County Department of Social Services have until the end of this month to clear their backlog of Medicaid applications.

In Forsyth County, there are still around 1500 cases, and the agency says it's likely they will not meet the state's deadline. Nigel Alston, the interim director for Forsyth County DSS,  says his staff is working long hours to process the overdue cases. “We are doing around and average of 150 cases a day with 15 employees who are dedicated to getting that done on a daily basis. We estimate by mid-September we should be at zero.”

The processing time for all Medicaid eligibility categories is 45 days with the exception of Medicaid for disabled applications, which is 90 days. 

Alston says counties won't be punished if they don't meet this month's deadline. He says most of Forsyth County's backlog came from the Affordable Care Act.  Enrollment in the federal market place began in October, however the federal government didn't release the applications to the state until January.  According to Alston, software implementation and training for the new NC Fast system is also impacting the process.

His department will soon prepare for the next wave of cases. That's because counties will begin receiving applications from the marketplace again in October when the open enrollment period begins.

“As we are winding down for this batch of applications, we are gearing up for the next round, which will include hiring some temporary workers to help us because this will be a year-long effort.  We will have approximately 49,000 Medicaid applications that will come through that will need to be re-certified. It's a sustained effort and we will need more time to convert those applications,” says Alston.

In Guilford County, as of late Thursday the number of overdue Medicaid applications is around 700. DSS officials believe the county will be able to meet the state's August 31st deadline.

Follow Keri Brown on Twitter @kerib_news

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