Health

News and information about health, health care, health care policy from Charlotte and the Carolinas. 

North Carolina is one of 10 states that wants to add work requirements to its Medicaid program. Thursday the Trump Administration announced it's encouraging states to add these requirements for able-bodied adults.

Alex Olgin / WFAE

More than 300 uninsured people in Mecklenburg County will soon be able to get a drug that can prevent them from getting HIV. The county is funding this as part of a pilot project to reduce the spread of the deadly virus. Even though new infections have decreased in recent years, the county still has a new infection rate of 30.4 per 100,000 people. That's more than double the national average.

Healthcare.gov

Preliminary numbers show 8.8 million people bought health insurance plans through the federal exchange this year nationwide. That’s 96 percent of last year’s sign-ups, despite a lot of changes to the Affordable Care Act and a shorter window to enroll. Sign-ups in the Carolinas were also close to that of last year.  

The North Carolina attorney general is suing a pharmaceutical company for deceptive and unfair business practices. Insys Therapeutics makes a strong opioid drug called Subsys which Stein says is significantly stronger than morphine and heroin. It is intended for cancer patients who need pain relief. But Stein says according to his investigation the company was trying to get doctors and insurers to prescribe it for non-approved uses.  

Alex Olgin / WFAE

UPDATED 12:18 p.m. 12/20/2017

Mecklenburg County commissioners voted to fund a pilot project to help prevent the spread of HIV. The county has an infection rate more than double the national average. Tuesday night, the county health director will propose spending $248,000 to get medicines that provide significant protection to those most at risk.

Alex Olgin / WFAE file photo

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare has a new board of directors. It includes a few who were on the previous board. State officials fired that board when it took over the behavioral health care organization last month, believing them to be a big part of Cardinal’s problem. After all, it was the board that approved the excessive CEO pay and severance packages.    

Alex Olgin / WFAE file photo

When state officials took over Cardinal Innovations Healthcare roughly two weeks ago, one of their first actions was to purge the company's board of directors. 

That was more than just a symbolic move. The board, state officials believe, was a big part of the problem.

Now, if all goes as planned, Cardinal will have a newly-elected board of directors by the end of the week.

But, like all things Cardinal these days, there's a twist. Some of Cardinal's old board members could be coming back.

Healthcare.gov

This is the last week to sign up for health insurance through the exchange. More than 209,000 people in North Carolina have enrolled as of the first week in December, according to the federal count. 

Alex Olgin / WFAE file photo

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare Solutions is a giant in a very specific field. It’s responsible for administering $682 million in taxpayer money to Medicaid recipients in 20 counties in need of mental health treatment, developmental disability services and those seeking treatment for addictions.   

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare

Over the last year, Cardinal Innovations Healthcare has been under intense scrutiny. Three state audits focused on the CEO’s compensation and the generous severance packages for him and 10 other top executives.

Former CEO Richard Topping was earning far more than his state mandated salary of $204,195. And he just took a severance of $1.7 million. He’s been publicly silent until now. He spoke to WFAE Monday night, after he was immediately removed and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services took control of the Charlotte company that coordinates behavioral health care for 850,000 people in 20 counties. 

Alex Olgin / WFAE file photo

North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services has had enough of the leadership at Charlotte-based Cardinal Innovations Healthcare.

There have been expensive parties and board retreats, excessive CEO pay and severance agreements deemed outrageous – all funded by taxpayers.

On Monday, DHHS took over the company.

Alex Olgin / WFAE

Last month, Novant Health announced it's building two new clinics on the north and west side of Charlotte with a $7 million donation from Michael Jordan. Novant Health Michael Jordan Family Clinics promise to deliver high quality care to people who have little access now. But the head of an existing health clinic on the west side is concerned about losing business from insured patients. And that could affect its ability to serve poor patients.  

Alex Olgin / WFAE file photo

Three Cardinal Innovations Healthcare executives have resigned in the wake of the firing CEO Richard Topping. The severance for all four executives is more than $3.8 million.

Alex Olgin / WFAE file photo

Claims of a vindictive board of directors, more loyal to a CEO than the company they watch over.

A CEO who's salary far exceeds his peers.

Throw in expensive staff parties and retreats and you'd have a shareholder scandal in publicly traded company.

But when all of this happens and is paid for with tax dollars, you have something else entirely. The story of Cardinal Innovations Healthcare.

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare

The board of Cardinal Innovations Healthcare has voted to fire controversial CEO Richard Topping. But, come Monday, Topping will still be employed and still be the head of the company.

This unusual termination capped off an unusual night for company charged with administering $682 million tax dollars throughout 20 counties in North Carolina.

Alex Olgin / WFAE file photo

The board of Cardinal Innovations Healthcare is meeting Friday. Normally this alone is not news. But the last few months have been anything but normal for the largest behavioral health managed care organization in the state.

The open enrollment period for the Healthcare.gov health insurance marketplace runs from November 1 to December 15, 2017. We'd like to hear from people who've shopped for health insurance in the marketplace. Please answer these three questions. A WFAE reporter may contact you for a story. 

Novant Health

This week Novant Health announced it would be taking to the sky. The health care system’s first helicopter will be based at the Novant Health Rowan Medical Center in Salisbury.

A large chunk of federal funding for community health centers in North Carolina is up in the air after Congress let the September deadline come and go without renewing funding. According to the North Carolina Community Health Center Association, last year more than half a million people got care at these centers across the state.  

Healthcare.gov

Wednesday was the first day that North and South Carolinians could buy 2018 health insurance plans through the marketplace. The open enrollment period lasts through mid-December.  

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