Maureen Corcoran, the Ohio Department of Medicaid director, told Gov. Mike DeWine in a 2019 year-end memo that the Medicaid program she inherited from the John Kasich administration was a “mess.”
In the 13-page memo, she detailed a variety of problems ranging from having to spend significant time resolving audit problems, fixing technical issues and improving the program’s policies.
Corcoran said in the memo these structural issues could have a “significant” impact on fiscal and policy issues for Ohio.
Furthermore, the memo detailed major problems with the Ohio Benefits System (OBS), which decides if Ohioans qualify for Medicaid. Currently, OBS faces almost 1,100 defects in the program, according to the memo. All these defects made Corcoran question why they were “left unaddressed by the leadership of the prior administration.”
OBS defects included:
- The Ohio Benefits system allows overwriting of eligibility data and documentation.This is eliminating the historical documentation needed to prove that member eligibility was properly established for audit purposes.
- The system is ascribing incorrect dates for renewals causing late renewals or in some cases failing to trigger a renewal at all.
- The system is allowing duplicate member identifications, potentially resulting in paying a managed care plan more than once for the same person
- County workers are reporting that the Ohio Benefits system is causing some individuals applications for benefits to disappear
- The system sometimes incorrectly links newborns to individuals who are not their actual parents. For example, we discovered an instance where the system linked a newborn to an eleven-year-old child.
Ohio’s director of Medicaid ended her memo by saying a lot of resources were used to clean up the state’s Medicaid program, but there was still “significant work” ahead. Despite this, her team is committed to restoring the program’s accountability and “successfully implementing” DeWine’s Medicaid priorities.
Jim Lynch, a spokesman for Kasich, defended the former governor against Corcoran’s memo. Lynch said when Kasich took office, Ohio’s Medicaid program had an $8 billion shortfall.
“So, we got to work to reform the program, cut the cost growth from 9% to below 4%, and covered 700,000 more people,” he told Cleveland.com. “The state’s leadership now has the opportunity to build on eight years of progress, further fine-tune a complex program, and reassure Ohioans that critical health care services will be there when they need them.”
Corcoran said in a conference call Tuesday that she does not want her memo to be taken as blasting Kasich’s administration.
“It’s not about pointing fingers or denigrating good work that was done by the prior administration,” Corcoran told WOSU. “But it is about sort of clearing the air so that these things that have very real operational implications don’t get tangled up with what we’ll be laying out even more fully in the weeks ahead.”
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Zachery Schmidt is the digital editor of Star News Digital Media. If you have any tips, email Zachery at [email protected]