NC DHHS Has Been Unable To Arrange Hill’s Exit Conference

According to the letter, Balanced Nutrition did not respond to several emails and phone calls from DHHS. The letter included the following statement:

“Within ten (10) calendar days of receipt of this letter, the institution must submit three (3) or more dates and times, before June 30, 2024, that an institution representative could be available to participate in the exit conference.”

The letter went on to say that failure to respond would result in a “Notice of Serious Deficiency.” As of June 27, the situation remained unchanged, according to DHHS.

DHHS has not yet responded to a Newsline inquiry as to how common such notices are.

Hill did not respond to multiple requests for comment from Newsline.

Hill, who founded Balanced Nutrition Inc. in 2015, ended her partnership with DHHS in April. The organization helped childcare providers apply for and receive federal funding for kids’ meals under the federal Child and Adult Care Food Program, which is overseen by DHHS.

Robinson, the Republican nominee for governor in the upcoming November election, also worked for the business prior to running for lieutenant governor.

According to DHHS, sponsoring organizations must participate in an exit conference even after their partnership with DHHS ends. The exit conference focuses on the organization’s activities during the previous fiscal year and, in Balanced Nutrition’s case, would be used to complete the FY’24 Compliance Review and verify reimbursement requests.

During the conference, DHHS would also discuss preliminary review findings, program strengths, corrective actions that might be required, and recommendations.

As reported by Newsline in April, a 2023 DHHS audit of Balanced Nutrition found that the organization failed to properly track the number of subsidized meals provided to its participating childcare centers. The DHHS review also found that some centers working with Balanced Nutrition reported serving more meals than were actually provided to participants.

It’s unclear how many additional meals the centers claimed. However, DHHS cited Balanced Nutrition for discrepancies in its reported figures. The nonprofit was charged with helping providers meet program requirements for reimbursement, ensuring compliance, and filing monthly claims on their behalf, according to its website.

The DHHS review, which examined five randomly selected centers that Balanced Nutrition worked with, found that Hill’s nonprofit failed to identify violations from some of the childcare centers it was responsible for monitoring, Newsline reported.

Earlier this year, Hill informed clients that she was shutting down her nonprofit because of her husband’s campaign for governor, as first reported by The Assembly, saying the demands of the campaign made it impossible for her to continue operating the nonprofit.

But WUNC and CBS17 later reported that Hill made the abrupt decision as the state was set to conduct a compliance review of her organization. She later claimed to WRAL that the DHHS was targeting Balanced Nutrition because of her husband.

Hill told WRAL in an interview earlier this year that her organization has been subjected to unwarranted scrutiny by DHHS due to its connection to her husband. She said that a DHHS employee had circulated Facebook photos of Hill with her husband to other DHHS employees to make them aware of the connection. Hill alleged the employee told colleagues that Hill had misled her about her husband’s identity.

WRAL reported that a DHHS spokesperson said the employee who purportedly shared the images was at one time in charge of reviewing Balanced Nutrition, but that the case was assigned to a different specialist in March 2023.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *