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Equipment Fix Delays Plague New York Medicaid Participants

Many New York seniors who need long-term care are enrolled in the state’s Medicaid program. In many cases the payments are made for care in skilled nursing facilities–traditional nursing homes. However, Medicaid also helps with various other types of care, including some at-home services and medical equipment.

In general, the New York Medicaid program is one of the most expansive in the country, offering a wide range of care options that are not available to those needing assistance in other states. However, that is not to say that the service is without problems. In fact, many have offered sharp critiques of some current practices which may harm those using the program, including many New York seniors.

No Quick Fix
According to a recent story in the New York Daily News, many Medicaid participants and their family members are particularly concerned about the slowness in getting medical equipment repairs. Many people depend on wheelchairs, walkers, and other devices to survive every day. Medicaid will generally cover most necessary equipment. However, if that equipment breaks down, getting repairs or a replacement may not be easy.

One mother shared how her son with disabilities had to wait six weeks before getting his motorized wheelchair was fixed. Considering he spends sixteen hours a day in the chair and basically cannot perform his daily tasks with a broken machine, the delays put his life in a standstill. The young man’s mother explained that endless paperwork, delays, and misleading instructions all led to the delay. Another man interviewed for the story said it took a month to get his own wheelchair fixed.

Sadly, these cases are not outliers. The CEO for an advocacy group for disabled individuals explained that the problem occurs far too often. He noted, “It’s terrible. People are suffering and the ones who are suffering most are the enfeebled. If somebody’s wheelchair is broken, they are housebound. They can’t go anywhere.”

New York Medicaid officials did not comment on the story except to explain that they would look into the concerns. It is unclear what exactly the main reasons for the equipment delays are, but a confusing bureaucratic process is likely part of the trouble. Unfortunately, there remains significant complexity to many aspects of the Medicaid system. That includes figuring out what is necessary to even qualify for Medicaid. Our elder law estate planning attorneys work with local resident on these issues. Consider contacting our office for help navigating these administrative waters.

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