The head of North Carolina’s troubled health department blamed sending nearly 49,000 Medicaid cards to the wrong recipients on internal IT issues stemming from the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
Dr. Aldona Wos, Secretary of the state's Department of Health and Human Services, spoke to state legislators about the HIPAA breach on Tuesday. The breach occurred when the cards were mailed off on Dec. 30.
“I deeply apologize,” she said. “We are moving very quickly to issuing new Medicaid ID numbers to all families affected.”
Wos admitted to the legislators that her department has struggled to keep up with the changes brought on by the ACA.
“The implementation of the Affordable Care Act is creating a massive issue in NC,” she said. “The complications of the implementation of so many areas of DHHS, it effects every aspect of our Medicaid program.”
Wos said that the department is conducting an internal investigation to determine where things went south.
“We have confirmed that there was human failure in programing,” she said, “along with a failure in quality assurance.”
The DHHS has also come under fire from the federal government for delays in the state’s Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program’s (SNAP) delay in applications and re-certification. The government sent DHHS a letter last month threatening to withhold funding to the state as a result of the slowdown. That has led to members of the state legislature to ask Gov. Pat McCrory to replace Wos.