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Medicaid Rollout Glitches in Alaska Hurt Providers

Published On: Dec 19 2013 07:51:31 PM AKST

Switching to a new system for processing Medicaid claims and has caused the state to run into major issues, resulting in delays for hundreds of thousands of dollars in payment to medical providers. 


A $146 million healthcare computer system in Alaska is plagued by glitches, and medical providers say they're taking the financial hit.

The enterprise system, operated by Xerox, is currently processing about 100,000 Medicaid claims a week. State Health Care Services Director Margaret Brodie says before this new system, about 189,000 claims were processed weekly. 

"We are processing more claims and paying more claims each week," said Brodie. "We do have some known areas. Where we need some help in one of them is Dental , and another is with DME providers." 

DME providers sell durable medical equipment like wheelchairs and catheters, Brodie said. 

She says Xerox has assembled a team in Texas to work on the issues with dental claims. She says other claim issues are also being addressed.  

In the meantime, if a provider contacts the Division of Health and Social Services office with claim issues, the state can cut a check outside of the enterprise system. 

For some providers, not being paid in full and on time is creating headaches. Channel 2 spokes with six different dental offices that accept Medicaid. All of them say the new system has affected them. None were willing to go on camera.

Some of the dental offices did provide a cost amount for how much they are owed by the state for Medicaid claims. One midtown office said $20,000, a South Anchorage office said $83,000, and another provider with three locations in Anchorage said it's owed $700,000. 

Anchorage Neighborhood Health Center Finance Director Katie Blank says she knew rolling out a new claims system would result in issues. She said her office planned ahead.

"Inevitably, when you have large system conversion, you're going to have issues and problems," said Blank.  "We planned accordingly, and made sure we had enough cash to continue operations without any interruptions."

The state says in the next few weeks the enterprise system should see major improvements with processing claims. Brodie says the enterprise system was brought in because the previous system was 25 years old and couldn't handle changes in medicaid. 

"Once we get these big rocks out of the way, I think it's going to be one of the best, most sophisticated claims process systems the state's ever seen," said Brodie.