Nevada tackles backlog of Medicaid applications


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Nevada tackles backlog of Medicaid applications

By Michael Lopardi. CREATED Mar 21, 2014

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Thousands of potential Medicaid participants in Nevada are left waiting as the state tackles a backlog of applications.

The Division of Welfare and Supportive Services has roughly 60,000 applications in line for processing. 

Mike Willden, director of the Department of Health and Human Services, announced the figure Tuesday at a meeting of the state Board of Examiners.

Willden said processing time is up to roughly two months. Many of the applications belong to people who previously qualified for Medicaid but are just now applying because of the Affordable Care Act, he said.

"I'm one of those 60,000 people," said April Barrows, 37, of Las Vegas. "I want answers. I want coverage."

The number of Medicaid recipients at the end of September was roughly 330,000, according to the health department. Willden said the total is expected to surge to 500,000 by the summer, significantly earlier than project.

State lawmakers approved an additional 248 employees to deal with the volume. Another 162 workers are set to be in place by the end of 2014, but both Willden and Gov. Brian Sandoval discussed the possibility of asking lawmakers to bring the additional staff on board sooner.

"We are working all the overtime we can afford to work now," Willden said.

The number of applications is only expected to grow.

"I think they need to figure out more ways of getting it done," Barrows said.