Submitted by teddyrooseveltp... on Wed, 06/04/2014 - 7:32am
WRAL is out with the news this morning that the Department of Health and Human Services has blown a $60 million hole in the state's budget. Budget Director Art Pope and DHHS head Aldona Wos issued a press release this morning, revealing that the state had violated Federal guidelines on Medicaid.
During budget meetings earlier this year, Department of Health and Human Services officials guaranteed lawmakers that they had the Medicaid budget under control and that there would be no late-spring surprises from unexpected cost overruns. While this isn't a billing error or computer glitch like those that have plagued the department in the past, it is a nasty fiscal shock that comes in the middle of the budget process.
Back in September -- 7 months ago -- the Raleigh News & Observer made a public records request of Queen Aldona's realm. They asked for emails of Carol Steckel (you remember Carol, she was hired as the savior of NC's Medicaid program and lasted 8 months under Queen Aldona before she abruptly resigned).
It’s been 205 days since The News & Observer requested emails of former state Medicaid director Carol Steckel.
Davis and DHHS Sec. Aldona Wos told lawmakers they have hired a consultant to help streamline the agency and help make budget forecasts more reliable. "We've got here another single-bid $3 million contract," Tucker said, expressing frustration that a large agency with thousands of staffers could not have found workers to do such a review.
Wos said that DHHS' staff has shrunk and didn't have the ability to both handle day-to-day tasks as well as plan for the future. "This was an example of success. if this was able to be done by the employees of DHHS over the past 14 years, it would have done," Wos said. She added, "We would love to be at our desk working but we are here to provide you with the information you requested."
Shorter version: "It's not my fault, it's your fault." Apparently Republicans in the NCGA don't understand how job evaluations amongst the 1% really work: you fuck up, you move up, and the more money you lose in mismanaging your organization, the bigger your bonus and golden parachute. I shouldn't have to explain these things.
Freshly back from playing pretend pilot in Washington, DC, Deputy Assistant Guvnor McCrony is once again comfortably ensconced in his home in Alternate Realityville, where he proclaimed this the "month and week of the young child" in NC.
WHEREAS, the State of North Carolina joins the North Carolina Early Childhood Advisory Council, the North Carolina Education Cabinet, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Public Instruction, along with the North Carolina Partnership for Children, and the North Carolina Association for the Education of Young Children, in recognizing and supporting the people and programs that are committed to providing high quality early childhood education and services;
Lawmakers publicly aired their frustrations with a string of problems at Wos' agency, from difficulty getting budget data to IT problems affecting Medicaid providers and patients alike, and said it could jeopardize their willingness to move forward with the governor's Medicaid reform initiative. Wos responded that her agency is being "micromanaged" by state lawmakers.
Asked to clarify, Wos said federal and state requirements for reporting are onerous, and lawmakers' additional requests for information are an extra burden.
"We beg – ask only what you need from us and not more. We have an incredible amount of reports that we have to present to you," Wos said. "Set your goals, set your expectations and allow us to get there," she told the panel, "allowing people to do what they need to based on their portfolios once you establish what you would like."
Errr...what? On second thought, don't even try to explain it, because that will just make things worse.
That's what Queen Aldona told her oversight committee. After getting slapped down by the feds for her disastrous management of NC's food stamp program, in which people who should have waited a few days ended up waiting months, Queen Aldona said she had it all fixed.
Wos told the Joint Legislative DHHS Oversight panel that only 520 cases remained in the queue statewide as of Tuesday, and officials were confident that the state could meet the March 31 deadline. Then, Guilford County officials notified DHHS early Wednesday of an additional backlog.
There's no question that Queen Aldona is in over her head. She's thoroughly incompetent. She should not only be fired, but also tarred and feathered and carried in a cart. By the SNAP recipients of North Carolina.
After floating a trial balloon for privatizing Medicaid that sunk rapidly among the health care providers of the state, Deputy Assistant Guvnor Pat has now rolled out his proposed Medicaid reform plan, which relies heavily on Accountable Care Organizations. This plan has a far more favorable view from healthcare providers and payers.
Yeah, we know it's hard to believe that (1) Queen Aldona and DAG McCrony could apparently get something largely right (still to be determined); and (2) Queen Aldona and DAG McCrony could actually admit that their initial proposal was a disaster and make actual substantive changes.
Joe Hauck was paid $310,000 in less than 11 months as a consultant to state Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos before returning in December to his job as an executive at a private company run by Wos' husband.
In response to public records requests filed in September by The Associated Press seeking all plans, proposals, documents, e-mails and any other work product authored by Hauck, the state agency has handed over a pair of memos totaling little more than three double-spaced pages.
The agency also provided spreadsheets detailing cuts made in state funding to such nonprofit charities as food banks and pre-Kindergarten programs that were reportedly developed at Hauck's direction.
Even if most of Hauck's contributions were verbal in nature, there would still be a paper trail (meeting announcements, minutes from such) providing a skeletal detail of work performed. And the inclusion of Food-Bank-cutting materials could simply be an effort to shift the blame for something (that should be) wildly unpopular. Whatever the case, the numbers don't add up to anything short of misappropriation of government funds.
For days, she had been waiting on a monthly food stamp allotment that should have hit her account on Feb. 7. Every morning since, she called the number on the back of her Electronic Benefit Transfer card to check her balance. Now, with a crippling winter storm bearing down on the Triangle, those calls were getting more frantic.
That same morning, a few miles away, the head of the agency responsible for supervising the state's food stamp program was delivering good news to lawmakers.
As depressing as it might be, take the time to read the whole story. When commenting on politics, we often focus on numbers and statistics and such, but those things represent real people, with very real and often life-threatening situations. At the end of the day, they are why we must continue to fight against the regressive policies of the GOP.
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