Pregnant women go untreated waiting to see if they qualify for M -

Pregnant women go untreated waiting to see if they qualify for Medicaid in Mo.

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( -- Out of the 13,000 Missouri applicants waiting to see if they qualify for Medicaid, there is a group of pregnant woman going without treatment while their paperwork awaits state approval.

"Cases that used to take 15 to 30 days to process now take months," said Joel Ferber, who works with low income clients at Legal Services of Eastern Missouri.

Delays in the Missouri Medicaid system became problematic when a department reorganization, introduction of a new computer system, and staff cuts all took place at the same time.

"For some of them it means they cannot get health care," said Ferber of those awaiting approval. "We have had pregnant women, for example, who have gone without prenatal care."

A member of the Missouri Primary Care situation called the situation "an absolute disaster" six months ago, but also said it is improving each month and there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Just last week, Ferber said the processing of applications involving pregnant woman improved. It is unknown as to whether the system has been fixed or if those applications were expedited after the department became aware of that specific problem.

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