Good Samaritan sues Kansas over Medicaid application backlog

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The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society has filed a lawsuit against one of Kansas' top health officials, claiming the state's Medicaid application backlog has put some of its residents in jeopardy.

Kansas' Medicaid backlog, which peaked at nearly 10,000 applications during summer, left many state nursing home operators uncompensated as residents' applications were delayed.

Some facilities were able to request half-payments for residents' whose applications were delayed past the required 45 days under a program announced by the state earlier this year. But that proposal prioritized payments to smaller facilities, instead of larger, chain-operated ones.

Good Samaritan's lawsuit, filed Thursday in federal court on behalf of 21 residents, claims the backlog put the residents at risk of being removed from their facilities since they didn't have the Medicaid funds to pay for room, board and care. The suit targets Michael Randol, director for the Division of Health Care Finance for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Some residents whose applications were delayed were admitted to Good Samaritan facilities as early as 2013. Since then, individual residents have racked up balances on their accounts in excess of $84,000, the Associated Press reported.

Sioux Falls, SD-based Good Samaritan operates 32 facilities in Kansas, and a total of 166 facilities across the country.