By Rose Hoban
State Auditor Beth Wood’s office sent a statement to legislative HHS oversight committee chair Rep. Justin Burr (R-Albemarle) Thursday after reviewing two articles published by North Carolina Health News on Oct. 8 & 9 that allege the state Department of Health and Human Services strategically edited their responses to an audit of the Medicaid program by State Auditor Wood’s office delivered to Gov. Pat McCrory in late January.
In the response (see p.2 of full text below), the auditor takes issue with NCHN’s assertion that the scope of the audit widened in January, after McCrory took office.
In her response, Ms. Wood states that NCHN misrepresented or eliminated parts of an email between former Medicaid chief clinical operating officer Tara Larson and Laura Bullock from the state auditor’s office.
NCHN acknowledges that a sentence of the email was edited out for readability, and that edit should have been replaced with an ellipsis to note that elimination. In addition, while transcribing the email, an “s” was added to the word “finding” in the paragraph:
Tara Larson, outgoing state clinical operating officer for Medicaid, wrote to the audit supervisor, Laura Bullock, on the day the new findings were sent to DHHS, asking, “I don’t recall the discussion about the additional findings during our meeting in December? Am I off base – I want to make sure we get you everything.”
A screenshot of the actual email file is pictured below:
However, the NCHN staff believe the changes in that email do not detract from the tone and thrust of the article, or the assertions made in it.
On Ms. Wood’s other points, we stand by our reporting on this series of articles and invite readers to make their own decisions based on the stories and the documents provided on NCHN.
State Auditor Beth Wood’s response to NCHN stories:
Wood Response Medicaid (PDF)
Wood Response Medicaid (Text)
Cover photo of Beth Wood courtesy NC State Auditor’s website.