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Senators call for answers on DCFS insurance switch

morrison 020420State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) and State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) led a conversation Tuesday about the oversight of Medicaid managed care and the transition of DCFS children into the program.

“The state is responsible for these children and must make sure they have access to health care,” Morrison said. “I wouldn’t want my own child to be enrolled in this poorly managed program.”

The hearing comes just days after nearly 19,000 adopted children and former foster children transitioned to Medicaid managed care. Of those 19,000 people, at least 2,500 were affected by a glitch that has left them without insurance since Saturday.

A representative from the Cook County Public Guardian’s office said during the committee hearing that the office was flooded with calls about the broken system over the weekend. Complaints ranged from a 14-year old girl who needed seizure medication and the pharmacy would not supply it, to children who were sick and couldn’t find a doctor who would take their insurance card.

More than 17,000 current foster children are set to transition to the same program April 1, and advocates are worried it still won’t be running smoothly by then.

“Why would anyone think this program was adequate for kids formerly in care but not kids currently in the system?” Morrison asked. “It’s a double standard, and we shouldn’t force this vulnerable population to enter this dysfunctional program.”

Members of the Senate called on the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to focus on fixing the program before the second round of roll outs.