Time for a revamping

Jan. 08, 2014 @ 04:27 AM

The latest issue surrounding the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is another in a line of gaffes plaguing one of the largest state agencies.

The agency suffered a significant privacy breach when cards containing the personal information of nearly 49,000 North Carolina children receiving Medicaid were mailed to the wrong addresses.

In a story from The Associated Press, Gov. Pat McCrory continued to back DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos and her staff stating he knows “they are working hard to resolve the issue.”

On Monday, the department said human error “in computer programming” was responsible for the release of information such as Medicaid identification numbers, dates of birth and names of primary care physicians.

In short, the breach in security was a violation of federal law which requires personal information such as what was released to be kept confidential.

If this were a first-time mistake we might be able to be lenient with our judgment of this department.

But, the fact remains, it isn’t.

Last year, DHHS suffered through a launch of computer programs that handle Medicaid enrollments and payments.

Don’t even get us started on the questions surrounding decisions to pay what can only be concluded as excessive fees to contractors with political ties to the Republican Party and ex-campaign staffers with little to no experience in the job for which they were hired.

Through it all, there has been little explanation as to the actions of the department and it has even gone so far as to pass the blame for its computer implementation on the inability of counties to train their staff.

There has to be a level of accountability with our state officials. That steps up further when talking about a department that has such a grand impact on so many of our citizens.

But, even in several interviews Monday, McCrory was more apt to pass the buck on to previous administrations rather than own up to the mistakes and do something about it.

In looking at the issues, they had little, if anything, to do with previous administrations and more about the inabilities of the current department and its administrators.

It is high time the state take a close eye on this embattled department and examine for any changes which can be made to make mistakes like these less frequent.

That’s not to say mistakes won’t happen because they do.

However, it takes a certain level of responsibility to own up to those mistakes and do something about them.

By Matthew Clark, for the Editorial Board


The Daily Courier Editorial Board consists of community members Jerry Brewer, Kyle Bingham, Alex Moore, Tom Padgett and Cliff Strassenburg as well as Editor Matthew Clark.