- Associated Press - Monday, December 21, 2015

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A recent legislative audit has found that a new computer system designed to make it easier for Kansas residents to apply for Medicaid and other social services is more than two years past due and at least $46 million over budget.

The Legislative Post Audit says the Kansas Eligibility Enforcement System won’t perform as originally intended when it goes fully online, or produce the projected savings in operational costs.

The Lawrence Journal-World (https://bit.ly/1NHxqK2 ) reports the system was designed to allow people to fill out a single application that would be used to determine eligibility for Medicaid, food stamps, cash assistance and other social services.

State Sen. Laura Kelly says that that the system is so far behind that she’s afraid it may be obsolete by the time it’s fully functional.

“Initially it was supposed to be a one-stop shop,” Kelly said. “The fact that they have disconnected those things is disconcerting. Maybe there are some technological reasons for it. But from the outside, it just looks like a way to make it more difficult for people to access benefits they are entitled to.”

The system was originally supposed to cost an estimated $138 million to build and $50 million to maintain for five years.

Auditors say the project ran into several issues, including complex coordination between federal and state agencies and issues stemming from changes in state and federal regulations on eligibility.

The Kansas Department of Health told auditors that the system’s software also had to be modified to account for state policy changes, some of which resulted from Gov. Sam Brownback’s executive order moving eligibility screening functions for Medicaid and other social services from the Department for Children and Families to the health department

The system was scheduled to be fully online by May 2014. As of November, only the Medicaid eligibility system and some case maintenance activities have gone live.

Officials do not expect the system to be fully online until the middle of 2016.


Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, https://www.ljworld.com

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