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Auditor reviewing January Medicaid audit

Posted October 9, 2013
Updated October 10, 2013

State Auditor Beth Wood discusses an audit of the Medicaid program during a Jan. 31, 2013, news conference.

—  State Auditor Beth Wood said Wednesday that she is reviewing details related to a report that her office issued in January following questions raised during a legislative oversight hearing Tuesday.

That January audit alleged inefficient management and lax oversight had led to higher-than-usual administrative costs in the state Medicaid program.

But a report published on the nonprofit news site North Carolina Health News earlier this week suggested Department of Health an Human Services officials deliberately failed to defend their agency against the report's allegations. Specifically, early drafts of a response to the audit would have shown North Carolina's administrative costs were some of the lowest in the country, taking a bite out of the audit's most severe criticism. That information was edited out of the final draft. 

Health policy experts pointed out that discrepancy at the time, but Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican who took office in January, and other officials in his administration have repeatedly leaned on the audit to show they have inherited "a broken system" from Gov. Bev Perdue, a Democrat. McCrory has been pushing for a broad reform of the system, which may include allowing private managed care companies to handle the state's Medicaid caseload. 

During Tuesday's oversight hearing, Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos said she had not seen the new report but said she stood by what her agency had to say at the time.

Asked why the agency revised its initial response, drafted by bureaucrats that worked for the Perdue administration, Wos said there was nothing unusual about that.

"The responses to the audit were based on a fresh pair of eyes," she said in response to a question. "We wrote our response and stand by it."

But in an email statement Wednesday, Wood said enough information was called into question at Tuesday's hearing to warrant a second look. 

"Our office has a number of concerns about information provided yesterday to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee for Health and Human Services and about recent news reports relating to our January Medicaid audit. We are currently reviewing information from each of these sources and will soon provide a detailed response to questions about our work," she said.

5 Comments

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  • perseusomega9 Oct 11, 10:19 a.m.

    How convenient that the McCronies have been touting the medicaid woes as a reason for not giving teachers and state employees a raise.

  • wafranklin Oct 10, 9:46 a.m.

    Just what kind of Audit did Wood do? A flyby of DHHS. Then she got up with McCrony and swore it was true. I would say, not good work at all. Does not matter, Council of State is target for Pope next go around. Did not waste to waste money on them last time.

  • rushbot Oct 10, 8:14 a.m.

    lookie, lookie..what hath WOS_GATE disclosed to the masses..why..it appears that lil' patty mccrony did not speak the truthiness!!!

  • lmatthews1948 Oct 10, 6:13 a.m.

    McCrory said. "She (Wos)cannot make good decisions and neither can I if we have bad information, and right now, there's a lot of bad information."

    The above quote from Gov. McCrory was made after the news conference and the release of the state audit on Jan. 31, 2013. Gov. McCrory is correct here but from the wrong side of the field. Because the audit responses from the professionals at DHHS were changed, deleted, or ignored by Wos and Carol Steckel, the perceived results of the audit were used by Gov McCrory and both Berger and Tillis at the General Assembly to make politically charged decisions on accepting federal funds for an expanded medicaid program as a part of ACA. They also made the decision to not run the healthcare exchange in the state and let the federal government operate it alone. Both these decisions have hurt the citizens of NC and have cast the proud state of North Carolina in a bad light.

    Yes, Gov. McCrory, you can't make good decisions on bad information. Yours!

  • TruDat Oct 9, 10:50 p.m.

    Well, well, well. I guess Pat McCrony and his minions can't get away with everything after all. It is hard to know which is greater: Lady Wos's arrogance, or her stupidity.

    Either way, the latter, at least, is exceeded by McCrony's. He will now get the blame for what he is letting Wos do to him -- as he should.

    Are there not any adults in the cabinet or on the senior team who are able and willing to impose discipline on their master?

    Apparently not.

    Hello, Governor Cooper...