Under the Dome

DHHS staff congratulated for 'successful launch' of NC Tracks

The office in the state Department of Health and Human Services that guided the construction of the much-complained-about, often-audited Medicaid claims system called NC Tracks is shutting down next year.

Most of that office’s work is done, Joe Cooper, head of DHHS computer systems, said Tuesday, and what remains will be absorbed by others.

“Several of the dedicated staff of the OMMISS (Office of Medicaid Management Information System Services) have been working on this project since the beginning, almost 10 years,” Cooper told legislators at a committee meeting Tuesday. “They are to be congratulated for seeing this project to a successful launch.”

Cooper appears to have found a definition of “success” that isn’t in Webster’s.

The project was delayed for years, cost millions more than anticipated, and, once it was launched on July 1, didn’t pay doctors and hospitals what they were owed. Fiscal analysts and legislators aren’t exactly sure what’s going on with the Medicaid budget because NC Tracks hasn’t paid all providers who are owed money.

On Monday, state Auditor Beth Wood released a report that said NC Tracks had more than 3,200 defects, and that during the audit period DHHS didn’t have a comprehensive plan for fixing them. Her office released an audit earlier this year warning that the system had not been properly tested.

Wood attended Tuesday’s legislative committee meeting, but she was not asked to speak. Legislators asked Cooper few questions about the audit. There’s a legislative subcommittee appointed to look deeper into NC Tracks issues.

Cooper has emphasized for months that NC Tracks is paying claims. In response to the audit, DHHS said this week that NC Tracks had fewer defects than the industry average for software programs of its complexity. The defects that remain don’t effect most providers, the agency said.