GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Medical offices across the state are working through confusion, glitches and reimbursement denials more than a month after the state's switch to an online Medicaid billing system called NC Tracks.
The problem for some medical providers is that not being reimbursed for Medicaid patient's bills is straining income at their practices, which could affect payroll and ability to see patients. NC Track, not on track
"NC Tracks? Not on track," declared Donna Murray, an Accounts Receivable employee with Piedmont Cardiovascular in Greensboro. "This is my nightmare," she insisted.
Murray has been waiting since July 1 to hear about $34,000 worth of Medicaid bills she submitted to the state of North Carolina on behalf of Dr. Jay Ganji.
"They're still not getting reimbursed, they're still getting denials, and we're just not getting any help," Murray explained.
Murray went to two training seminars in Greensboro the state provided about NC Tracks and has spent hours on the phone with their customer service line to sort through more than fifty pages of denials she says are convoluted and incorrect.
So far their practice, she said, has been paid once for $175. Bills for more than 100 other Medicaid patients are still pending for their office alone.
"We recognize and continue to address any technical issues and glitches in the system," said Ricky Diaz with the NC Department of Health and Human Services during a phone interview Thursday. "As we work through this 60 to 90 day rough patch, day by day things are continuing to improve," he explained.
Diaz and representatives from the state have said all along they knew the transition would be tough. "We are replacing a 35-year-old outdated system for 70,000 providers in the state," he pointed out. "Which is why we've established special teams that are proactively calling out and helping providers."
Murray showed FOX8 stacks of emails from other doctors' offices across the state, all raising questions and concerns about failed reimbursements. "We're seeing now that some healthcare providers are having to shut down or not accept Medicaid. We don't want to do that," Murray said.
She knew of one doctor in the state who took out a loan to cover the cost of payroll until NC Tracks is sorted out.
Fran Sembert works with Eagle Physcians & Associates and also represents NC Medical Group Managers' Medicaid Committee. They have been advocating for their members to get help with NC Tracks, even going to Raleigh today to meet with DHHS officials.
She said about 20 of their members sent messages to Governor McCrory explaining that NC Tracks was not working properly and asking for help. So far they have received "not a peep" from the Governor's office, she said.
"In our opinion," Sembert said, "The training was not sufficient. It barely skimmed the top of what we needed to know." She continued, "A state audit even said not to roll this system out on July 1st. But they did anyway and now we are picking up the pieces."
Sembert said specifically rural providers in the Eastern and Western parts of the state depend on Medicaid reimbursements to continue their practices. "We are doing what we can to for everyone," she added.
Diaz said he does not feel as though the state rushed into this transition. "We processed more than 15 million claims and paid health care providers more than $750 million during July," he emphasized.
Diaz encouraged providers having problems with NC Tracks to contact DHHS or give FOX8 their Provider ID number to pass along to the state in order to facilitate assistance. "This is a big change and a positive step for updating our out-of-date Medicaid billing system," he said.