News : Missourians Unable to Access a Human
Sept 26, 2014 -- Representative Sue Allen of Town and Country is the chair of the Appropriations committee. She said she keeps getting calls from Missourians about how they cannot get through to a human at DSS.
People who use Missouri's Medicaid program have been telling ABC 17 the same thing.
Allen said she wants answers and those answers may be coming at the hearing on Monday morning.
Allen said the call center has been a problem for not just months, but years.
"We've discussed this, we've asked Social Services about this before, but it continues to be a problem and I can't see it getting any better. I want to know what they are doing," said Allen.
She said the backlog of the call center has gotten worse since the end of session in May. She said DSS phone representatives don't know what to tell people, have no answers and end up re-directing them.
After they are redirected, however, people don't hear back from DSS.
Allen said the Governor and DSS initiated this about three years ago thinking it would make government more effective.
"Well, it obviously has had many failures and it's, you know, hasn't been done right.
DSS has asked for more money, and it already gets more than eight billion dollars from the state.
That's more money than any other government agency in the state, .33 cents to every state tax dollar.
Allen said, "Social Services has publicly admitted they don't function with outcome they function with output. There's no accountability."
DSS did acknowledge problems with its call service. A department spokeswoman today blamed the company currently holding the contract with DSS, YoungWilliam and YoungWilliam.
DSS says a representative should respond within 6 minutes of the call.
The spokesman said the department's focus now is getting YoungWilliam to meet the terms of the contract.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Monday, September 29, 2014