Healthcare providers sue state

Healthcare providers sue state

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by TONY BURBECK / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @TonyWCNC

WCNC.com

Posted on January 16, 2014 at 6:45 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 16 at 9:01 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A class action lawsuit has been filed against the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the companies that created and implemented the state's new Medicaid billing system called NCTracks.

The court filing claims NCTracks has been riddled with problems since it was unveiled last July; health care providers are tired of it and say it is costing them time, money and patients.

"We have experienced most of the issues that have been outlined," said Mark Brown, co-owner of Melange Health Solutions in Charlotte, which provides mental health services.

Brown says his problems with NCTracks started the first day it went live, and that Melange is still waiting to be reimbursed more than $100,000 through NCTracks. He says his reimbursement rate is about 60-percent.

"When we can't get paid, we can't do the things we need to do for our clients to sustain the organization," Brown said, "It means we had to lay off staff."

Brown isn't party to the class action lawsuit, but is considering joining it. 

Hickory Allergy & Asthma Clinic is one of the seven plaintiffs.

A closer look at the 49 page lawsuit alleges numerous ongoing NCTracks problems, including:

Providers not paid
Providers shorted money
Paid wrong amounts
Rejected claims
Lost information
System lock-up

The lawsuit alleges the impacts include:

Patients not accepted
Catastrophic financial losses
Closed practices
70,000 providers harmed

The lawsuit seeks damages.

Lawmakers have been demanding answers and a fix for months.

"When will someone be held accountable? When will someone take responsibility?" State Representative Beverly Earle (D-Mecklenburg) said during a news conference last week about problems with DHHS.

"We're doing everything we can to get this thing on track and hope to make some announcements in the near future," North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory said Thursday.

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