The report issued on the roll-out of the computer system shows continued problems
The Rhode Island Department of Human Services (“DHS”) which administers the Medicaid program has been attempting to roll out a new computer system for several years. The system was designed to speed up application review and automate the application process to an on-line system. Unfortunately per the auditors report, the system is still experiencing issues.
For those attorneys who assist elder clients with Medicaid applications this has been a challenging time. Medicaid will pay for the nursing home care needed by these elderly clients who have less than $4,000 in countable assets. It is stressful to family members who have submitted applications for coverage, who have a loved one being cared for at a nursing home, and not knowing if their application has been approved. They fear the consequence of an unexpected denial and how that may impact a spouse or the recipient.
Applicants can wait months or years prior to receiving an approval of their application.
Rhode Island law requires DHS to pay nursing homes for any care given patients who have applications pending for greater than 90 days. This law has allowed payments to go out, facilities to get paid, and patients to receive the care they need, until the application is approved.
Fortunately, the reports also states that things are improving and applications are being reviewed quicker and more accurately. The employees at DHS have done an admirable job overcoming a challenging roll-out but still have much work to do.
If you or a loved one wants to learn more about qualifying and applying for Medicaid benefits, please contact our office for a free consultation.