DHHS privacy breach: Little Ricky gets one thing right

The media's attention seems to have shifted from the inexcusable privacy violation of thousands of NC kids to (SURPRISE!) the blame game.

Deputy Assistant Governor McCrory continues to support and defend the thoroughly incompetent Queen Aldona Wos and, even after a full year on the job, attempt to blame Bev Perdue for his own administration's screw-ups.

Republicans, led by the governor, said the mistake is yet another example of how dysfunctional the Department of Health and Human Services had become under previous Democratic administrations.

Leading Democrats, however, are calling for Wos to go.

“There’s obviously no administrator over there making sure the nuts and bolts get done every day, and we need to hire someone to do that,” said Senate Minority Leader Martin Nesbitt, an Asheville Democrat.

So what's the part that Ricky got right?

Why, he and Aldona are blaming "human error"

In a statement Monday afternoon, DHHS pinned the mistake on “human error in computer programming and the quality assurance process in printing the new Medicaid identification cards.”

That's partly right -- it was a grievous error by purported human Pat McCrory to appoint Aldona Wos to run such a large, complex, critical agency. What was he thinking?

Wos, a former U.S. ambassador to Estonia, is a major Republican donor who helped McCrory raise money for his 2012 campaign. He has called her a mentor.



Little Ricky returns to form

Having accidentally gotten one statement partly right, the DHHS spokesmachine returns to its native language of lying [emphasis ours]:

Rachel Seeger, a spokeswoman for the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said she could not talk specifically about the North Carolina incident, but when the medical privacy of more than 500 people is violated, the violator must notify the federal government within 60 days. State DHHS said Monday afternoon it had called the federal office.

At the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the office that oversees the government insurance program for poor, elderly and disabled, a spokesman said it had not, however, received a call from state DHHS by Monday morning, but instead had called the agency to find out what happened.

"What I see from the folks who are opposing our agenda is whining coming from losers." -- Thom Tillis

Vos, NC DHHS, NC Medicaid, privacy, McCrory

How does one even find 49,000 wrong addresses???
Where did they come from??
Out of the phone book??
Out of another DHHS computer program??
Is this also a breach of privacy for these 49,000 people??

Aldona will take 'C'

out of another DHHS computer program...more or less, as I understand the reporting. They pulled the wrong parent/guardian information for the kids who were supposed to get the cards.

And Pat would have us believe that's Bev's fault.

"What I see from the folks who are opposing our agenda is whining coming from losers." -- Thom Tillis

Mistake could open NC up to fines, suits

The latest media report from Laura Leslie at WRAL:

Federal law includes steep penalties for violating patient privacy. Each violation carries a fine of up to $50,000.

"There's a $1.5 million cap on penalties annually, but the thing is that, if (the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) decides North Carolina violated more than one statute, we could get that penalty of $1.5 million – the cap – more than one time," Emanuel said.

The delay in notifying people of the error could play a role in that decision, said [Knicole Emanuel]. Under HIPAA, people affected by a privacy breach are supposed to be notified immediately.

Martha Brock

Aldona's incompetence

continues to fritter away tax dollars. Then Pat laments all "that Medicaid spending" that purportedly prevents him from spending money on, say, teacher raises.

And then he keeps telling us how he's fixing all those problems, and improving operations and operational efficiency.

Federal fines would kind of contradict his spin, eh?

I don't think we can afford much more of Pat's "improvements".

"What I see from the folks who are opposing our agenda is whining coming from losers." -- Thom Tillis