At least three local elected officials are working with the state on an additional glitch with Medicaid that has left providers unpaid for weeks—or months—at a time.

“This is impacting so many families statewide,” said King George County Supervisor Ruby Brabo. She’s working with Stafford County Supervisor Meg Bohmke, state Sen. Richard Stuart, R-Stafford, and the National Association of Counties on the matter.

Brabo and Stuart got involved when Lisa Pitts of King George County went two months without a paycheck. She’s the personal care attendant for her son, Hunter Pitts, a 26-year-old who suffered a brain injury eight years ago.

Lisa Pitts said she filed necessary paperwork, but didn’t get paid in January or February. She went through several layers of bureaucracy with the managed care organization that oversees her son’s care.

If her case manager told her the necessary papers had been filed, the health care agency would say it never received them.

“So I’m caught in the middle, going back and forth, with both of them screaming at me,” she said. “Then it becomes, ‘We got 400 faxes in one day, and we don’t know whose came and whose didn’t.’

“I don’t give a crap whose fault it is, just fix it. I need to get paid.”

Her family won’t go in the poorhouse without the income as her husband, Al, works at the Navy base in Dahlgren. But when their son got hurt, Lisa Pitts quit her job as a teacher so she could take care of him, and the money she receives through his Medicaid waiver helps pay for his therapies.

The disAbility Resource Center of Fredericksburg has helped a lot of clients with similar payment problems, said Jennifer Ryan, service facilitator.

“One attendant did not get paid for five weeks,” she said. “I couldn’t go without my check for five weeks.”

Lucy Beadnell, advocacy director for The Arc of Northern Virginia, also has dealt with “lots of people whose care hours went unpaid” for long periods. Even worse than the delay is the fact no one’s accountable, she said.

“There’s no repercussions for that, no one responsible when these care attendants making $20,000 can’t pay their mortgages,” Beadnell said.

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Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425 cdyson@freelancestar.com

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