Medicaid problems reach further than meets the eye - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Medicaid problems reach further than meets the eye

With more providers dropping medicaid services, more patients end up in hospital rooms With more providers dropping medicaid services, more patients end up in hospital rooms

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – A member of the New Hanover County Health Board says the problems with the new NC Tracks system are much farther-reaching than most people think.

NC Tracks is a new state-wide system designed to make it easier for processing medical payment claims.

We first reported about the problems when the state changed its computer program, meaning thousands of unpaid claims as health care providers work through growing pains.

Dr. Michael Goins says a lot of health care offices are confused about the new process and when they will get paid. More providers are considering dropping their Medicaid services. Dr. Goins says that means everyone else's taxes may increase.

Goins has worked as an optometrist in the Wilmington area for 30 years, and he's also served on the local health board for 18 years.

Goins says in the process of revamping the Medicaid software to improve processing claims, the state ran into millions of dollars of cost overruns.

Some providers are frustrated by the process and will be dropping their Medicaid services, which means more patients will end up at the hospital

"When they arrive in the emergency room for routine care, then the bill costs a lot more than a routine office visit," said Goins. "As a consequence, we all pay more."

According to Dr. Goins, there are more than 70,000 health care providers offering more than $13 billion of services across the state of North Carolina every year.

Locally, 15 percent of people in New Hanover County are on Medicaid services.

Dr. Goins and his staff members have been working with the state to have their information updated through the new system, but he's still not sure if they have all their credentials.

He says the key problem is that the state's workers aren't prepared to handle the amount of claims coming in.

"It's sort of like the oil spill in the gulf," he said. "The oil is going off until you can get it capped. So every day, every hour that goes by there's more and more claims being put into the system that aren't getting processed."

At this time, there are no reports of updates to the NC Tracks support center.

We reached out to the state Medicaid office for comment but have not received a call back at the time of this report.

Copyright 2013 WECT.  All Rights Reserved.

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