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Critics continue to complain about new Medicaid claims portal in Oklahoma

Providers statewide report continued trouble filing claims, checking patient eligibility on enhanced Medicaid claims portal. Meanwhile, Oklahoma Health Care Authority chief Nico Gomez apologizes, accepts responsibility and pledges to resolve issues soon.
by Paula Burkes Published: January 31, 2014

At least one clinician claims Oklahoma's launch last week of an enhanced Internet portal for health services providers to file Medicaid reimbursement claims was as disastrous as the rollout of the new federally sponsored health insurance marketplace

Meanwhile, the chief executive of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority has issued a statement, apologizing and asking for providers' continued patience.

In the statement, authority Chief Executive Nico Gomez said he understands the frustration of those trying to use the new system.

“It should be working correctly for the benefit of our providers and it simply is not. It is my responsibility to make it work right. I apologize to our providers for their difficulties and ask for their continued patience,” Gomez said in the statement.

In an email to The Oklahoman this week, Cindy Majors, chief operating officer of Morning Star Mental Health Services in Henryetta, said, “I can't believe the state is doing the exact same thing the government did with Obamacare.”

“They have spent millions to convert to a better upgraded system, only to exclude small business and (launch) a failing website,” Majors said.

The authority paid HP Enterprise Services $1.3 million to update its portal, which is used by about 37,500 clinicians who provide medical services to some 803,000 needy Oklahomans.

Health Care Authority spokeswoman Jennie Melendez said enhancements, among other things, allow clinicians to search for specialty providers and avoid faxing claims. Before the recent changes, no significant enhancements had been implemented to the portal since 2003, she said.

A dental provider in Miami, OK, and clinicians in Antlers and Stillwater so far are less than impressed. An employee at the dental office spent two hours and 13 minutes on hold with the authority last Friday, when the enhanced site went live, before finally giving up, he said. Meanwhile, Patricia Corn, of Edwin Fair Community Mental Health Center in Stillwater, said she unsuccessfully tried more than 30 times Monday to connect.

The Antlers provider, who asked not to be named, said he also hasn't been able to use the site for its regular services, including checking client eligibility, submitting claims, submitting billing and downloading remit files.

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by Paula Burkes
A 1981 journalism graduate of Oklahoma State University, Paula Burkes has more than 30 years experience writing and editing award-winning material for newspapers and healthcare, educational and telecommunications institutions in Tulsa, Oklahoma...
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