NC doctors sue state over Medicaid payment delays



f North Carolina doctors filed a class-action lawsuit Thursday seeking millions of dollars in damages from the state and its contractors over flawed computer programs that severely delayed Medicaid reimbursements.

The lawsuit alleges that managers at the Department of Health and Human Services and its contractors Computer Sciences Corporation, Maximus Consulting Services and SLI Global Solutions were negligent in the launch of NCTracks. The $484 million computer system is intended to streamline the process of filing Medicaid claims and issuing payments.

The N.C. Medical Society, which represents about 12,500 physicians and physician assistants in the state, issued a statement saying that the organization strongly supports the lawsuit. The listed plaintiffs in the case are doctors from Wake, Cumberland, New Hanover, Nash and Robeson counties.

"NCTracks has inflicted real damage on Medicaid patients and providers across the State for the last seven months," said Robert E. Seligson, the society's chief executive officer. "We understand, from our own tireless efforts to help our members overcome the system defects, that legal action may be the only remaining option to remedy the harm to the Medicaid system and get NCTracks to function as advertised."

The complaint filed Thursday alleges that the July 1 launch of NCTracks was a "disaster" and that the software was riddled with errors. The problems led to delays of weeks and sometimes months before medical providers and hospitals received payment, forcing some businesses to take out loans to meet payroll.

Seligson described NCTracks as a "poorly tested, defective and very expensive software product."

"The resulting problems for the State of North Carolina and its citizens have no doubt been a huge challenge for the DHHS and required additional resources that the department was not expecting to incur. So far none of us received what we were promised," Seligson said.