NORTH CAROLINA: DHHS to present report to USDA Tuesday - WRBL

DHHS to present report to USDA Tuesday

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DHHS said the food stamps backlog has dropped more than 92 percent since late January. DHHS said the food stamps backlog has dropped more than 92 percent since late January.
RALEIGH, N.C. -

The Department of Health and Human Services has said it is confident the USDA will be satisfied with its progress on clearing up the NC FAST food stamp backlog.

Today was the deadline the federal agency gave the state to fix the problem or risk losing federal funding. Secretary Aldona Wos will present the report to the USDA on Tuesday as a legislative oversight committee meeting.

In a statement Monday, DHHS said, "State and county staff and leadership have put tremendous effort into meeting the federal government's deadline to process applications and re-certifications pending over 90 days and expedited applications older than seven days.

"Today, the DHHS staff is reaching out to county social services agencies to confirm final numbers and circumstances surrounding any cases that may remain outstanding."

DHHS said the backlog has dropped more than 92 percent since late January, and it worked with counties through the weekend to finish other cases.

The state said Medicaid applications in October slowed staff down, which worsened the backlog. And sending state workers into counties to monitor workflow this week was a big factor in solving the problems.

DSS director Wayne Black told WNCN Friday that improving functionality at the county level continues to be a learning process, and he hopes the faster service will continue past the USDA imposed deadline.

"We wanted to get this done regardless of a federal threat," Black said.

The state agency also is still working through problems with the Medicaid billing system called NC Tracks, which came online in July.

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