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@charter.com.

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