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Update on DSS call center

September 29th was the last time ABC 17 heard testimony from the Department of Social Services.

The update today consisted of how the call center is handling the influx of calls and the contractor, YoungWilliam’s.

YoungWilliam’s has hired more people and has implemented the bonus program.

Alyson Campbell with Social Services says there have been days in the past week calls were handled in six minutes.

DSS also says the number of e-mails from their customers have gone down in the past three weeks.

Social services also reported to the appropriations committee today that they have successfully entered one hundred and seventy thousand women and children in the new system.

Another number they threw out was that 11 thousand people signed up for Medicaid just this past September.

When DSS was asked when they would have all calls handled in under 6 minutes, which is what YoungWilliam’s is contracted for, Social Services said by December 1st of this year.

After the hearing ABC 17 spoke to the chair of the Appropriations committee, Rep. Sue Allen, and she said there is still no accountability at the Department of Social Services.

In reference to the story ABC 17 ran last week about a pregnant woman having difficulties getting Medicaid, Allen called it horrendous.

She also said if one person is having these problems then many people are.

“When is enough, enough? You know of these continued uh, mess ups… The system is not working,” said Sue Allen.

Brian Kinkade says in the past three weeks they have managed to get call times down at the call center within 6-10 minutes.

“Some of this is just a function of the better we get at handling those calls the first time. It reduces the number of repeat calls,” said Kinkade.

During the hearing a spokeswoman for DSS said they have accomplished getting thirty percent of people signed up for Medicaid.

Representative Allen said that percentage is still too low and still leaves 70 percent of people without help.

“There has to be a um a consequence of not adapting quickly enough or appropriately enough,” said Allen.

She also tells ABC 17 the Department of Social Services will be asking for well over “one hundred and fifty million dollars” in supplemental money for the year 2015, on top of the 8 billion dollars they are already getting for next year.

DSS urges anyone with any problems to call 573-751-8959.

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