RALEIGH, NC (WECT) - The Acting Medicaid Director of the Department of Health and Human Services released a statement addressing the timeline leading up to the incident of the Medicaid cards that were addressed to the wrong individuals.
According to new rules under the Affordable Care Act, 70,253 children were switched from NC Health Choice to Medicaid. These children were issued new Medicaid cards. Out of the 70,253 new Medicaid cards, 48,472 cards were mailed to the wrong individuals on December 30, 2013.
On December 31, 2013, DHHS staff was notified that the cards were sent to the wrong recipient. The incorrect card shows the child's name, Medicaid identification number, date of birth and primary care physician. DHHS leadership was alerted of the incident on January 2, 2013. The governor was made aware of the situation on January 3, 2013.
According the press release, DHHS is working through the weekend to continue conducting a full-scale review of this incident and to get people their correct Medicaid cards as soon as possible.
The press release says DHHS is meeting its legal obligations when a potential HIPPA breach is identified. Federal laws and rules require that DHHS go through an analysis to first determine this incident meets the legal requirements to be considered a breach of protected health information. If confirmed, HIPAA breaches must be reported within 60 days of the incident. DHHS privacy and security staff continue to work on that assessment through the weekend as a part of our comprehensive review.
According to the press release, the DHHS will be taking these next steps: Medicaid recipients will be issued new Medicaid cards with new Medicaid ID numbers as soon as possible. By issuing new Medicaid ID numbers, the mistakenly sent Medicaid cards will be invalid. Issuance of a new Medicaid number will mitigate potential misuse of the incorrectly issued cards. Additionally, the Medicaid Division will flag the affected Medicaid ID cards within DHHS' computer systems to treat them with extra scrutiny and caution. DHHS will be alerted if those compromised cards are used.
DHHS says they are working to notify the public, legislators, providers and affected recipients as soon as more information is available. Affected recipients can call the Customer Service Center at 1-800-662-7030 during normal business hours on Monday-Friday if they have any questions or concerns.
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