Gov. Pat McCrory's plan to revamp the government program that provides 1.5 million poor children and disabled adults with health care.

Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos and Medicaid Director Carol Steckel held a question-and-answer session on the McCrory administration's plan to have private companies run a big chunk of the state's $13 billion a year Medicaid program.

The proposal will require approval from the federal government and the state's General Assembly to meet a July 2015 target.

It would have three or four statewide managed-care companies or other entities deliver medical, mental, and dental care for a set price. The private groups would have to pay for expenses beyond the state's monthly payments per patient, providing an incentive for them to improve patient health and giving more cost certainty to the state, which has dealt with perpetual overruns, Wos said.

The goal is to treat the sick comprehensively, cut down on repeat or unneeded treatments, while reducing the administrative complexity that steer many private-practice physicians from taking on Medicaid patients, Wos said. One physician said he hoped the changes would include simplifying the bureaucracy it takes for doctors to get paid.

"Being efficient does not mean providing less service. Being efficient will actually allow us to give the right service to the right person at the right time. Because right now some people get too much of a good thing and some people don't get enough," Wos said.

Wos emphasized that the state would launch a single, Internet-based Medicaid billing system by July, replacing several claims-processing systems.

But skeptics, who ran the spectrum from university physicians to a man named Ed who said his son suffered from schizophrenia, questioned why they should believe the health program for the elderly and disabled would be protected after McCrory and the General Assembly refused to expand Medicaid coverage earlier this year.

About 500,000 low-income North Carolinians would have qualified for government health insurance under the expansion. The federal government said it would cover 100 percent of the state's expansion costs through 2016 and at least 90 percent thereafter.

"How is the public to trust, and how are we to trust, that the changes that are going to be made are in the best interests of the quality of care for the poor?" asked Duke University medical school researcher Perri Morgan, whose question drew applause.

Wos and Steckel said Medicaid expansion was off the table this year. They avoided questions about why they believed managed-care companies would improve on the state's home-grown, non-profit Community Care of North Carolina managed-care doctor networks.

"Why do we think that this will improve the system over what we already have with Community Care of North Carolina," asked Dr. Genie Komives, a family doctor in Hillsborough.

CCNC saved the state nearly $1 billion between mid-2006 and mid-2010, according to an independent actuary's report in 2011. But the Medicaid program still has chronically outstripped its funding. The state's Medicaid shortfall was $418 million last year and nearly $248 million through June 30.

Wos and Steckel said they wanted to build on CCNC's successes and improve on it.

"Everybody recognizes the system needs to go to the next level. That there are significant gaps in the system," Steckel said. "That's what our intent was, not to make it a lucrative field for out-of-state, Wall Street" companies.

  • PoliticsMore>>

  • NC GOP Senate candidates face off as early voting begins

    NC GOP Senate candidates face off as early voting begins

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:15 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:15:49 GMT
    The four top-polling Republican Senate candidates, vying to unseat Democrat Kay Hagan, debated on Wednesday night in Raleigh, the night before early voting was set to begin. The primary is May 6, but voters can start heading to the polls on Thursday.During the half hour televised debate, State House of Representatives Speaker Thom Tillis of Charlotte said he was leading a conservative revolution in Raleigh, cutting regulations and taking credit for falling unemployment numbers. Tillis faces c...
    The four top-polling Republican Senate candidates, vying to unseat Democrat Kay Hagan, debated on Wednesday night in Raleigh, the night before early voting was set to begin. The primary is May 6, but voters can start heading to the polls on Thursday.During the half hour televised debate, State House of Representatives Speaker Thom Tillis of Charlotte said he was leading a conservative revolution in Raleigh, cutting regulations and taking credit for falling unemployment numbers. Tillis faces c...
  • Committee proposes rules for drone use in NC

    Committee proposes rules for drone use in NC

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 4:58 PM EDT2014-04-23 20:58:27 GMT
    A legislative committee approved a set of regulations that it hopes will calm people's fears about the use of drones while allowing the industry to flourish.
    A legislative committee approved a set of regulations that it hopes will calm people's fears about the use of drones while allowing the industry to flourish.
  • Republican NC Senate candidates meet in debate

    Republican NC Senate candidates meet in debate

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 2:24 PM EDT2014-04-23 18:24:44 GMT
    Thom Tillis largely shrugged off criticism about aspects of his legislative record from one of the three other candidates participating in their first television debate.
    Thom Tillis largely shrugged off criticism about aspects of his legislative record from one of the three other candidates participating in their first television debate.
  • NewsMore>>

  • NC GOP Senate candidates face off as early voting begins

    NC GOP Senate candidates face off as early voting begins

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:15 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:15:49 GMT
    The four top-polling Republican Senate candidates, vying to unseat Democrat Kay Hagan, debated on Wednesday night in Raleigh, the night before early voting was set to begin. The primary is May 6, but voters can start heading to the polls on Thursday.During the half hour televised debate, State House of Representatives Speaker Thom Tillis of Charlotte said he was leading a conservative revolution in Raleigh, cutting regulations and taking credit for falling unemployment numbers. Tillis faces c...
    The four top-polling Republican Senate candidates, vying to unseat Democrat Kay Hagan, debated on Wednesday night in Raleigh, the night before early voting was set to begin. The primary is May 6, but voters can start heading to the polls on Thursday.During the half hour televised debate, State House of Representatives Speaker Thom Tillis of Charlotte said he was leading a conservative revolution in Raleigh, cutting regulations and taking credit for falling unemployment numbers. Tillis faces c...
  • Cary's Green Hope named top high school in NC

    Cary's Green Hope named top high school in NC

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 10:01 PM EDT2014-04-24 02:01:12 GMT
    Cary’s Green Hope High School was named the top high school in North Carolina by the U.S. News and World Report.
    Cary’s Green Hope High School was named the top high school in North Carolina by the U.S. News and World Report.
  • Road closures, detours for Tar Heel 10 Miler

    Road closures, detours for Tar Heel 10 Miler

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 7:24 PM EDT2014-04-23 23:24:41 GMT
    Traffic will be detoured in areas of Chapel Hill from 7 to 10 a.m. on April 26 for the Tar Heel 10 Miler and Fleet Feet Sports 4 Mile Run.
    Traffic will be detoured in areas of Chapel Hill from 7 to 10 a.m. on April 26 for the Tar Heel 10 Miler and Fleet Feet Sports 4 Mile Run.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Mom bites off dog's ear to save daughter during attack

    Mom bites off dog's ear to save daughter during attack

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 2:49 PM EDT2014-04-22 18:49:19 GMT
    Image from CNN/KHOU-TVImage from CNN/KHOU-TV
    In a backyard in Alvin, swings a very lucky girl. Her name is Mackenzi Plass, or Kenzi for short, and she survived a dog attack and has undergone several surgeries."She'll be two and a half in May," said her very proud mother Chelsi Camp. "She's doing great. You wouldn't know it if you couldn't see."Mackenzi has scars on her face after the ordeal just weeks ago that put her mother's animal instincts to the test."You do whatever you can," said Camp. "I don't have physical strength at my side."...
    In a backyard in Alvin, swings a very lucky girl. Her name is Mackenzi Plass, or Kenzi for short, and she survived a dog attack and has undergone several surgeries."She'll be two and a half in May," said her very proud mother Chelsi Camp. "She's doing great. You wouldn't know it if you couldn't see."Mackenzi has scars on her face after the ordeal just weeks ago that put her mother's animal instincts to the test."You do whatever you can," said Camp. "I don't have physical strength at my side."...
  • Mom wins lawsuit against TSA after breast milk screening problems

    Mom wins lawsuit against TSA after breast milk screening problems

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 4:40 PM EDT2014-04-23 20:40:54 GMT
    A Southern California woman who was held at a Phoenix airport four years ago after refusing to have her breast milk X-rayed has reached a settlement with the Transportation Security Administration. Stacey
    A Southern California woman who was held at a Phoenix airport four years ago after refusing to have her breast milk X-rayed has reached a settlement with the Transportation Security Administration. Stacey
  • Owner of Raleigh 'Party Mansion' guilty of tax evasion

    Owner of Raleigh 'Party Mansion' guilty of tax evasion

    Monday, April 14 2014 4:07 PM EDT2014-04-14 20:07:04 GMT
    Claude Verbal II, who now lives in Miami, pleads guilty to a number of federal tax evasion charges.
    Claude Verbal II, who now lives in Miami, pleads guilty to a number of federal tax evasion charges.
Powered by WorldNow

1205 Front St., Raleigh
N.C., 27609

Telephone: 919.836.1717
Fax: 919.836.1687
Email: newstips@wncn.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.