House Budget Gives Aldonda Wos Near Complete Control of DHHS Budget
Some House leaders are critical of a provision in the budget that would give the Department of Human and Health Services complete autonomy over the administration of the state's Medicaid program. The provision would give DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos control of the 3.7 billion dollars allocated by the state for Medicaid, with little involvement from the General Assembly. After years of mismanagement from Wos, many members are understandably concerned.
."There's just not a lot of confidence...to hand that much over to them," Sen.Ralph Hise, R-Mitchell, said, pointing to instances where administrators didn't follow state guidelines.Senators have, in the past, floated a plan to create an independent panel that would run the Medicaid program. Hise said he agreed with the idea of taking smaller decisions about the Medicaid program out of the hands of the General Assembly.House Democratic leader Rep. Larry Hall was more blunt."Due to the failure of DHHS to successfully manage resources and personnel, the House should take a leadership role and enact precepts to ensure that the mismanagement of the past does not continue with even more resources in the future," said Hall, D-Durham. "We should be demanding accountability from DHHS. Yet, this budget gives DHHS complete authority over a $3.7 billion portion of the budget. This budget provision hands a political appointee a blank check."