Rowan DSS taking back Medicaid transportation

  • Posted: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 7:42 p.m.

By Karissa Minn
kminn@salisburypost.com
SALISBURY - The Rowan County Department of Social Services will once again take over the county's Medicaid transportation program, but officials say clients shouldn't see any changes to services.
Rowan Transit Services began providing oversight for the program less than a year ago.
Donna Fayko, the county's social services director, said concerns were raised after an internal audit about meeting the Medicaid accountability standards. She told the Board of Social Services on Tuesday that it would need to bring the program back in-house.
"It requires lots of written verification of where you went and that it was an approved, covered appointment," Fayko said after the meeting. "It could be very difficult for those who work outside of DSS, without all that policy knowledge, to manage that program the way the federal government requires us to manage it."
Rowan Transit Services will continue to provide the program's services, and Medicaid recipients will see no changes, Fayko said.
But in order to make room for staff providing oversight, the county may need to pay an estimated $10,000 to take out a movable filing cabinet system that's currently installed in a file room.
It also will have to make up for lost federal funds. The government will reimburse a contractor for 100 percent of salaries for the program, but DSS will only get a 50 percent reimbursement. That adds up to a $40,000 cost over one year, Fayko said.
"I hate that it had to come back in-house, because of those reimbursement costs," said County Commissioner Carl Ford, a board member.
Board Chair Lillian Morgan agreed, but she added, "I think right now we don't have any choice."
Also at Tuesday's meeting, the social services board:
- Gave Fayko a 2 percent raise after conducting her six-month performance review.
County Commissioner Jim Sides, who serves on the board, said the raise is standard after a probationary period, and Fayko's performance as director has been "more than satisfactory."
- Approved guidelines and application procedures for the 2012 Christmas Happiness program. This year, applicants who receive food and nutrition services will not have to prove income eligibility for Christmas Happiness.
The board had talked last year about forming a "Christmas bureau" with outside agencies to run the program. Those plans have not moved forward, but the board agreed Tuesday that they still want to take that approach in the future to ease the workload on social services employees.
- Accepted the final draft of the DSS annual report.
- Approved a proposal for a community roundtable on Nov. 29 about child safety issues.
- Finalized details of the annual Christmas party for foster families on Dec. 1.
Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.
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