Providers Call North Carolina's Medicaid Payment System a "Nightmare"

Think of it as practice for Obamacare


State officials say the new Medicaid bill-paying system is working better than expected. But for the company trying to get kids wheelchairs, the dentist who hasn't been paid in a month and the providers who wait days to get their calls for help returned, the system is a near disaster.

The state Department of Health and Human Services warned providers to expect a few bumps after the new Medicaid billing system came online July 1. For many, the bumpy weeks have been worse than they imagined, and they have not been told when the frustration will end.

Under the government health insurance program, the state and federal government pay about $13 billion a year to 70,000 health care providers to treat 1.7 million poor, elderly and disabled people. The Medicaid billing system, which DHHS is calling NC Tracks, doesn't just pay bills. It is the gateway to all kinds of medical services and information that ensures patients are seeing the right doctors and getting approved medicines. NC Tracks is failing in those critical areas, providers say.