Disability and senior rights groups demand investigation of Kansas Medicaid backlog

In a letter sent July 8 to the federal Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services [PDF], the Disability Rights Center of Kansas called on the federal government to investigate the state’s growing Medicaid backlog.

“Ongoing delays risk depriving applicants of necessary medical care through no fault of their own,” the letter states. “The state of Kansas is also violating the due process rights of its citizens by failing to properly and fully inform them of their rights, including the right of an administrative appeal when the state fails to timely process their applications.

“The delays and violations are so widespread and systematic that we ask CMS to take any and all steps needed to protect the rights and health of those in need of Medicaid assistance…”

Last month, the Kansas Department for Health and Environment reported that the state’s backlog for Medicaid applications stood at 15,393. This figure is more than four times higher than the previously reported figure of 3, 480, from the department’s third-party contractor, Accenture.

The advocacy group initially sent a letter to the department, which includes requests for data and information about denied applications under the Kansas Open Records Act, according to the Wichita Eagle. On July 11, it received a response, which allegedly didn’t indicate when the records would be made available.

“That’s not only incredibly disappointing, I think it’s insulting to the thousands of Kansans who have been harmed by the state’s actions,” DRCK Executive Director Rocky Nichols told the Eagle.

Among other demands, the letter requests that the state notify applicants of their right to a hearing if their application hasn’t been processed within 45 days and requests that the state demonstrate a “realistic plan” for eliminating the backlog.

The Disability Rights Center of Kansas and Disability Rights Washington, the parent organization of Rooted in Rights, are the designated protection and advocacy agencies in Kansas and Washington, respectively, and are members of the National Disability Rights Network.