Special Wrap: Computers problems, salary controversies roil DHHS
Posted September 27, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — For months, Gov. Pat McCrory has described Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos as the steady hand on the tiller of an unwieldy state agency that can often seem adrift.
"First of all, she's one of the smartest individuals I've ever been around," McCrory told reporters at a news conference this month, praising her work ethic and expertise as a medical doctor. "She's also surrounding herself with other skilled people that help her in the operational issues."
Yet, several of the "skilled people" that Wos has gathered around her have become part of an ongoing narrative of a troubled department responsible for running the state's Medicaid system, which provides health insurance to the poor and disabled. It is also an agency with perennial cost overruns that aggravate lawmakers and force governors to make budget adjustments on the fly.
Big salaries granted to former McCrory campaign aides and hefty contracts given to politically connected executives have garnered headlines. At the same time, troubles with two key computer systems have created hardships for families who need help buying food and health care providers trying to get paid for services rendered to needy patients.
As major changes are being considered for Medicaid, the Division of Medical Assistance's top administrator announced she would leave the state to work for a company that may bid on the state's business. Other departures of high-level employees, at least one of whom was granted a hefty severance package, have also been in the news.
Reporters Laura Leslie, Mark Binker and Tyler Dukes have been following many of these stories. In this special edition of The Wrap @NCCapitol, they discuss the common threads in these stories and what may be next for the Department of Health and Human Services.
Below is an interactive timeline of headline-making events centered on DHHS this year.