UPDATE: NC DHHS Defends Troubled Medicaid Software

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The technology chief at the N.C. Department of Health and Services says the agency's new $255 million computer system for processing Medicaid claims is working well, despite a critical audit and complaints from medical professionals.

Chief Information Officer Joe Cooper told legislators Tuesday that the state staffers overseeing the NC Tracks system should be "congratulated on seeing this project through a successful launch." Cooper said the agency is constantly making improvements to the system, but that on the whole it is performing well.

That assessment is in sharp contrast to an audit of the NC Tracks system released Monday by State Auditor Beth Wood. The audit said NC Tracks continues to fall short on addressing defects months after coming online in July and on completing government-mandated changes on time.

PREVIOUS STORY, December 9, 2013
Top officials at the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services for months blamed county officials for long delays in processing food stamp applications, though public records show a glitch with a state computer program was the cause.

WRAL-TV of Raleigh reported Monday that problems with the state's NCFAST computer system began July 15 with a buggy software update. Almost 70,000 food stamp recipients statewide had benefits delayed or cut off by the time the problems were addressed in late August. Many of those going hungry were families with children.

DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos said last month that counties had failed to properly prepare and train their staffs to use the new software, dismissing that "computer glitches" at her agency were to blame for the problems.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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