CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The director of the state Medicaid program told state lawmakers Wednesday difficulties continue to reduce the waiting list for state residents who want to stay at home instead of going to a nursing home.
“We’re really struggling to get people onto the program,” Nancy Atkins told members of the legislature’s Joint Committee on Government and Finance. “We’re still struggling to get people on there quickly.”
There are currently 2,258 state residents on the waiting list for the Medicaid Aged and Disabled Waiver program. She said getting residents off the list could move a lot faster if the financial eligibility part of the program moved at a quicker pace. She told lawmakers the DHHR recently put new processes into place that will require the information to be completed in 60-days after a person is chosen for the program.
“If they don’t decide or aren’t able to come up with that (financial eligibility information) then we put them back on the wait list and we go to the next person on the list because we are really struggling getting people onto the list quickly enough,” Atkins said. “Isn’t that ironic?”
House of Delegates Finance Committee Chairman Brent Boggs, D-Braxton, said there’s obviously still a real problem with the program. Boggs said he’s concerned about the ripple effect. He said the longer the agencies that provide the care for the residents have to wait the more likely they are to lose registered nurses who provide the in-home care.
“This could create a real dilemma,” Boggs said. “I hope we do everything possible to expedite this.”
Boggs said the red tape associated with the program also shows up in the program’s finances. It continues to come in under budget. Through April, 10 months of the fiscal year, $90 million of the approximately $137 million allocated for the program had been spent.
There are currently 6,120 who receive the in-home care. There’s been approval and funding provided to take another 137 residents off the waiting list in coming months.