It is good that the Kansas Department of Health and Environment is increasing advance payments to nursing homes, but what it really needs to do is process Medicaid applications in a timely manner. Many nursing homes have been struggling financially because KDHE has been so slow in approving the Medicaid applications of their residents. Federal rules require states to process Medicaid applications within 45 days. But KDHE had 11,000 applications exceeding that deadline as of last June. KDHE significantly reduced that backlog, but it has been growing again lately. While it continues to address that problem, KDHE is increasing the advance payments nursing homes can receive for residents whose Medicaid applications or renewals are likely to be approved but are caught up in the system. That’s a Band-Aid on the bigger problem, but it will help. – Phillip Brownlee
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