NCTracks, the state's new half-billion-dollar online Medicaid system, is up and running but some local doctors said they haven't seen a dime in reimbursements and it's putting a strain on their ability to take care of patients.
Dr. Spurgeon Webber, III, said NCTracks isn't living up to its promises. The state said the $484 million system is supposed to reduce fraud, speed up processing times and lead to more frequent payments for healthcare providers, like Webber, who accept Medicaid.
"The servers, or whatever they are using, can't handle the volume of info we are putting in, even if it’s for a simple X-ray," Webber said.
NCTracks went live July 1, and according to a release from the Department of Health and Human Services on July 8, the system was working well and on track to pay claims a full week ahead of schedule.
Webber disagrees. He said the system is slow and doesn't upload correct data, and that several dentists in the city haven't received a dime. When his staff has tried to call the state for answers in the last several days, they are put on hold.
Webber said some of his colleagues are looking at cutting hours, turning away Medicaid patients or taking out loans just to stay afloat.
Alec Parker, executive director of the North Carolina Dental Society, said his office has been fielding calls from frustrated dentists.
"Some of these providers, where until they get paid, they may feel like they just cannot afford to see any more Medicaid patients until some of this confusion and other problems within the system are addressed," Parker said.
Ricky Diaz, spokesman with DHHS, told Eyewitness News that the system has processed more than 12 million claims and paid out more than $137 million in its first round of payments last week. Diaz said it could take up to three months for medical providers to learn how to properly use the system and to work out any internal glitches.
"Any new system that comes online, especially new technology, is going to have some bugs that need to be worked out, but it needs to be a lot smoother than it is for the amount of taxpayer money put into this," Webber said.
Any doctors who have not been paid or are having issues with the system are asked to call the NCTracks call center and report their problem. The call center is open until 6 p.m., and the state said it has added extra staff to handle the high call volume.