There is about a 40% increase in applications since last November in Medicaid. We found out in Roanoke County in 2007, there were 6,835 monthly cases under care and in 2012 there were about 9,880.
The Department of Social Services, Joyce Earl, mentioned that a reason in the rise could be due to the Affordable Care Act.
Under requests for additional funding from the county, the department asked for one family services specialist, two benefit program specialists, one senior benefit programs specialist, one benefit programs supervisor, and one assistant director of benefits. The total cost for all the positions are about $315,000. However they aren’t approved in the county’s budget.
Involving Medicaid applications, employees have to respond and look at them within 45 days. With the number of work up, employees are doing more work.
“We work Saturdays sometimes, they work overtime, they work late, but I believe we’re able to do it because they care about what they do,” says Earl.
Even though they haven’t received additional funding from the county, they do get funding from the state and the city of Salem.
So far recently they’ve been able to hire one employee using state funds.