Feds Question Sharp Drop in Pa. Medicaid Rolls

Thursday, 12 Jul 2012 12:00 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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The Obama administration is trying to find out why Pennsylvania has dropped tens of thousands of people from its Medicaid rolls since last summer.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says the state Department of Public Welfare dropped 130,000 people, including 89,000 children, between last August and this January, because it was apparently unable to sort through a backlog of applications for benefits and other information.
In a letter sent June 14 to the department, the federal agency also suggested that state officials may have acted incorrectly by not following established protocol in reviewing eligibility requirements.
Welfare department spokeswoman Carey Miller said Pennsylvania officials have been working with the federal government to determine if any cases had been mishandled or dropped in error.
Miller said the department doesn’t consider the letter a rebuke. But Medicaid advocates have been complaining about cases being dropped in the state, with apparently little explanation, for some time.
The Inquirer also reported last year that the number of Medicaid recipients had declined “steeply” under an effort by Republican Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration to crack down on welfare fraud and abuse.
The newspaper also reported Thursday that state welfare department recently changed how it reports adult Medicaid enrollment, making it more difficult to determine how many recipients there really are.

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