Medicaid advanced funding held up for Kansas nursing homes

A car drives by the Meadowlark Hills Retirement Community on July 26, 2016. The Medicaid advanced funding has been held up for Kansas nursing homes that were promised them to help stay open. (Evert Nelson | The Collegian)

Nursing homes have not received advanced Medicaid payments promised by the state, according to a report by KCUR.

The state, which is going through a backlog of Medicaid applications, said in March that nursing homes could apply for half-payments to help their operations continue.

At this point, the state has yet to make any payments.

“To clarify, we have made no advance payments under the program,” Angela de Rocha, a spokeswoman for the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, said last week in an email. “Rather, what the State has done is to determine the eligibility of the individuals involved and to approve regular payments to the nursing facilities when advance payment requests are made. This reduces the administrative burden on both the state and the nursing facilities.”

As of June 19, 11,585 Medicaid applications were still processing, of which 7,724 were pending more than 45 days. Since last week, the number of applications pending more than 45 days has decreased to 6,117.

Sarah Duggan, Meadowlark Hills’ community relations director, said they have also had to deal with problems of the beleaguered KanCare system.

“We have had some issues with delayed payments,” Duggan said. “Luckily, we have a full-time person who deals with those issues. We’ve been able to manage, but I wouldn’t say it’s been a piece of cake.”

Duggan said that although Meadowlark Hills is not in dire financial straits, she has heard about other health care facilities in the state who are currently struggling.

“We’re in touch with other providers, so we’ve heard the stories,” Duggan said. “There’s definitely some places that are hurting. It’s on our radar.”