COLUMBUS (AP) — A backlog in processing applications for Ohio Medicaid eligibility continues to delay health care for needy families and cause financial difficulties for care providers.

The Columbus Dispatch reported more than 88,000 Ohioans who’ve applied for Medicaid eligibility are waiting for their applications to be processed, with nearly two-thirds of the applications pending 45 days or longer.

Ohio’s tax-funded Medicaid program covers nearly 3 million poor and disabled residents. Caseworkers at county human services offices review Medicaid applications.

Joel Potts, executive director of the Ohio Job and Family Services Directors Association, said policy changes, a new online eligibility system and insufficient staffing contribute to the backlog. He says they want to clear up the delays.

Ohio Medicaid spokesman Tom Betti says that agency is working with counties to reduce processing time.

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