WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Clark Robichaux has spent more time on the phone in the last month than he ever thought possible.
The owner of Oxy-Care Equipment Co. has been calling the support line for NC Tracks since the new statewide system rolled out at the beginning of the month. Robichaux said the new system for processing Medicaid claims is a complete failure.
"We can't get any part of the system to work," he said.
Robichaux provides medical equipment like oxygen machines, canes and walkers. He's been taking new Medicaid patients without prior approval from the state, because Robichaux said he can't turn people away.
"If you're in this business, you in it to help people," Robichaux said.
But he can't seem to get any help himself. Robichaux said the typical wait time for a call into the support center is half an hour. The Department of Health and Human Services hired extra employees to work at the support center.
When they pick up the line with Robichaux on the other end, he said they're not able to answer his questions.
"They're just as lost as we are," he said.
Tuesday afternoon Robichaux called to ask about his recently submitted claims. He received a confirmation letter that they were accepted, so he wanted to know where they – or any of his previously submitted claims in the month of July – were in the system.
Robichaux said previous calls only added to his concern. He said no one could tell him where his claims fit into the system.
"It's frustrating to say the least," said Robichaux.
He asks the call taker how long she's worked for NC Tracks, and she abruptly hangs up on him. Robichaux is done trying for the day.
He's left messages, asked for call backs and submitted online requests. Still, Robichaux is left wondering when he'll collect any money from his claims.
"Cash flow's important," he said. "And this system has the Medicaid cash flow at a standstill."
He hasn't seen a penny since the system started, but Robichaux isn't ready to drop new Medicaid patients just yet.
"We're here to make a living, but everybody here has a passion for getting people the things that they need," he said.
He's hopeful the system will improve, so Robichaux said he'll wait another month or so before he considers leaving the system.
A call for comment to the Department of Health and Human Services has not been returned at the time of this report.
Copyright 2013 WECT. All Rights Reserved.
322 Shipyard Boulevard