New Story by Binker on WRAL.com:
Top officials [at NC DHHS] are about to embark on another "listening tour," according to a set of slides that Sandy Terrell, the Division of Medical Assistance's acting chief operating officer, presented at the North Carolina Institute of Medicines annual conference this month. It's unclear where and to whom the agency will be listening. Also unclear is what Terrell meant when she wrote that there would be "changes within the Division of Medical Assistance."
The Department of Health and Human Services refused a request to make Terrell or anyone else available to talk about pending changes in Medicaid, saying that an announcement was coming.
In response to a request for clarification, Ryan Tronovitch, a spokesman for McCrory, said that the governor was working "to fix a broken system that is hurting our ability to fund other areas of state government like education, public safety, and transportation. The governor will focus on a plan that takes a holistic approach to health care, one that improves the system for providers, and one that is predictable and sustainable for generations to come."
The Governor claimed to have a "secret" provision that allows his administration to create new waivers for Medicaid in NC. However, the legislation and its implementation appear somewhat different.
"I'm continuing to have dialogue with Washington representatives regarding the implementation of Medicaid and the management of Medicaid cost, including following through on some of the waivers that we've asked for," McCrory said.
Lawmakers created a five-member panel to oversee Medicaid reform and help draft recommendations. McCrory is to appoint three members of that panel; the Speaker of the House and President Pro Tempore of the Senate would each appoint one member. As of the close of business on Sept. 20, 2013, no members of that panel have been appointed, meaning a key cog in the legislature's vision of Medicaid reform does not even exist yet.
While I hope there is a real listening tour being planned, I doubt it will be as fruitful as those meetings of the spring. As Adam Searing rightly points out, "Even if he (McCrory) had something that was really innovative, he and secretary Wos have squandered so much of their good will and credibility, it's going to be difficult for them to move something."
I think there was a genuine effort at listening up until late May. I myself met privately during "office hours" with leaders of DMA and MHDDSAS (divisions of NC DHHS), and they appeared to be truly listening. One of their questions to me, however, was what blogs or social media could I suggest that were run by "conservatives." I was unable to suggest any then--or now. Part of their problem is the right wingers don't want Medicaid in any form or fashion, so there is little input available that they will listen to.