AUGUSTA – The director of a small substance-abuse treatment facility in South Paris said Friday that the state switched to a new computerized Medicaid billing system before it was ready, raising concerns among providers that there could be problems in getting paid.

On Sept. 1, the Department of Health and Human Services replaced a 5-year-old system that failed just weeks after it was launched. Hundreds of providers went weeks without being reimbursed by the state for Medicaid costs.

The state hired Molina Healthcare to run the new system.

Catherine Bell, director of Crooked River Counseling, said those who work in the behavioral health field are having trouble submitting claims.

“This is a Molina issue,” she said. “The system is not ready to go for behavioral health.”

Lucky Hollander, spokeswoman for DHHS, said there have been no delayed payments. The first payments are ready to go in the mail Monday, and there have not been widespread complaints from providers.

“We haven’t identified any major issues,” Hollander said. “If (Bell) is having problems, we’ll work with her.”

There are 3,800 providers in the state that rely on the system for payments, including physicians, dentists, nursing homes, hospitals and behavioral health specialists.

DHHS will update lawmakers on how the system is performing on Thursday when the Appropriations Committee meets again, Hollander said.

“We’ll know better when we have a couple of weeks under our belts,” she said.


MaineToday Media State House Writer Susan Cover can be contacted at 620-7015 or at: [email protected]