Officials respond to backlog of Medicaid resulting in some nursing homes closing

Officials respond to backlog of Medicaid resulting in some nursing homes closing.

Pleasant Hill Village nursing home in Girard, is now set to close in September, leaving families and residents in search of where they will go next.

It is due to the state's backlog of determining Medicaid eligibility.

After it was announced residents would have to find a new home, it left many wondering where they could turn.

But for one family, a simple Facebook comment got them and their family members more than they originally bargained for.

“My mom and dad's been married 65 years so they're kind of inseparable," Barbara Byerline, a family member of a displaced couple said.

Dean and Alice Morris were almost separated due to the nursing home closing but Byerline said her prayers were answered although she knows not every family is as lucky.

"God only knows that this is hard for people, for families, you know," Byerline said.

While the situation originally brought frustration for the family, Byerline said she kept hope even when times were tough.

"Every place was full or they didn't have rooms available," Byerline said.

However, the family’s situation quickly turned to hope, after Barbara’s daughter left a comment on a Facebook post from NewsChannel 20's webstory about the nursing home closing.

"Her comment really touched this woman and then she told her that she could help with it," Byerline said.

That woman who responded works at The Christian Village, a nursing home in Lincoln that will soon be welcoming the couple of 65-years who will once again soon be living together.

This is something they said any nursing home would have done.

“The long-term care community is a pretty tight knit community and when we see a need, we do try to help other homes because those things can happen anywhere," Byerline said.

Regardless, it is an act of kindness their family says will not be soon forgotten.

“It's a relief, a blessing to know that for the last years of their life, they can actually be together," Byerline said.

The following is from Meghan Powers with the Department of Human Services:

Applications for long term care benefits are some of the most complex cases we process because long term care services are some of the most expensive benefits the state offers. One of the most significant causes of delays is the length of time it takes applicants to provide the state with all the necessary financial documents to determine their eligibility for long term care services. Caseworkers strive to help applicants provide all documentation required by federal law rather than routinely denying incomplete applications. However, this results in many pending applications. Many cases counted in the backlog numbers are cases without all necessary documentation.

Last year we expanded staff working on these cases from 220 employees to 310 employees and in January the state implemented a significant policy change that made it easier and faster for individuals who have been receiving community Medicaid to add eligibility for long term care benefits. In June 2018, the state issued a Request For Proposals for a contractor to assist with processing long term care applications. We look forward to reviewing the proposals that we anticipate will maximize the resources deployed to eliminate the backlog of pending cases.

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