New North Carolina Medicaid billing system starts processing first claims
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 3, 2013
RALEIGH — Gov. Pat McCrory said Tuesday it’s a positive sign that North Carolina’s new Medicaid billing system is processing claims and other paperwork from doctors and hospitals — albeit with a few setbacks.
The computer network called “NCTracks” came online Monday, replacing a legacy system that was first turned on in 1977. Speaking at the monthly Council of State meeting, McCrory told other statewide elected officials he’s pleased the system is operating.
“The worst-case scenario which we had planned for of it not working at all has not come to fruition, which is great news,” McCrory told other statewide elected officials. “Right now, there are ‘not major’ problems, and they’re resolving those at this point in time.”
NCTracks is expected to handle $12 billion in claims annually from more than 70,000 providers for Medicaid, the federal-state government health care program for 1.6 million residents. The new system is expected to streamline billing, reduce paperwork and save the state $35 million annually.
Department of Health and Human Services spokesman Ricky Diaz said some users were not able to log in Monday as a flood of people tried to access the system at once. Extra call center workers were in place to respond to questions, he said. Information technology experts have said it will take a few weeks to determine how well the system is operating.
The North Carolina Medical Society, comprised of more than two-thirds of the licensed physicians and physician’s assistants, had received 60 online complaints from members about NCTracks by midday Tuesday. A majority of the complaints centered on being unable to access the system, society spokeswoman Elaine Stone said.
The system finally came online 10 years after the state sought the first bids for one of the largest information technology projects in state government. Network construction was delayed when the first vendor was fired, leading to another request for bids. The state is now in a $484 million contract with current vendor Computer Sciences Corp. to build the system and operate it through 2020.
The project was supposed to come online two years ago at a price of $265 million. Delays were attributed to changing Medicaid mandates and Computer Sciences overestimating how much code it could use from a New York project. The contract length also was extended.
The computer system will whittle down nearly two weeks of a backlog of 1.5 million claims that weren’t processed while the state transferred from the old system to the new system. About 425,000 similar pharmacy claims were processed early Monday, HHS said in a news release.