State to settle with nursing homes for $12 million

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Almost all South Carolina nursing homes in dispute with the state over Medicaid processing have agreed to a proposed settlement, according to local reports.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services had offered $12 million to 148 nursing homes, and 138 had accepted the money as of Friday, the State newspaper reported.

The nursing homes said they incurred substantial costs while caring for Medicaid residents, while those beneficiaries waited for their applications to be processed.

Medicaid covers costs for around 70% of South Carolina residents in nursing homes, and the department handled close to 10,000 Medicaid applications last year for residents.

The state said it has made a number of policy and procedure updates to improve processing times.

“New document management and eligibility systems have created processing delays in some cases,” Colleen Mullis, the department's deputy communications director, told the newspaper. “Most of the challenges have been technical in nature, but there has also been a need to provide additional training on the new technology.