In early 2014, the Ohio Department of Medicaid worked with the counties to convert all the active Medicaid cases in the state to a new eligibility system called Ohio Benefits Worker Portal. With this conversion came a lot of new ways of doing business and a lot of changes for the counties. Specifically, the eligibility process for Medicaid was separated from the other two main Public Assistance programs for SNAP (Food Stamps) and TANF (Cash Assistance). This new process required counties to touch cases twice for the same consumer and counties quickly fell behind in processing Medicaid renewals. As long as the consumer made contact with the agency, the Medicaid did not close and remained open but often there were delays.
Our goal in Hamilton County has been to process Medicaid renewals in the order received, but no later than 30 days from the date the consumer made contact. As with every metro county, we struggled to remain timely. In 2018, all eligibility technicians in FAA 3 were trained to process all three public assistance programs and soon began processing all programs for each consumer when they were due for review. Per Section Chief Kevin Brewer, “this has made all the difference. We are doing a better job of aligning the SNAP and TANF recertification and Medicaid renewal dates so each consumer only has to do one interview. We are not completely there, but moving in the right direction.”
In October 2018, FAA 3 had a significant backlog. Brewer challenged his staff that when the backlog was within 30 days, he would serve them coffee and a light breakfast at their desk.” This last Friday, the FAA 3 section reached their goal and had reduced their backlog to less than 30 days. Following through on his promise, on Monday morning, Brewer loaded up a cart and served Starbucks coffee, orange juice, homemade muffins and fruit parfaits to approximately 72 employees at their desk. Brewer states, “I have a really great team of eligibility technicians and team leaders in my section and proud of their hard work. They have really worked hard to reach this goal.”