Audit finds flaws in new DHHS computer system

Posted May 22, 2013

The state Department of Health and Human Services has failed to perform adequate tests on a new Medicaid computer system set to launch July 1, according to a state audit released Wednesday.

The computer system, called NCTracks, is designed to replace the current, 25-year-old Medicaid Management Information System for processing claims. The new system has been touted by officials as key in Gov. Pat McCrory’s initiative to overhaul the department.

The report from State Auditor Beth Wood said DHHS has not properly tested the system, and the production testing process has flaws. The audit also found:

  • Key decisions about the addition of 1,500 user accounts and privacy and security procedures have not been made yet.
  • A vendor hired to oversee the project did not conduct independent verifications required by the federal government, and another vendor set its own guidelines for whether its work was acceptable.
  • The department has established no criteria to determine whether the system is ready to be activated.

DHHS spokesman Ricky Diaz said the administration has been working “around the clock” to get NCTracks ready for its July 1 debut and has already corrected some of the problems outlined in the audit.

“Transitions of this magnitude never go perfectly, and we are taking proactive steps to prepare for any potential issues,” he said in a statement. “To help avoid confusion and delayed payments, we urge providers to take advantage of training opportunities we have made available both online and in-person as soon as possible. Additionally, we have established a call center to deal with the expected influx of call volume after July 1 and formed a response team to address user issues.”


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  • HeadsUp May 23, 2013

    "The State DID hire an experienced company, CSC."

    LOL. CSC's only other Medicaid system is NY's, which likewise has been plagued by delays, cost overruns, operational problems, and scathing audits by the state comptroller. Google it.

    And last year the U.S. Air Force canceled a billion-dollar IT contract with CSC, saying the American taxpayers got basically nothing for it. Sound familiar?

    DHHS foolishly rolled the dice with CSC, and we are all paying for it. State legislative leaders need to step in and take charge.

    If Governor McCrory launches this struggling system and it blows up on his watch, it will be his debacle, not Bev Perdue's.

  • maybelle May 23, 2013

    LOL do you folks not know the people who are programing the system and setting up the system do not know what DSS counties even do. As said below each county may be a little different hand have different county systems. Oh yeah how can people who have never done DSS programs write manuels? Yelp they are doing it. And people are not getting their EBT money just wait, sooner or later someone will realize the new system ain't workin.

  • tjdebord May 23, 2013

    DHHS system has flaws. Imagine that. It sounds like they are in major reactive mode. Training is good, but no amount of training will help if the system has not been properly tested and they find serious flaws when it goes on line.

  • Terkel May 22, 2013

    unc70, some social services may vary from county to county but Medicaid has one set of rules for the entire state. Any vendor of Medicaid systems should, you know, comprehend Medicaid rules and not whine that "it's too hard!"

  • Terkel May 22, 2013

    Let me understand. One vendor gives the finger to federal guidelines, a second decided its own work was acceptable, and the bumbling clowns over there - who seem to have a new spokesperson every week - haven't even decided how to determine whether it's ready? Why is anyone in DMA still drawing a paycheck? Oh, right, because the weak managers would rather be at their kids' hockey games or avoiding confrontation with the subordinates she fears than actually do the jobs they get well-paid to do.

  • unc70 May 22, 2013

    The State DID hire and experienced company, CSC. But Medicaid is very different from State to State. More importantly, NC Social Services are run at the County level, and their programs vary widely among the counties. Bertie and Wake have really different needs. No existing system was anything close to what would be needed under ACA. Requirements and rules were constantly changing. And many GOP members in the NCGA in 2011-12 preferred to use Medicaid and the IT systems as election issues rather than to take prudent steps when they should have.

    The GA underfunded the NC parts of Medicaid, so they could claim spending was out of control. And they refused to add the resources and temp employees to prepare, forced layoffs instead. The system had to be ready for ACA, but GA strangled spending extra related. And having ACA with MC optional was a new complication. And the other are changing, too. All integrated. Will be made to work, but a bumpy ride. Please no hurricanes.


    The 25 year old system needs to be replaced, but using state IT is a joke. They have no idea how to make things work. They have good people that do the work, but the overseeing management is a bunch of clowns. In fact this project would have better off out-sourced to a company already doing medicaid claims, then they would only need a data transfer and maintenance.

  • HeadsUp May 22, 2013

    This half-a-billion-dollar project is a colossal disaster in the making. Gov. McCrory should pull the plug on it now, before it blows up on his watch and he gets the blame for it.