Medicaid Application Backlog an Increasingly Large Problem in Kansas

A backlog reported by the state included approximately 15,000 applications.

The Disability Rights Center of Kansas has recently requested additional information from Medicaid about its backlog of applications.

The group is asking the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to make Kansas document notification of their right to a hearing if their application is not processed within 45 days, according to a report in the Topeka Capital Journal.

They are also asking that the federal government require the state to create a plan to stop the backlog. The number of applicants was backed up to approximately 15,000, but the Kansas Department for Health and Environment reported only 3500 applicants.

This backlog was caused by a new computer system that determines eligibility for KanCare, and delays were caused by attempts to fix bugs in the system, according to the Kansas Health Institute. They also reported there were 7750 applications passed the legal 45-day waiting period.

Now, the Disability Rights Center of Kansas is looking into whether the state is breaking federal laws regarding the backlog, and have filed an open records request to do so.

“We are concerned that the state is not informing Kansas Medicaid applicants of their right to a fair hearing if their application is not processed within 45 days,” said the center’s Executive Director, Rocky Nichols in an email to the Journal. “We are also concerned that they are not enrolling people who fell through the cracks or providing them retroactive benefits. Thus far, the state has produced no tangible evidence that they are complying with these aspects of federal law.”

However, a state agency spokeswoman said the federal laws do not require the state to inform applicants of their right to a fair hearing, and they are complying with regulations in place, according to Kansas Health Institute.

“The actions of the state for the past 12 months clearly demonstrate that it is failing in its responsibility to provide timely and necessary Medicaid coverage to the deserving citizens of Kansas and that it is ignoring its duty to protect their rights to due process,” the Disability Rights Center wrote in a letter to CMS.