Valley Counties making progress on Medi-Cal backlog

County officials in the central San Joaquin Valley say they are chipping away at a backlog of unprocessed Medi-Cal applications that prompted individuals and advocacy organizations to sue the state last week.

The Affordable Care Act, the federal health care law sometimes known as Obamacare, has swelled the state’s Medi-Cal rolls as thousands of uninsured have enrolled for coverage to avoid federal tax penalties. An estimated 11 million people will be receiving Medi-Cal benefits in the current budget year, according to projections from Gov. Jerry Brown’s office.

The rush to enroll has left county health offices overwhelmed as they struggle to process new aplications. Tulare County officials are literally working overtime to process more than 2,000 applications that are months old.

"Our staffs are working Saturdays and Sundays to work those backlog applications," said Donna Ortiz, deputy director of TulareWorks, which signs up residents for Medi-Cal along with other social service programs, in an interview with the Fresno Bee.

Advocacy groups have been pushing state lawmakers for a measure that would force the state to enroll applicants within 45 days of their initial application.

Read the Fresno Bee story here.


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