Olsen upset by absence of Medicaid officials at hearing on disbursement of funds
Rep. David Olsen (R-Downers Grove) was unable to question Medicaid officials about their failure to provide services with $300 million they were allotted because they failed to show up at the April 30 House Appropriations Human Services Committee hearing.
Before the hearing began, Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) pointed out the absence of the officials who would be the only ones to answer why there is such managerial incompetence in the systematic problems and failures of the integrated eligibility of Medicaid in Illinois.
“We all agree any of these issues are unacceptable,” Olsen said of the failure of the state that recently included 41,000 families being removed from food stamps during Christmas and thousands of developmentally disabled children taken off of health care on April 1 without reason.
Harris said the Department Health and Family Services (DHFS), Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Deloitte health care regulatory agency all declined to show up to the hearings to discuss the disbursement of up to $300 million in Medicaid funds.
While Harris noted the system is so terrible and so disturbing it just makes him sick, Olsen discussed the modernization of a 40-year-old Integrated Eligibility System (IES) used by the departments to review applications and disburse Medicaid dollars.
“We need to make sure what we do fits the needs in the state,” Olsen said.
The departments must work more efficiently with clients and vendors to see the needed change, according to Olsen, who read off a letter written by DHS Secretary James Dimas.
“He said this week there was a 63 percent improvement in timeouts and errors,” Olsen said. "The average time it takes for a case worker to determine a client’s Medicaid eligibility is down 49 percent from last month. I am glad to see that there is some improvement, but clearly there needs to be more improvement."
Olsen said he looks forward to department officials showing up to the hearings.
“I have some specific questions, because right now there are legitimate concerns," he said.
Olsen said the only way the public's confidence will be restored in the Illinois Medicaid system is if answers are given.