As Medicaid Unwinding Draws Near, Legislators Should Invest in DFCS Staff to Help Keep Eligible Georgians from Losing Health Coverage

The Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) eligibility workers, some of whom process Medicaid cases and who continue to have high turnover, experienced a drop in their pay a few months before the unprecedented challenge of redetermining more than two million people’s Medicaid eligibility. Pay is a key factor in not just recruiting but also in retaining more staff, which would reduce workloads, strengthen morale and improve the accuracy of eligibility determinations made through DFCS. If the state does not boost pay to address the retention problem at the agency, the state will remain in a vicious cycle of hiring new employees while other staff quit. The instability at DFCS increases the likelihood that many Georgians may lose health coverage because of human error. When people unnecessarily lose Medicaid and then must re-apply for the program, it is detrimental to the state’s bottom line. This boom-and-bust cycle of enrollment increases state administrative costs and creates unpredictable Medicaid expenditures.[1] A failure by the state to invest in its workers also means lower quality customer service for families trying to access other economic supports.