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State Government
Agriculture Department Sets Up Hotline For Farmers Impacted By Winter Storm PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Thursday, 13 February 2014 16:32


RALEIGH, (SGRToday.com) - As the winter storm pounds North Carolina, farmers who are hard hit already have a resource to help with recovery. The toll-free hotline is 1-866-506-6222. It will be staffed 24 hours a day through Friday, Feb. 14. 
Operating hours will be re-evaluated at that time.
“This storm is bringing a potentially nasty mix of snow and ice,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler in announcing the hotline. “Possible impacts to farms include power outages, damage to agricultural buildings and animal health emergencies. We are prepared to work with our state and local partners to help our agricultural community in the storm’s aftermath.”
State Signs Contracts With Two Firms To Support Medicaid Operations PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Monday, 10 February 2014 17:35

RALEIGH, (SGRToday.com) - Alvarez and Marsal and Navigant Healthcare have been tapped by the Department of Health and Human Services to support the Division of Medical Assistance (DMA) in its work to reform the state's Medicaid program for the poor.

The two contracts total approximately $3.7 million. 
The Alvarez and Marsal contract is available at http://gallery.mailchimp.com/58ec19aaea4630b1baad0e5e4/files/AlvarezandMarsal.pdf
The Navigant contract is available at http://gallery.mailchimp.com/58ec19aaea4630b1baad0e5e4/files/20140204162731329.pdf
"DHHS and the beneficiaries we serve will benefit from the knowledge and experience these firms will bring to the states' Medicaid program," said DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos, M.D., in a statement. "We have directed them to identify opportunities to deliver Medicaid services more efficiently and effectively - and be part of the solution. Our goal is to build on what works today to ensure a strong Medicaid program for the future."
Alvarez and Marsal will provide technical assistance to review the DMA Finance section. The Alvarez and Marsal contract will not exceed $3,250,513 and will run through January 16, 2015, with an option to extend the contract for one year. 
Navigant Healthcare will conduct an organizational assessment of the DMA Program Integrity and Audit section. The contract will not exceed $487,500 and will run through January 14, 2015, with an option to extend the contract for one year. 
DHHS also released a 2013 study conducted by Ernst & Young analyzing the DMA's historical forecasting process from end-to-end, including methodology, structure and tools. In addition to a technical analysis, Ernst & Young interviewed nearly 20 senior leaders from DHHS, the Office of State Budget and Management, and the Fiscal Research Division of the General Assembly to identify where challenges exist with the forecasting process.
"A well-managed Medicaid system must include accurate forecasting to make the most of every taxpayer dollar," said Sandra Terrell, Acting Director of the Division of Medical Assistance, in the statement. "Forecasting must rely on analytics, not on intuition, to ensure the long-term sustainability of Medicaid and support our goal of a healthy North Carolina."
According to DHHS, highlights from the Ernst & Young study include the following recommendations:
-- Separate the forecasting and budget processes. This will ensure that forecasts are a technical process based on strong analytics, which will provide the best information to prioritize and balance funding for the budget. 
-- Stronger governance and structure. This will increase forecast integrity through rigorous testing and scrutiny of inputs and processes. 
Standardized workflow. This will improve control throughout the process, producing more stable forecasting. 
-- Regimented version management control. As different forecast scenarios are tested and analyzed, this will keep track of the changes being made and the reasons behind those changes. 
Last Updated on Monday, 10 February 2014 17:35
Truck Weight Restriction Waivers Signed For Winter Storm Are Terminated PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Monday, 10 February 2014 17:27

RALEIGH, (SGRToday.com) - The Department of Public Safety announced on Friday that the State of Emergency declaration and truck weight restriction waivers that were signed January 29 in relation to the winter storm have been terminated.

Gov. Pat McCrory terminated the waivers for the storm that impacted much of the state since the storm conditions that necessitated the orders no longer exist.
The declarations were needed to enable state agencies to rapidly deploy needed resources and allow private companies to quickly move commodities to respond to and recover from the snow and ice that covered much of the state last week, according to DPS. 
Last Updated on Monday, 10 February 2014 17:27
State Regulators Clarify Reports On Arsenic Test Results Near Coal Ash Spill PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Monday, 10 February 2014 17:19

RALEIGH, (SGRToday.com) - Discrepency in levels of arsenic in the Dan River led the state agency in charge of overseeing a spill clean-up to issue a news release clarifying differing reports made on Thursday and Friday of last week.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said Monday it originally reported that arsenic levels for all sampling locations were within state standards. However, DENR should have noted on Thursday that testing of water samples collected downstream of the Dan River spill found total arsenic levels in two samples collected Monday did exceed state standards for human health, which is 10 micrograms per liter. 
A Friday news release noted that arsenic levels had exceeded that same standard. 
“We made an honest mistake while interpreting the results,” said Tom Reeder, director of the Division of Water Resources, in a statement. “The bottom line remains that we are concerned for the long-term health of the Dan River and are working with our state and federal partners and the utility to begin the cleanup. We will continue to test the water in the river as we assess the spill's impacts and determine the most appropriate ways to clean up the river. We are in this for the long haul.”
DENR officials say they relied on surface water quality standards for aquatic life when reporting results. The arsenic concentrations collected on Feb. 3 below the spill site were 40 micrograms per liter at the site closest to the spill (Draper Landing) and 13 micrograms at the Virginia state line. On Feb. 4, the concentrations had decreased to 6.3 micrograms per liter at the Draper Landing site, and 10 micrograms per liter at the Virginia state line. 
Last week, coal ash from a plant owned by Duke Energy spilled into the river when a pipe leaked.
Last Updated on Monday, 10 February 2014 17:22

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