• 43°

Rowan Social Services’ Medicaid backlog nearly depleted

A backlog of Medicaid cases that once numbered 12,000 in Rowan County is now down to about 3,000.

The backlog is a result of the state’s switch to a new software program — NC Fast — to process Medicaid and other types of assistance. NC Fast required Social Services employees to transfer thousands of Medicaid cases from paper documents to the new software program. In December, the total number of cases that needed to be transferred was about 12,000, according to Social Services Director Donna Fayko. During Tuesday’s Social Services Board meeting, staff announced the backlog was about 3,000 total cases.

To reduce the backlog, the state allocated additional funding to Social Services departments across North Carolina for temporary, part-time workers.

Funding for the part-time workers runs out at the end of the 2015 fiscal year — June 30 — but the frustration about the new software program remains.

“It’s sort of like flying the airplane as they’re building it. That’s why it’s such a mess,” Fayko said about NC Fast.

The backlog hasn’t affected the receipt of benefits for Rowan County residents, Fayko said.

On average, 25,000 to 30,000 Rowan County residents receive Medicaid benefits each month, according to Social Services statistics.

In other business from Tuesday’s meeting:

• Fayko announced income maintenance staff instead of office assistants would staff a portion of Social Services called the “Change Center.”

The change would allow a customer’s case to be altered immediately, she said. Currently, the office assistants are only able to take information and pass it on to other staff.

Social Services is aiming for July 6 to make the changes, Fayko said.

“There will be no more calling 500 times to reach somebody,” she said.

The change is possible because of a request in Social Services’ budget for the 2016 fiscal year, she said.

• The Social Services board discussed whether the department should support the community organization A New Beginning 2 in a grant application.

A New Beginning 2 is a community organization that has previously proposed creating a charter school in East Spencer. The community organization’s grant request, Fayko said, would provide at-risk, non-custodial fathers with counseling and general assistance.

She said the grant could help former foster children who have aged out of Social Services’ programs or fathers with low income.

Social Services Board Chairman Jim Sides said he would prefer to see a breakdown of the community organization’s salary schedule. Sides said a single person could be paid $183,000 with the grant, which board members called excessive.

“I don’t want to pour water on it before it begins, but it is important to look at budgetary matters,” said Social Services Board Member Dee Dee Wright.

• Fayko announced that five youth in Social Services’ foster program graduated from high school in 2015.

“That is an accomplishment given what the children have overcome,” she said.

• The Social Services Board approved a number of reports with statistics on the departments’ operations. The reports are regularly presented at every meeting.

Social Services’ fiscal report — dated for May 2015 — showed the department at 87 percent of its budget for the current fiscal year, which ends on June 30.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.

 

Comments

Local

City officials differ on how, what information should be released regarding viral K-9 officer video

High School

High school basketball: Carson girls are 3A champions

Lifestyle

High school, college sweethearts marry nearly 50 years later

Local

With jury trials set to resume, impact of COVID-19 on process looms

Legion baseball

Book explores life of Pfeiffer baseball coach Joe Ferebee

Education

Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education to receive update on competency-based education

Business

Biz Roundup: Kannapolis expects to see economic, housing growth continue in 2021

Business

A fixture of downtown Salisbury’s shopping scene, Caniche celebrates 15th anniversary this month

Local

Slate of new officers during local GOP convention; Rev. Jenkins becomes new chair

Landis

Landis officials narrow search for new manager to five candidates; expect decision within a month

Lifestyle

Together at last: High school, college sweethearts marry nearly 50 years later

Education

Rowan-Salisbury Schools sorts out transportation logistics in preparation for full-time return to classes

High School

Photo gallery: Carson goes undefeated, wins 3A state championship

Nation/World

Europe staggers as infectious variants power virus surge

Nation/World

Biden, Democrats prevail as Senate OKs $1.9 trillion virus relief bill

Nation/World

Senate Democrats strike deal on jobless aid, move relief bill closer to approval

News

Duke Life Flight pilot may have shut down wrong engine in fatal crash

News

Two NC counties get to participate in satellite internet pilot for students

Local

PETA protesters gather in front of police department

Coronavirus

UPDATED: Eight new COVID-19 deaths, 203 positives reported in county this week

Crime

Sheriff’s office: Two charged after suitcase of marijuana found in Jeep

Crime

Thomasville officer hospitalized after chase that started in Rowan County

Local

Board of elections discusses upgrading voting machines, making precinct changes

News

Lawmakers finalize how state will spend COVID-19 funds