Local nursing homes latest to be impacted by UHIP issues

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Local nursing homes and long-term care facilities are the latest to come forward and point out a flaw in the state’s botched UHIP system.

Target 12 spoke with administrators at two facilities. Both claim they are owed more than $1 million from the state for patients with pending Medicaid applications.

Since the state launched the system, 6,757 Medicaid applications have been approved or denied; 6,508 applications are pending.

It is unknown how many of these pending applications are related to long-term care facilities.

Liz Darosa, administrator at the West Shore Health Center, said her facility is owed about $1.3 million because 21% of her patients are Medicaid pending.

“That’s what keeps me up at night, thinking, when it is going to come to the point when you have to decide who to pay to keep your facility running?” said Darosa.

Kelly Arnold from the Riverview Healthcare Community said she was going through a similar struggle as she awaits about a million dollars from the state.

“We continue to provide the care without getting paid. There’s not many industries in this country or in this world that I can think of that continue to provide services to people without getting paid. I mean, it’s really getting very frustrating,” she said.

Health and Human Services Secretary Elizabeth Roberts told Target 12 that things are improving with the Medicaid payments. “Nursing homes had been caring for people with no payment are now receiving payment,” she stated.

Both Darosa and Arnold agree that while the old system was bad, UHIP was worse.

The integrated-benefits computer system first launched on September 12, a date that was deemed premature by the federal government.

Since then, the Rhode Islanders had been forced to deal with long lines at DHS field offices, long wait times on the phone, delayed SSI payments, trouble enrolling for HealthSource RI, and backed up payments to nursery schools.