People With Disabilities Face Waits for Medi-Cal Applications
Processing Medi-Cal applications for people with disabilities takes 145 days on average, exceeding the state's 90-day limit, according to the Department of Social Services, the Sacramento Bee reports (Benson, Sacramento Bee, 10/31). Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
Two advocacy groups earlier this month filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction to require the state to process Medi-Cal applications within the 90-day state limit. The lawsuit seeks a court order directing the state to expedite services for people who are awaiting medical treatment under Medi-Cal (California Healthline, 10/11).
A review of more than 2,000 Medi-Cal applications for people with disabilities from 2005 found that none of the applications were processed within the state-mandated time limit.
The state requires the Department of Social Services to certify Medi-Cal applicants' disabilities, for people whose conditions hinder their ability to work, before they can receive benefits. The department said it currently has a backlog of about 12,000 cases, down from a backlog of about 16,000 cases last year when processing Medi-Cal applications for people with disabilities took 310 days on average.
Department of Social Services spokesperson Shirley Washington said the department has hired 35 additional staff members over the past two years, helping to reduce the backlog and wait time. Washington said the department could not comment on pending litigation (Sacramento Bee, 10/31).