News : Lancaster Staffers Will Keep Helping State Healthy PA Calls
Lancaster, PA, Feb 16, 2015 -- Lancaster’s County Assistance Office was one of two in the state tapped to help handle calls for the Healthy PA program, and that arrangement is remaining in place for now, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services.
Department spokeswoman Kait Gillis said the Lancaster and Lackawanna offices were chosen because they had the technical requirements to support a call center. Sixty of Lancaster’s 176 staffers are affected, she said in an email.
Since early December when Healthy PA enrollment began, she said, temporarily reassigned staffers have been working from the same locations but taking different calls, working with the department’s statewide customer service center to answer questions and help callers with health care benefit changes associated with the implementation of Healthy PA.
Gov. Tom Wolf on Feb. 9 announced plans to replace Healthy PA, a version of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act that has three benefit plans. Wolf’s plan to move everyone into a single Medicaid plan is pending federal approval and does not immediately affect coverage.
Following Wolf’s announcement, Gillis said the department anticipates contiued high volume at the statewide call center.
"The call volume will continue to be monitored and a decision will be made that will continue to provide the best customer service to PA citizens," Gillis said.
County assistance offices help residents apply for benefits including food stamps, Medicaid and home heating assistance.
Gary L. Grube, executive director of the Lancaster office, referred all questions to Gillis, citing department protocol.
The reassigned staffer’s normal cases have been assigned to other CAOs and processing centers and "given the same priority statewide as they would receive in Lancaster County," Gillis said.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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