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Wait-list for in-home care exceeds 2,000

By Phil Kabler, Staff writer

Even with funding approved to provide additional patient slots, the Department of Health and Human Resources is still having problems reducing a wait-list for the Medicaid program to provide in-home care to elderly and disabled West Virginians, the Joint Committee on Government and Finance learned Wednesday.

Bureau of Medical Services Commissioner Nancy Adkins told legislators there are approximately 2,258 people on the wait-list, which amounts to a slight decrease, but not as low as the DHHR would like.

“We’re really struggling to get people on quickly,” she said.

Adkins said a total of 6,120 people are currently receiving in-home care services.

In order to qualify for in-home care, individuals must complete paperwork verifying that they are both medically eligible, with health conditions that require assistance, and financially eligible, with household income of 133 percent of the federal poverty level or less.

Adkins said there are frequently long delays for persons who are deemed medically eligible to complete and submit documentation showing they are also financially eligible.

As of June 1, the DHHR instituted a new rule giving those persons 60 days to complete financial paperwork, or they will go back on the wait-list, she said.

House Finance Chairman Brent Boggs, D-Braxton, a prime advocate of expanding the in-home care program, said the DHHR’s inability to make inroads on the wait-list is frustrating.

“We’ve still got a problem with this,” he said. “It seems like we struggle with the wait-list, and we struggle with getting them into the program.”

He said he has heard of registered nurses leaving in-home care services to take other jobs because of delays in getting in-home care assignments.

“If we could get this expedited, everyone would be the winner,” he said.

Also during the Joint Committee meeting:

| Administration Secretary Ross Taylor updated legislators on the implementation of the state’s $120 million Enterprise Resource Planning supercomputer system.

July 8 will be a key date, as a number of state agency computer functions will shift to the wvOasis system, including purchasing, contracts, inventory, state Purchasing Card transactions, budget control, and accounts payable and receivable.

He said managers of the system do not anticipate major issues with the transition, but added, “Without a doubt, there’s going to be bumps in the road.”

The next major phase in the wvOasis rollout will come in January, when employee payroll, benefits, time and leave, and travel, will be transitioned to the new system.

| Committee members officially authorized out-of-town interim meetings for Aug. 25-27 in Bridgeport. The Bridgeport Conference Center will be headquarters for the interims, but meetings and visitations are also planned for elsewhere in Harrison, Marion and Monongalia counties.

House Speaker Tim Miley, D-Harrison, made the motion to hold the interims in Bridgeport.

Reach Phil Kabler at

philk@wvgazette.com

or 304-348-1220.


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