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Idaho Medicaid biller to fix glitches

LEWISTON – Idaho Department of Health and Welfare officials say the state’s new contractor for Medicaid billing has agreed to fix glitches that have left Idaho providers unpaid, but they haven’t set a deadline for the work.

Molina Healthcare took over Idaho’s Medicaid payment system on July 1 and has had trouble paying providers on time, leaving some health care providers short thousands of dollars in payments and in danger of closing their doors.

Health and Welfare officials met with Molina executives on Friday to try to hammer out a solution, and the company agreed to add about 40 workers and upgrade their facility, according to the Lewiston Tribune.

The new workers are to include customer service specialists and computer technicians who can make sure the new software is set up correctly. Providers around the state have said the company doesn’t have enough people to answer their questions and fix the problems.

The state said it is making an interim payment of about $55 million to providers to help those businesses meet their cash flow needs in the meantime.

“It was a very open and candid meeting,” said Health and Welfare Director Richard Armstrong. “They admitted they had an understaffed, undertrained operations area here. They’re going to immediately add skilled people and then begin the process of upgrading the facility. I was encouraged.”

The state identified 18 items that Molina needs to address, Armstrong said. Each item has a proposed timeline, and the state has asked Molina to review the list and see if the timelines are achievable. The company is expected to report back to Idaho on Thursday.

Armstrong said that in retrospect, he wishes the state had invested more money in a live pilot trial.