Cabinet official apologizes to northern Kentucky mother for Benefind glitches

09/19/2016 03:05 PM

FRANKFORT – Cabinet officials with the Office of Administrative Technology and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services admit that there have been a number of issues affecting Medicaid recipients since the roll out of Benefind, but have been working hard to correct them.

Angie Maddox, of Florence, testified before members of the Interim Joint Committee on Appropriations and Revenue about the many frustrations that she faced with her adopted daughter, Cora, who suffers from Periventricular leukomalacia, a type of brain damage which has led to delayed development, vision impairment, difficulty in motor skills and childhood apraxia of speech.

After finding out that she qualified for Medicaid help through the waiver program, a huge financial burden was taken off of her and her husband’s shoulders, who were paying $1,500 a month for a feeding tube.

That all changed with the transformation to Benefind, which saw some services denied, and a constant battle of waiting for up to 7 hours on the phone or long waits in an office waiting room just to talk to a representative.

“Over the next two months, Cora’s speech therapist went without pay from us, because her waiver was so messed up, nothing was going through,” Maddox said. “These glitches are a big deal.”

Deck Decker, Executive Director, of the Office of Administrative Technology Services acknowledged a number of service issues with the rollout, but said steady progress has been made since June.

“Right now, we’re keeping up with of our applications, we’re keeping up with all of our FS2 documents, we’re keeping up with our renewals, “Decker said. “It’s really the waiver and long term care where we’re having the issues and we’re trying to correct those. A lot of this probably should have been looked at before it went live, but unfortunately, it was not with this administration.”

Stephen Miller, Commissioner of the Department of Medicaid for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services admitted that Cora fell through the cracks and issued an apology to Maddox for all of her struggles with his department.

“You know, her daughter is one of the most vulnerable, needy, special needs that we have here in this state and it’s our responsibility, through Medicaid and the waivers, to see that it’s done,” Miller said. “Obviously, she fell through the crack through that process. We need and will do better.”

Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D-Louisville, expressed her disappointment with administration officials for assuring citizens that everything was ready and under control before the roll out took place when she says that it was clearly not.

“The buck stops with the administration,” Marzian said. “You can’t keep saying that it was in the past. It’s not going to hold water, it’s almost been a year with this administration.”

Maddox says that her daughter is currently getting all of the care that she needs and things are all in place as far as the Medicaid waivers are concerned.

She thinks ultimately, Benefind could be a better system, but the launch was rushed causing many Kentuckians to suffer similar experiences.

“From what I understand in theory, this new system will make things easier, it will be much better for Kentucky families,” Maddox said. “I just think they rolled it out too soon.”

About Don Weber

Don Weber joined cn|2 when it launched back in May 2010 and soon became a reporter for Pure Politics. He is a graduate of Northern Kentucky University and has spent many years covering everything from politics to sports. Don says he loves meeting new people everyday as part of his job and also enjoys the fact that no two days are the same when he comes to work. Don Weber can be reached at donald.weber@twcnews.com.

6 Comments

Comments

  • Observer wrote on September 19, 2016 04:21 PM :

    Government failure! Must do better, no excuses!

  • viewer wrote on September 20, 2016 08:46 AM :

    Good morning, friends. I will begin by giving much respect and admiration to Angie Maddox and other parents around the state, who have heard the calling, in their heart, to adopt. It takes a special person to open their home to a child with special needs. I would like to send my best wishes and hopes out to Ms. Maddox’s daughter and the many others, around the state, who need prayers from all, to help ease their daily struggles.

    I would like to see more being done in Frankfort, to address children with special needs. Sen. Denny Carroll has done a lot trying to address this. There is a lot more that can be done, and there are a lot more families and children struggling, who need the attention put on their hardships. Sen. Max Wise has tried to address cancer in adolescents. I believe the more we highlight these issues the better. As a parent myself, there is nothing scarier than having health issues involving your child.

    I would like to give credit to Stephen Miller, in the clip above. Mr. Miller apologizing for the handling of Ms. Maddox’s applications, was a class act, and the right thing to do. They deal with thousands of these applications, and I know they are trying the best they can. Stephen Miller is a competent leader and is working around the clock to do all that he can to right the ship and create a better process for all.

    This ACA is so complex that it is over my head, and I wouldn’t even know where to begin. I won’t even try to address anything with it. I don’t see any use in blaming this one or that one. I just think we will have to struggle until we get it right.

    We hear all of these studies and projection of what would and wouldn’t happen here in the state of Kentucky. Our hospitals are struggling to stay afloat. Our insurance companies are struggling to make profits. Again, I’m not blaming anyone, but nothing is working as it was promised. We can’t keep throwing billions of dollars at it, to find what works and what doesn’t.

    I’m not blaming Gov. Beshear here. Coming from eastern Kentucky, I know our people needed the healthcare. I have been around poor people my whole life. I was raised poor. I am still middle class poor. I understand why Gov. Beshear wanted better healthcare for this state and its citizens. I get it. The main problem I see is we focus more on throwing money at it, rather than implementing the policies and procedures to keep it functioning, after the federal money was gone. Even the major insurance companies got billions of dollars up front, then they wanted to merge. Who didn’t see this coming?

    I am hearing rumors that a major healthcare provider is in talks to merge with another provider in the Louisville market. I won’t put the two hospitals on here, but I’m in favor of the merger. I think it is the only thing that will keep the doors open, looking long term.

    On the Humana merger, at first, I wasn’t for the merger. The main reason, for my descent, was because of all that Humana and Mr. Jones has meant to the area. Humana and Mr. Jones have been great philanthropists for our state. When you think of a corporation that has meant a lot to the state of Kentucky, Humana has to be right at the top. Mr. Jones and his executives have been a blessing to Louisville. If this merger goes through, we can only hope that the new owners will be similar to the old ones. The viewer.

  • viewer wrote on September 20, 2016 09:07 AM :

    I want to add one more thing. I come on here and ask for people with a medical background to run for office. Rep. Mary Lou Marzian fits this criteria. I respect and admire Mary Lou, her passion, and especially the fire she brings to Frankfort. Our ideologies are different, and the way, to get to the place where I think that we both want to be, is different. Like with Rep. Jim Wayne and Jimmy Lee, I know their hearts are in the right place, but I also know the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

    A week or so ago, I was watching KET and Mary Lou was on there. I think it was on Medicaid or Medicare. I’m not sure which one. Mary Lou, working in and around the healthcare system, knows there are problems. I would like to see Mary Lou get back to who she was a few years ago and get back to somewhere in the middle so we can come up with a solution. The last few years she has become a card carrying socialist. This is not helping to find solutions at all. Now, to get some kind of system that can survive, we have to find the middle ground. Everything can’t be free, but dismantling this root and branch isn’t going to happen either. We need to begin focusing on innovation. How we get a better system in place to reach and treat these patients. We need to think about more preventable measures that these patients need to implement in their daily lives. How they eat, take care of themselves, stopping bad habits, etc. We have to quit talking over each other’s heads and making the other side feel bad about themselves.

    I think a lot of Mary Lou. I also think we need her wisdom. She is a big player in this ACA system that needs to be implemented correctly in Kentucky, but we need the old Mary Lou back, who works together with others for best practices going forward. I understand how frustrating it is to deal with some of our people. They frustrate me too, but we have to work together for a common cause and solutions. The viewer.

  • Bill Adkins wrote on September 20, 2016 09:56 AM :

    Bevin’s latest failure. No excuses.

  • Gilda wrote on September 20, 2016 05:32 PM :

    Why is it the government’s responsibility to take care of special needs children or any of the Commonwealths children – Isn’t that the responsibility of the Father & Mother? I admit that we have a jobs and insurance, but Hubby & I took care of our special needs child until he no longer needed that care and thrived on his own. He’s now a productive member of society with a wife and children of his own, blessedly without special needs. And I also do not see that it is the Governor’s fault, the Legislature makes the laws, not the Governor, Mr. Adkins. (BTW – I’m a registered Democrat, but one that believes in personal responsibility.)

  • amblush617 wrote on September 20, 2016 11:20 PM :

    ~~ Gilda: I respect that you did a great job w/your son, but not everyone can afford the medical bills .. too many in Ky are making below poverty levels even for KY .. Yes, I agree w/ Bill Adkins , Bevins was in too much of a hurry to get rid of anything that Gov Beshear did, especially Ky Net & to blame him for everything that’s wrong w/Ky .. imho! ~~

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