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NC Division of Medical Assistance - High quality health care through Medicaid and Health Choice for Children.

June 2013 Employee News

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Newsletter has New Look, New Name

Today marks a new look and a new name for your DHHS Employee News, formerly DHHS Employee Update newsletter. Instead of directing you to a PDF to download, you can enjoy bite-size pieces by clicking on a headline of interest. You will be taken to a web page where you can read more details. We hope you enjoy this new look and functionality. It will be evolving as we explore better ways to bring news to you. Let us hear your thoughts about this new look by emailing me at – Jim Jones, Editor

NCTracks approaches the finish line

With less than a month before NCTracks goes live July 1, the Office of Medicaid Management Information System Services (OMMISS) has received a number of boosts from within DHHS.

Training is set for more than 1,100 DHHS employees from the Divisions of Medical Assistance (DMA), Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services (DMH/DD/SAS) and Public Health (DPH), as well as from the Office of Rural Health and Community Care (ORHCC) and the Controller’s Office. NCTracks replaces three separate claims systems used or administered by those DHHS agencies.

Employees from across DHHS also contributed to testing of the system throughout May, from compiling test cases and validating results to actually spending long hours in the test labs to execute more than 550 test cases. Those test cases represent a wide spread of DHHS services and claim types, designed to uncover any remaining technical issues, particularly those with a bearing on whether claims process and pay correctly. This round of testing also ensures that issues identified in previous claims testing have been fixed.

Testing has also taken place at the macro level – large volumes of transactions rather than individual claims. A recent simulated production exercise involved more than 1.2 million claims that had already adjudicated in legacy systems. The results were encouraging. More than 78 percent of the claims NCTracks “paid” had identical bottom lines as the legacy system payments—to the penny. Just over 81 percent were within a penny, and more than 87 percent were within $1.

As July 1 approaches, efforts are focusing on preparation for the conversion. Identified ‘superusers’ from various divisions are being allowed special access into the live NCTracks environment, with the intent of passing on what they learn to colleagues. Their expertise will prove valuable in the early days and weeks – and likely months – of the transition.

Other states that have replaced their claims systems in recent years report that the first 60-90 days will be bumpy, as providers and state users adjust.

- Brad Deen

Secretary Wos congratulates graduates of LeadershipDHHS

Secretary Wos speaks with Pyreddy Reddy and Christy King, right,
about one of the projects. Click photo for print quality version.
Last month, Secretary Aldona Wos challenged 23 graduates of LeadershipDHHS to make a difference in the department, and she congratulated them on their projects that focused on improving security, efficiencies and recruitment within DHHS.

The eighth graduating class of potential future leaders collaborated for the past several months on five projects. By design, the program breaks down barriers and improves networking between people and divisions, increases collaboration and understanding of DHHS as a whole, and results in better outcomes for the people served by DHHS.

Wos and other DHHS executives were present at graduation and had an opportunity to speak with the teams about their experience and the outcome of their team project. Each team had project “table top” information and responded to questions and comments from the guests.

After thanking the participants for their hard work and commitment to DHHS and the people we serve, Wos handed out certificates to each graduate.

The Secretary also took time to share information on the new initiative to reform Medicaid, “Partnership for a Health North Carolina.” She said the current Medicaid program is unsustainable in terms of cost, but that the reform initiative is not about money. Most importantly, it is about building a coordinated and connected system of care to produce better outcomes for the people of the state. To do that we need a Medicaid system that is more predictable and financially sustainable. We need to build a seamless system that takes care of the patient as a whole, mental health as well as physical health.

As part of the curriculum, the group heard about major issues and challenges facing the department, learned about internal operations and visited a direct care facility. The group discussed communications styles and how to interact with people who have differing styles. They also discussed leadership: What are some of the best quotes or books on leadership? What is their individual definition of leadership? How is it exhibited in their work place?

The class is divided into five teams of up to five members to work on a project of their choice. The purpose of this is to work collaboratively as a team, consider the dynamics of their group and how they communicate to complete their agreed upon task, and address a topic or problem area that will benefit the department.

Here are the team project descriptions

  • Open Windows – We have an app for that! To create a campaign to re-launch Open Windows website for DHHS employees who do not use it on a regular basis. The new application would have improved search capabilities and a link to the full site.
  • Maximizing Mobile TechnologyDiscussion and comparison of mobile technology such as tablets and cloud storage and how they can be used to increase productivity in DHHS. Includes a comparison of how these technologies are used in private industry and how they are used in state government.
  • Hard to Fill Position? No Problem! Competitive Recruitment of Speech Pathologists Speech pathologist is one of the most difficult positions to fill in DHHS. Project focuses on effective recruitment techniques for those positions and examines multiple levels of job requirements and educational stages, benefits of working for DHHS and outreach with universities and communities, and looking at contracting versus full-time positions. Research culminates with data that will drive recommendations for the Recruitment and Retention team.
  • Privacy and Security of Transmitting Confidential Information Was that file you just emailed properly secured? A look at policies, procedures, practices and tools currently used in DHHS to exchange confidential information between the department and its local partnering agencies. Recommendations include how to transfer confidential data in the short- and long-term while meeting privacy and security needs.
  • Process Efficiency Committee Efficiency is the way of the future. A proposed model: DHHS Process Efficiency Committee (PEC) would streamline processes, cut red tape and eliminate wasteful spending. Includes recommendations for structure of the PEC, membership, and methods for policy/procedure submission, policy review and refinement methods.

- Sandra Trivett

LeadershipDHHS graduates, left to right, first row, Erin Strain, Vocational Rehabilitation; Sandra Trivett, Office of the Secretary; Secretary Wos; second row, Jeanette McElroy, Procurement & Contract Services; Judy Lawrence, Social Services; Von McNeill, VR; Buffie Raynor, Disability Determination Services/VR; Sharon Flushing, Child Development & Early Education; Teresa Hosford, Controller’s Office; Glenda Stokes, DMH/DD/SAS; third row, Jennifer Pounds, DDS/VR; Pricillia Tabon, Controller’s Office; Cynthia Gattis, DDS/VR; Robin Thomas, DIRM; Danielle Brady, DIRM; Crystal Smith, VR; Lorena Breito, DDS/VR; back row, Angie Phillips, Aging and Adult Services; Mark Beard, VR; Bill Morton, DIRM; Christy King, VR; Annette Valrie, DDS/VR; Barbie Anderson, Child Development and Early Education. Two other graduates were unable to attend graduation: Scot Smiles, VR; and Vanessa Trapp-Spann, VR.
Click photo for print quality version.

New DHHS Leaders - Mark Payne, Dave Richard, Wayne Black, and Rod Davis

Mark Payne, DHHS Chief Compliance Officer
Click photo for print quality version.
Mark Payne has been appointed to the position of chief compliance officer for DHHS. He is an accomplished corporate attorney and compliance officer with extensive experience providing business-focused legal advice and developing and implementing business processes to achieve strategic objectives.

Mark has served in varied roles including vice president and chief ethics and compliance officer, and compliance counsel for Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina and senior counsel for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of North Carolina, and Cigna Corporation.

He is a licensed attorney in the state of North Carolina. His law degree is from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University and he holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Covenant College.

Within Mark’s organization will be the Office of Internal Audit directed by Chet Spruill, and Contracts/Grants & Compliance, directed by David Oglesby.


Dave Richard
Director MH/DD/SAS
Click photo for print quality version.
Dave Richard has been appointed director of the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services by DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos.

“Dave is a highly skilled and accomplished advocate and leader for those with mental health, developmental disability and substance abuse issues,” Secretary Wos said. “His extensive expertise in staff and budget management, program implementation, public education, government affairs, and liaison with community organizations will help us improve customer service as we seek to help every North Carolinian fulfill their potential.”

Richard spent nearly 25 years as executive director of The Arc of North Carolina and has held leadership roles within The Arc of the United States. Prior to his role with The Arc of North Carolina, he served as executive director for The Arc of Delaware and The Arc of Louisiana. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree, with a major concentration in elementary education, from Louisiana State University.


Wayne Black named DSS director

Wayne Black has been selected by DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos to serve as director of the N.C. Division of Social Services (DSS).

"Improving customer service is crucial as we move forward with the implementation of the North Carolina Families Accessing Technology (NC FAST) system," said Secretary Wos. "Wayne's experience and understanding of local program administration will be vital as we continue to bring needed cultural and technological changes to serve individuals and families in need."

Black, whose career spans 37 years, got his start as a social worker with Guilford County DSS in 1976. Since November 1988, he has served as DSS director in three counties: Mitchell, Yadkin and for the past 10 years, Surry County.

Black has held leadership positions at the local, regional and state levels, including a term as president of the N.C. Association of County Directors of Social Services in 2008-2009 and as a member of the Joint State/County Relations Committee for the past seven years.

He holds Master's Degrees in Public Administration and Guidance & Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He also is a graduate of High Point University and Davidson County Community College.

Black's first day on the job is June 3.


Rod Davis named first CFO for DHHS

Rod Davis will serve as the first chief financial officer of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, Secretary Aldona Wos announced May 31. In this role, Davis will oversee the Department's $18 billion budget. He starts the new job on June 3.

Davis comes to DHHS from the N.C. Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR), where he served as controller from 1996 until Secretary John E. Skvarla named him that Department's first CFO in February 2013. From 1995 to 1996, Davis served as chief of budget operations and information systems for DHHS after a progression of other financial oversight roles within the Department.

"It is crucial for any company or organization as large as DHHS to have a leader focused on delivering strong financial and operational management," said Secretary Wos. "Rod will bring the right talent and experience to this new role as we continue our focus on increasing efficiency to better serve our customers and the taxpayers of North Carolina."

While at DENR Davis reorganized the divisions of Budget, Planning and Analysis, Purchase and Services, Property Management, and the Office of the Controller into a single unit under the direction of the CFO. The reorganization resulted in increased productivity and efficiency of these operations. One on his first successes at DENR was improving working relationships and the credibility of DENR with the state controller, the Office of State Budget and Management, the General Assembly, and federal agencies.

"We hate to lose Rod, but in North Carolina right now we've got to put the best people on the most critical issues," said Skvarla. "Governor McCrory has been crystal clear in his expectation that we manage the state without silos and empire-building, and that is what a move like this represents. Rod has done great work fixing DENR's finances in his years here, and I know he'll do the same back at the Department of Health and Human Services."

Davis is a 1976 Dean's List graduate of N.C. State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in management and accounting. He earned a Master of Business Administration degree, with honors, with a concentration in finance from Appalachian State University in 1983.

Secretary and Medicaid director traveling North Carolina to collect feedback and ideas

While visiting Annie Penn Hospital in
Reidsville on May 13, Sec. Wos, right,
met Sharon Troxler, who proudly showed
a display featuring the hospital’s Magnet
Recognition for Nursing Care, 2009-2013.
The award is from the American Nurses
Credentialing Center.
Click photo for print quality version.
Secretary Aldona Wos and Medicaid Director Carol Steckel are traveling across North Carolina to hold meetings with the medical community, providers and other stakeholders to discuss the “Partnership for a Healthy North Carolina” initiative.

Candid and productive conversations are occurring in Raleigh and at each stop – in Asheville, Reidsville, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Durham and Greenville – as information is shared, questions are asked and answered, and ideas are exchanged. The two have been touring facilities and meeting with local groups that are exchanging ideas that would be helpful for reform.

“We are encouraged by the level of interest in our Medicaid vision for North Carolina,” Secretary Wos said. “As we travel the state, people are beginning to buy into our vision of treating the whole person in a predictable and sustainable model. We are also seeing examples of innovative ideas and initiatives that people are doing in their communities that can help us achieve the Governor’s vision.”

Secretary Wos gets a demonstration of telemedicine
technology at the Brody School of Medicine
at East Carolina University in Greenville.
Click photo for print quality version.
Secretary Wos and Medicaid Director Steckel recently visited the telemedicine center at ECU’s Brody School of Medicine to get a hands-on demonstration of this technology and how it could be used to increase access to psychiatrists in under-served areas. After the tour they met with hospital leadership and had an open meeting with providers.

The conversations being held across the state follow a process that solicited ideas for reform. The centerpiece of the Partnership for a Healthy North Carolina, announced April 3 by Gov. Pat McCrory, is the formation of approximately three comprehensive care entities. These entities will be responsible for coordinating physical and behavioral health care for all Medicaid recipients. They will build or partner with existing providers or networks.
Secretary Wos speaks about Medicaid reform to group at the Old Guilford County Courthouse on May 13.
Click photo for print quality version.

- Jim Jones

Burlington VR Office recognized for service

Steve Ford, left, son of the late
President Gerald R. Ford, poses with
VR counselor Patsy Byrd after
she was presented with the 2013
Community Partner of the Year award.
Ford keynoted the awards event with
remarks about his work with
recovery and addiction issues.
Click photo for print quality version.
The Burlington office of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services was cited recently for employment assistance provided to local citizens recovering from the effects of alcoholism, drug addiction and mental illness.

Residential Treatment Services of Alamance (RTSA) named the local VR office its “2013 Community Partner of the Year” for “commitment to providing RTSA clients with training to learn marketable skills, to return to school and to find gainful employment.”

The citation pointed to the VR office’s provision of workshops to improve consumers’ job-interview and communication skills, appropriate job-seeking attire, work uniforms and necessary work tools for consumers who had obtained jobs. The award states that RTSA is “proud to have (VR) as a community partner helping our residents achieve their employment goals.”

RTSA provides round-the-clock services to mental-health and substance-abuse clients, including crisis and detox units, supervised living programs, and residential units for people with mental illness and homeless women with substance-abuse issues or mental illness.

- Ed Bristol

Vulnerable Adult and Elder Abuse Awareness Month

A group of walkers rounds the corner to return
to the Taylor Building after walking the Dix
Campus on May 10.
Click photo for print quality version.
The N.C. Division of Aging and Adult Services kicked off Vulnerable Adult and Elder Abuse Awareness Month on May 10 with a walk around the Dorothea Dix Campus. The Governor has proclaimed May 10, 2013 – June 10 as Vulnerable Adult and Elder Abuse Awareness Month.

This is one of the most under reported crimes committed against older adults and the elderly. Each year in the United States, more than two million vulnerable and older adults are victims of abuse, neglect and exploitation. More than 21,000 of those reports were made in North Carolina.

You can participate in Vulnerable Adult and Elder Abuse Awareness Month and show that you care by wearing purple on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15.

For more information please visit: National Center on Elder Abuse
Dennis Streets asks folks to bow their heads
to pause in remembrance of elderly people who suffer abuse.
Click photo for print quality version.

- Valerie Procopio

N.C. public health ‘hero’ praised by Surgeon General, Secretary Wos

Secretary Aldona Wos applauds Terrie Hall, 52, of Lexington who was honored May 22 by the U.S. Surgeon General for her efforts to encourage tobacco users to quit. Ms. Hall, who is featured in current national advertisements, was one of the first individuals to share her story in North Carolina's teen tobacco prevention campaign.

"Ms. Hall is a true public health hero in our state and now, in the nation," said Dr. Wos, a retired pulmonologist. "Her willingness to tell about her experience and the struggles she has faced is profoundly impactful. Her work over the past decade has helped reduce tobacco use rates among North Carolina's middle and high schoolers. We are proud of her and applaud this national recognition."

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, Hall's ads have been the most impactful of the "Tips from Former Smokers" campaign. Videos featuring Hall have received more than two million views on YouTube. U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin presented a certificate of appreciation to Hall during a news conference to launch the CDC's "Talk With Your Doctor" initiative.

During the month of June, the Tips from Former Smokers campaign ads will be tagged with a message for tobacco users to talk with their doctors for help quitting. Tobacco users are encouraged to ask their doctors for help to quit and health care providers are encouraged to offer assistance to quit, such as making Fax referrals to their state's quit-lines.

QuitlineNC is now offering free nicotine replacement therapy to all who sign up for the four-call program to support them in quitting tobacco for good. Supplies are limited. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit to enroll.

- Julie Henry

Phishing without a license

Online scams are being used today with more efficiency than ever before and one of the most prolific means for online scamming is called “phishing.”

“Phishing” scams are one of the best-known forms of email scams. These scammers will try to obtain your financial information using an array of empty promises of wealth. “Spear-phishing” is a targeted and personalized attack in which scammers use information about the user to entice the user to either divulge sensitive information or download a malicious file. This often requires a lot of information gathering on targets and has become one of the favored tricks used in cyber scams.

Be Mindful

When it comes to phishing, the best line of defense is you. If you are mindful of potential phishing scams and observant of the telltale signs of a scam, you can defend against an attack. Here are some easy tips:

  • Be cautious about all communications you receive including those purported to be from "trusted entities" and be careful when clicking links contained within those messages. If in doubt, do not click.
  • Don’t respond to any spam-type e-mails.
  • Don’t send your personal information via email. Legitimate businesses will not ask users to send their sensitive personal information through this means.
  • Don’t input your information in a pop-up. If you are interested in an offer that you see advertised in a pop-up ad, contact the retailer directly through its homepage, retail outlet or other legitimate contact methods.

Please report phishing attempts to the DHHS Privacy and Security Office at and to the NC Mail Team by following the instructions located at

- Pyreddy Reddy

June Accolades

Cindy DePorter and DHSR team
Click photo for print quality version.
Cindy DePorter and a team of five trainers received recognition from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in Annapolis, Md., for working earlier this year with South Carolina on a successful pilot project. The project tested whether state agencies could train each other state agencies on how to implement the Quality Indicator Survey process, which is tablet assisted. CMS plans to roll out this training. Congratulations to Cindy and her team of trainers from DHSR’s Nursing Home Licensure and Certification Section: June Lassiter, Bekka Cheek, Sharon Devers, Shannon Kelly and Penny Hickman.

Congratulations to Disability Determination Services 2013 PRIDE award winners:

  • Examiner of the Year – Johan Veenstra
  • Case Processing Supervisor – Kalundra Brown
  • Medical Consultant – Dr. Pam Jessup
  • Staff Supervision – Linda Popple
  • Staff Person of the Year – Fred Ferguson
  • Support Person – Betty Royals
  • Humanitarian – Janet Ruby
  • Special Act of Service – Dana Dunigan
  • Creative Achievement – DCC Teams - Sarah Baylor, Belinda McNeill, Alicia Madden, Bennie Sharpless, Deborah Medlin, Karen Woodlief and Janett Wells

- Jim Jones


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