Monday, April 12, 2010

Why is Hawaii not collecting all the Medicaid stimulus funds available to the state?

A three month survey of how efficiently states are claiming their Medicaid stimulus funds from the federal government shows that Hawaii has consistently been in the bottom five.

The statistics come from the federal government website  I have isolated the figures just for Medicaid out of the totals received from the federal Department of Health and Human Services.  The survey covers all fifty states and the District of Columbia.

In December 2009, Hawaii was third from the bottom, having claimed only eighty percent of the total funds available.  In February, Hawaii was second from the bottom, having claimed only 75% of the total.  In March 2010, Hawaii was fifth from the bottom, collecting 86% of the funds available.  However, the total amount of funds available did not change from February to March, 2010 for Hawaii.

The median percentage of funds claimed in March 2010 was 97%.  Ten states managed to collect 100% of the funds available, with another twelve collecting between 98% and 99%.

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I'm the mom of a child with disabilities. Hannah's first neurologist said she might never develop beyond the level of a 2 month old infant, and there wasn't anything I could do about it. The brain damage was just too severe. Nine years later, she walks, uses a touchscreen computer and I've just been shown she can learn to construct sentences and do simple math with the right piece of technology. Along the way, I discovered I needed to teach myself what Hannah's rights to services really were. Learning about early intervention services led to reading about IDEA and then to EPSDT. I've been waiting for the Obama administration to realize the power and potential of EPSDT for the medical rights - including the right to stay at home with their families - of children with disabilities. The health reform people talk about long term care, and the disability people talk about education and employment, but nobody is talking about EPSDT. So I am.