Medicaid Council update

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Today’s Medicaid Council meeting focused on continuing problems with enrollment and recommendations to reduce Medicaid ED use. In response to a letter from Council members, we learned that 63% of calls to the DSS Benefits Center from August through December 2013 were dropped – people waited 17.5 minutes on average before hanging up. Things are getting better however – the backlog of applications is coming down and the average wait time to get a call answered has dropped from 90 to 25 minutes. DSS shared operational improvements they expect will continue to improve customer service and they plan to implement a “call back” option. They also promised to include these measures in the monthly dashboard on program performance starting next month.

The Council also heard from the legislative Program Review & Investigations Committee on their study of ED use by Medicaid consumers and shared their recommendations. ED use consumes only 4% of the entire Medicaid budget, but Medicaid members are twice as likely as other state residents to visit an ED. While Medicaid ED visits dropped between 2008 and 2012, costs per visit rose. There are a small number of Medicaid consumers who are frequent ED visitors, often seeking prescriptions. The researchers made several recommendations and DSS responded that they are implementing some of them. DSS also stated that they will include ED metrics in the monthly dashboard.