State of the State – 2013

Social media was active last night during McCrory’s State of the State address at the NC General Assembly. This is what people had to say (including tweets from @NCHealthNews).

Storified by NC Health News· Mon, Feb 18 2013 19:37:13

@PatMcCroryNC is addressing the #ncga. Cotham
Mental health off the top… #sotsDianne Gallagher
McCrory shout out to ER docs, RNs and county sheriffs who have to take care of #mentalhealth pts in EDs #ncga #ncpol #SOTSNC Health News
#ncgov McCrory says he will be focused on “economy, education, and efficiency of our services.” #ncpolmark binker
McCrory asks for changes in the administrative appeals process, which he says is costing $$. #SOTSBarry Smith
This is kind of a wonky point, one most people wouldn’t know about. The issue is about the Office of Administrative Hearings, the state arbiter a person goes to when appealing a decision by Medicaid.

Currently the OAH is swamped with appeals from residents of group homes and adult care home Alzheimer’s units who have had Medicaid services cut.

OAH has been trimmed in recent years, resulting in a backlog of appeals.

McCrory blames broken Medicaid system for refusing Medicaid expansion. #ncga #ncpol #sotsRob Thompson
We’ve heard this before from McCrory during a press conference earlier this month, after state auditor Beth Wood presented a scathing audit of administrative overruns in the program. For the NCHN story, see here:
recent audit showed the past admin overspent on M… GA is able to deliver M services at 4K per pt, while NC is 6K per pt. #ncga #ncpol #SOTSNC Health News
The governor talked about Medicaid costs. North Carolina is known for having a “generous” Medicaid benefit. NC ranks 21st in the country in cost per enrollee, $6,098 per person. Georgia, on the other hand, ranks 50th spending $3,979 per beneficiary.

Much of the South is a little closer to NC than to GA: Virginia, $5,870; Kentucky, $5,890; South Carolina, $5,181; Tennessee, $4,742; Alabama, $4,081(all numbers from Kaiser Family Foundation, 2009)

Give team time & flexibility to stop bleeding. Minimize reports that we’re requiring – brandishes report required in last week. #ncga #SOTSNC Health News
That’s also something that HHS Secretary Aldona Wos did in a legislative hearing last week. She said the legislature has required DHHS to produce, on average, 150 reports per year.
#NCGov expresses shock re: Medicaid cost overruns despite #NCGA ignored many warnings about unrealistic budget #SOTS #NCpolBudget & Tax Center
There’s no doubt the Medicaid program has had inefficient administration, with poor tracking of expenditures. But some on the Democratic side of the aisle point out that former HHS Secretary Lanier Cansler told legislators some of the savings they were looking for from Medicaid would be unattainable.
According to auditor Beth Wood, administrators at Medicaid then said, “OK lawmakers, we’ll save you that money,” but had no intention of doing it.
McCrory introduces first lady, and 2 who have turned their lives around at the Durham Rescue Mission. #SOTSBarry Smith
This is probably the one part of the speech that people on both sides of the aisle could agree on: NC needs a better mental health system and more opportunities to help people with addictions.

McCrory started talking about addiction by introducing several people who stopped abusing substances with help from the folks at the Durham Rescue Mission. He talked about visiting the facility with his wife Anne.

@PatMcCroryNC #SOTS @RescueDurham quoting Anne “We could say why don’t they just quit doing drugs. These people have more courage than us.”Tom Murry
@PatMcCroryNC: Wants legislation to revive drug treatment courts #SOTS #ncga #ncpolTerry Stoops
Funding for these special courts was eliminated by the Republican-lead legislature during the last session.
Good to see McCrory recognizing substance abuse as a major problem and calling for reestablishment of drug courts. #ncga #ncpol #sotsRob Thompson
Glad to see #drugtreatmentcourts endorsed. Broad topics in #sots but no in depth plans for jobs just broad concepts #sots #ncpol #ncgovJeanne MillikenBonds
Gov asks for legislation that increases penalties for those who set up meth labs in our communities. #SOTS #ncpolJoe Bruno
McCrory also targeted the culture of substance abuse prevalent at many colleges and universities in North Carolina
@PatMcCroryNC #SOTS universities need to enforce policies to fight binge drinking and recreational drug use. #ncgaTom Murry
Note: Rep. Murry (R-Morrisville) was live tweeting the State of the State address. I don’t know if he was the first… anyone know?
First legislator to live tweet a #sots from the floor? @Tom_Murry #NCGA #ncgov Ginsberg
Stronger criminal justice, mental health and substance abuse programs cost money #ncga #ncpol #ncgov #sots Where will it come from?Rob Schofield
It’s an interesting question Schofield asked. The governor stated early in his speech that revenues were essentially the same as last year. If he wants these things funded, they’ll be competing with a lot of other issues.
Does fighting substance abuse include refinancing tobacco cessation? 17.1M cut last year. #ncga #ncpol #SOTSNC Health News
This comment got a lot of re-tweets. It’s a question to consider: does the governor consider tobacco a dangerous substance? In NC Health News Monday morning, State Health Director Laura Gerald pointed out tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death in North Carolina. Read it here:
Finally, the only real mention of health care issues from the Democratic opposition came from Sen. Josh Stein (D-Wake).
Stein: Medicaid bill really damaging long term health of rural hospitals. Spoken to multiple hospital CEO/CFOs. They concur. #SOTS #NCGANC Health News
In the NC Health News story published Friday, the CFO of Southeastern Regional Hospital said just this. During the floor debate, legislators mentioned petitions from hospital leaders in Cleveland and Scotland counties to expand the Medicaid program.

And a spokesman from the NC Hospital Association pointed out that rejecting the Medicaid expansion means NC hospitals would lose up to $5 billion in reimbursements over the next decade.

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Rose Hoban is the founder and editor of NC Health News, as well as being the state government reporter. Hoban has been a registered nurse since 1992, but transitioned to journalism after earning degrees...