(1000+ posts) Sun Jan-23-11 01:14 PM
Original message Needy still suffering from persistent delays in state's benefits system (CO)
Needy still suffering from persistent delays in state's benefits system
By Michael Booth
The Denver Post
Posted: 01/23/2011 01:00:00 AM MSTUpdated: 01/23/2011 09:25:29 AM MST
Massive delays continue to plague the state benefits system for Medicaid, food stamps and other assistance, obstructing hundreds of thousands of residents and prompting a new contempt of court call by legal advocates for the poor.
In some categories, the roadblocks have worsened despite years of attempted fixes. Tens of thousands of clients a month are suffering illegal delays on 71 percent of Child Health Plan Plus re-enrollments and 44 percent of initial adult Medicaid applications, the contempt filings claim.
With state and county caseloads bulging from the recession, the delays affected more than 248,000 people seeking to start or extend medical benefits in an 18-month period from 2009 to mid-2010. While applicants may eventually receive back benefits, they miss vital food aid during the gaps and watch doctors, clinics and pharmacies refuse them care for lack of insurance.
"They've regressed," said Ed Kahn of the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, a party to the lawsuit against the state dating to 2004. In rulings and negotiations since then, the state has been required to improve the system performance or face sanctions.
More at the link, including that Texas (!) seems to be handling it much better.