by Jane Porter
The state auditor's office is defending a Medicaid report issued in January, after a North Carolina Health News story reported that officials at the state Department of Health and Human Services provided auditor Beth Wood with misinformation.
Wood wrote a letter to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee of the Department of Health and Human Services that two stories published on the North Carolina Health News website “make misleading statements” about the Medicaid audit report.
“The reports include erroneous information from the author, as well as misleading statements from a draft version of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) response to the Medicaid audit,” the letter states.
In a phone interview Thursday, Wood said she sent the letters to “clarify and correct the problems in the articles.”
“We want to make sure legislators who are looking at the articles, and needing to make decisions about Medicaid, had the right information.”
Wood said DHHS officials’ final response is included in the audit, and that the DHHS accepted the auditor's findings, which are “based on facts and evidence.”
“When we put final findings out,” Wood continued, “there is some back and forth, with language and terminology and you have to work those things out, but there was no redacting and no eliminating of information.”
NCHN responded to the auditor in a story today.
“The big deal is you had one administration, and a group who wrote a response, and then another administration coming in and they didn’t agree with the first administration’s response, so they’re saying we agree with the findings and we will move forward to fix the problems,” Wood added.
Wood wrote in the letter that contrary to claims made in the NCHN story, the scope of the Medicaid audit never widened or changed from the original charge made by the state Legislature in June 2012.
“The purpose of audit was (to find out why) Medicaid has been over budget by $1.4 billion, three years in a row,” Wood said. “Of that 1.4 billion, $400 million is state tax dollars. So the General Assembly said, we need better information to run a better program.”
So is Medicaid really broken as Gov. Pat McCrory claims?
Read the Auditor's entire Response to the North Carolina Health News articles here:See related PDF