COVID-19 has brought a lot of anxiety regarding long-term care facilities. However, we understand that even in a pandemic, there are seniors who need to be cared for in a nursing home.
With nursing home costs ranging from $9,000 to $12,000 a month, applying for medical assistance (i.e., Medicaid) is a practical reality for most nursing home residents.
But how has COVID-19 impacted how long it takes to process a Medicaid application? There are several factors to consider:
- The number of people applying for Medicaid
- The number of people processing the applications
- First, the staff at nursing homes. They fill out the health assessments that are needed as part of the applications.
- Second, the case workers at the Department of Health. They process the completed applications.
An increase in the number of Medicaid applicants and/or a shortage in the number of people processing the applications will increase the amount of processing time.
Before the pandemic, Medicaid applications, especially those with complications, were slow to be processed. This was due to the chronic shortage of case workers at the Department of Health.
At the Start of COVID-19
When the pandemic began, hospitals were keeping their patients longer instead of discharging them to nursing homes. This was because of the growing concern that nursing homes were not prepared to address the spread of COVID-19 amongst their residents.
The result was that, for a period of time, there were fewer transfers to nursing homes, which meant that fewer individuals were applying for Medicaid. Fewer applications resulted in quicker than normal response times for the granting of Medicaid applications. But this was at the beginning of COVID-19.
Currently During COVID-19
Hospitals are now discharging patients to nursing homes at a more regular pace. Therefore, the number of Medicaid applications is back to normal. Also, the processing speed of the case workers is back to normal.
However, the new bottleneck is with the nursing home staff. Due to staff shortage, it’s taking nursing homes longer than normal to provide the health assessments that are needed for the applications.
Local Elder Law Firm: How We Help During COVID-19
These are trying times for most people, but especially the residents and staff at our area nursing homes.
No one likes a delay in the Medicaid application process. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, then you are understandably already worried about the risks of COVID-19. If the process to apply for Medicaid is long and drawn-out, then that can create even more concern. The nursing home is also more anxious about getting paid during this period, and they may institute involuntary discharge proceedings.
A good elder law attorney understands the Medicaid application complexities (from both a nursing home point of view and a client point of view) and how this is going to impact clients. At the Law Office of Adam J. Roa, we help you understand why the Medicaid application process is slower than normal, and we help expedite that process, so your loved one can get the medical assistance they need.