Right now if you’re a Medicaid patient or are a nurse or a nurse’s aide who cares for a patient you’re facing hard times – your medical care’s being cut or your hours are being cut or your pay’s being cut, by Craigan Gray Medicaid Director at DHHS.
But if you’re one of the legion of ‘management companies’ who lobby DHHS for contracts it’s boom time. Take CCME – The Center for Carolina’s Medical Excellence (formerly known as the Medical Review of North Carolina) – one of Secretary Cansler’s old clients in the days when he was a lobbyist.
CCME is DHHS’s version of an HMO. It doesn’t provide an iota of care for patients. Instead, it’s a ‘gatekeeper’ managing part of the state’s Medicaid Home Care Program for DHHS. And while DHHS is cutting wages to nurses and aides who do actually care for patients it just gave CCME a whopping 29% fee increase. CCME now gets paid more for a few hours work than a home care provider earns in two weeks.
On top of the fee increase, Secretary Cansler’s Department also just awarded CCME three new contracts – one for $8 million, one for $5 million and one I haven’t figured out the cost of yet. So, in the middle of the recession CCME’s fees going up 29% and new contracts are pouring in thanks to Secretary Cansler’s new policy of his Department handing out no-bid contracts.
Now some folks might see cutting pay to people who actually care for patients while paying corporate managers more looks like misplaced priorities – but not the folks at DHHS.
At DHHS that’s what passes for common sense.