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Contact Denver7 helps WWII Veteran cut through red tape to finally get Medicaid benefits

Daughter tried to get him approved for a year
Posted at 9:17 PM, Oct 06, 2020

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- At 91-years-old, Edward Burch has a lifetime of memories from a life of hard work and family.

"I joined the Army when I had just turned 17," said Burch, who served in World War II. "I married my high school sweetheart."

The former law enforcement officer, business owner and engineer now lives in a long-term care facility in Englewood.

"This is home," he said. "This is where I want to stay."

But long-term care is expensive, so after all his assets were spent last year, his daughter, who has power of attorney, applied for long-term care benefits from Medicaid.

"Because his checking account was down to $900, and I knew he qualified for it," said Marina Roy. "Because he gets some income from Social Security and the VA, we had to open an income trust so whatever money is left will go to the state when he dies."

So, Roy began the process in June of 2019, submitting documentation of the income trust in July. She received initial approval, but then ran into one obstacle after the next.

The Arapahoe County Department of Human Services could not find pages she was certain she had submitted. She had to re-apply when too much time passed. She received denials for reasons she knew were incorrect.

"I jumped through more hoops than I can count," said Roy, who said everything stalled, except the bills.

"This is a letter from Caley Ridge saying that I owe them $18,000," said Roy, who showed letters from her father's care facility threatening to send her to collections and evict her father, after more than a year of waiting for Medicaid approval. "My husband said contact Channel 7. They have a great team of investigative reporters. Maybe they can get something moving."

So we reached out to Arapahoe County Human Services Department, which released this statement:

"Medicaid applications are normally processed within 45 days, but these can be complex cases and processes that have multiple required documents. We always try to work with all the relevant stakeholders, including the applicants and other agencies, to complete all applications as quickly as possible."

But the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, which supervises the state's Medicaid program, released more information about the case.

"The Department of Health Care policy and Financing works closely with our county partners to proactively identify ways to improve services for the betterment of our members and are pleased to have resolved this matter. We thank Jaclyn and Channel 7 for bringing this to our attention" -- Marc Williams, Spokesman

"All of a sudden supervisors were looking at his account, and I got a call in less than 24 hours after calling you," said Roy.

She has now received an approval letter for Medicaid coverage for her father, with the payments to be backdated to September of 2019.

"God bless you guys for doing this," said Roy. "Thank you from the bottom of my heart. My family thanks you that this got fixed, and that he can live out the rest of his life secure and getting the medical attention he needs."

Meanwhile, Burch learned about what happened after it was resolved, and is just glad he gets to stay in his home.

"It's a relief," he said. "It's a shame it came to this."