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Medicaid processing system ends flawed first week

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

The new system processing Medicaid claims in North Carolina (NCTRACKS) ends its first week in operation with mixed reviews.  Providers in the east tell "9 on your side" that processing claims has been a nightmare with the system crashing and long wait times to get help on the phone.  Some have complained that once they wait an hour to get a call center employee on the phone, often they discover that person can't answer their question.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced today the NCTRACKS system is working and officially processed its one-millionth claim.

"The system is operational. We are processing claims," said Joe Cooper, Chief Information Officer for DHHS. "Although providers are experiencing some issues with the web portal and long wait times at the call center, these types of issues are expected with any transition of a system this large and complex. We appreciate the patience and cooperation of the provider community as our 24/7 response team works diligently to resolve technical issues as quickly as possible."

Cooper points out that other states that have made similar transitions also experienced hundreds of technical issues out of the gate.  Computer Science Corporation (CSC), the new fiscal agent for DHHS, added system capacity and applied system fixes to help address some of the performance issues providers experienced this week.  Cooper says users should no longer encounter system maintenance messages erroneously and the response times on the web portal continue to improve.

DHHS says another contributor to the troubles this week is lack of training.  Cooper points out one of the reasons so many people need to call for help is that they didn't attend the offered training session.  He points out only 20% of providers attended the sessions prior to the July 1st launch.

"Until our provider partners are comfortable with system operations, call volumes and wait times are likely to remain elevated," added Cooper. "We continue to urge providers to take advantage of online and instructor-led training opportunities in the next couple of weeks to help avoid delayed payments and long waits on hold."

DHHS and CSC will hold a series of scheduled interactive information sessions over the next few weeks and regional training sessions beginning July 16. Provider Representatives will lead each session to walk providers through the key features of the new NCTracks system and the steps they need to take to submit claims and get paid. Providers can find a complete schedule of topics on the NCTracks portal, www.nctracks.nc.gov.

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