WGN-TV: Lawsuit filed in Medicaid applications processing delay

By Tonya Francisco

A lawsuit was filed Wednesday to help people who can’t get medical care because there is a delay in processing Medicaid applications.

Health care advocates and attorneys claim Illinois is not only behind in processing thousands of Medicaid applications, it’s also failing to issue temporary medical cards.

The Legal Council for Health Justice is one of several law offices that have filed a motion in federal court to force the state to abide by a 1979 consent decree that requires the state to determine eligibility for Medicaid within 45 days or offer temporary medical assistance to people while they wait.

As a result, the office says seniors have not been able to get necessary medications, people are not getting lifesaving surgeries and newborns are not being added to their parents’ cases.

Department of Human Services officials have blamed the problem on a new computer system that went online in October.

WGN News reached out to the department of human services and the governor’s office for a response but we did not hear back.

State legislators have held hearings on the issue as they search for a solution.

CCH Editor’s Note: WGN erred when it reported that Ms. Gassenheimer’s client had her Medicaid application denied after 90 days. Medicaid failed to respond at all, so an appeal was filed.