JENNINGS, LA (KPLC) - On Friday, June 29th, the Medicaid office in Jennings will close permanently after the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals has decided to consolidate offices around the state.
"This is my last option" said Jennings resident, Michelle Savoie. "I've been running back and forth between charity hospitals, Moss Regional and UMC in Lafayette and I came here to see if I could get some assistance with Medicaid or maybe disability" she said.
Currently, the state leases office space to house their Medicaid offices but to save money, their switching to an online system.
"After Katrina, we moved all of our records stuff so that it's all electronic so that's enabled Medicaid to reduce our administrating costs while preserving people the ability to apply for Medicaid" said Jerry Phillips of the Department of Health and Hospitals. "This is to deal with continued consolidation of Medicaid offices that we've done over the last four years" he added.
While Phillips says the closure won't effect client services, Jennings residents believe there is still a great need in the area.
"You're going to have a lot of ones that need help and are not familiar with the computerized system or even have to go out of town to get some help" said Theresa Shelvin of Jennings.
For those residents unable to travel to farther office locations, there may be a solution- with the help of the Jeff Davis Police Jury.
If an agreement is reached with the police jury, two Medicaid employees will be able to work out of the Jennings Health Unit, keeping Medicaid assistance in the area for those who need it.
"If we don't have a presence in the Parish, some of our people are sick or elderly or don't have the funds available to travel to Lake Charles or Lafayette to speak to a Medicaid representative and it would put a hindrance on those people" said Medicaid area manager, Madeline Crader.
At the time of print, the Jeff Davis Police Jury had no comment on the future of the possible office space for Medicaid employees.