LITTLE ROCK — The state Department of Human Services’ efforts to improve the integrity of the Medicaid rolls resulted in 17,878 people being removed from the rolls at the end of May, DHS Director Cindy Gillespie said Thursday.


In a letter to Gov. Asa Hutchinson that was released to the news media, Gillespie said efforts the agency launched this year to clean up the state Medicaid rolls included use of the Public Assistance Reporting Information System, a service to which the agency subscribes, to determine whether Arkansas Medicaid recipients are receiving public assistance in other states.


Checks through PARIS on 700,000 people enrolled in Arkansas’ traditional Medicaid or Medicaid expansion programs found that 26,696 appeared to be receiving public benefits in other states, according to Gillespie. She said DHS mailed letters to those beneficiaries explaining the situation and asking for proof of residence, and 1,986 traditional Medicaid beneficiaries and 8,156 Medicaid expansion beneficiaries either did not respond or no longer live in Arkansas.


DHS removed those people from the state’s Medicaid rolls at the end of May, Gillespie said.


PARIS has found another 12,291 matches between Arkansas Medicaid beneficiaries and beneficiaries of public assistance in other states this month, and those people also will be removed from the state Medicaid rolls if they do not respond or no longer live in Arkansas, she said.


“We will continue to do PARIS matching on a quarterly basis, though we suspect the number of case closures will be smaller,” she said in the letter.


Gillespie also said DHS removed 7,736 people from the Medicaid expansion program, Arkansas Works, at the end of May after mail the agency sent to the addresses it had on file for those people was returned because the people had moved. Public assistance beneficiaries in Arkansas are required to provide DHS with updated addresses within 10 days of an address change.


Gillespie also reported that 264,613 people were enrolled in Arkansas Works in May. The program provides government-subsidized private health insurance to people earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, although Hutchinson is seeking federal approval to lower the maximum income level to 100 percent of the federal poverty level.


Another 23,169 people who qualified for Medicaid expansion coverage were enrolled in traditional Medicaid in May because they were deemed medically frail, and 28,821 were eligible but did not have a payment in May, possibly because they had interim status. That brings the state’s total Medicaid expansion population to 316,603 in May.


DHS referred 34,874 Arkansas Works recipients to voluntary employment and training services offered by the Department of Workforce Services in May. Of those, 4,377 chose to access the services.


DWS reported that 4,812 people obtained employment in May following a referral to that agency.


Hutchinson is seeking federal approval to add a work requirement to Arkansas Works.