Some experiencing long wait times in Missouri for Medicaid services

Published: Sep. 2, 2022 at 5:27 PM CDT
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KY3) - Many are waiting months to get Medicaid services. And federal officials say Missouri needs to pick up the pace.

Ruthie Becker lives near Kansas City. She has been trying to get her grandson Roman on Medicaid due to some health conditions. She says the whole process is stressful.

”To wait on a phone on hold for 2 hours and 11 minutes before I could get to talk to anyone was a little bit much,” said Ruthie Becker.

She isn’t the only one who has had issues. Right now, Medicaid wait times have been about two months.

Kim Evans with the Missouri Department of Social Services says it is working to speed up the process.

“As of this morning, we were pulling at right around 68 days. So we’re very close to meeting our federal timelines,” said Evans.

Federal guidelines say Missouri needs to get the wait time down.

“To be in compliance with the federal guidelines, we have to be processing applications under 45 days, which that right now is any application that we have received in our offices before August 16 of 2022,″ said Evans.

She says that part of the problem is an issue nearly every industry faces.

“We have limited staff, we have like other agencies and private sector you know, we have had vacancies, and so the vacancies and the volume of you know, applications coming in, it takes time to process, and so we are processing through those and are almost through all of that backlog,” said Evans.

Back in January, there were nearly 70,000 cases that needed to be processed. The department has gotten that number down to 20,000.

“We’ve been doing overtime to alleviate the backlog. We’ve moved as many staff as we can to the Medicaid processing to be able to assure that we’re going to meet that September 30 deadline,” said Evans.

Ruthie worries about what could happen if she can’t get her grandson on Medicaid soon.

" I only have enough for about another two weeks at most. That’s not all of them. I’m running out of three of the pills in three days,” said Becker.

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