Officials with the Department of Health today announced they have developed a process where Medicaid caseworkers will have direct access to the Vital Records Registry system to verify citizenship for Medicaid applicants and enrollees.

Since receiving specific guidance from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for the change in mid June, LDH has worked to make the process as easy as possible for citizens who do not have the required documents in their possession as a result of the hurricanes or any other reason.

“We didn’t want the new law to create a burden on people who depend on Louisiana Medicaid for their health coverage,” said LDH Secretary Dr. Fred Cerise.  “We’ve been looking for ways to make this process as flexible as possible, and we’re happy that we have found a way to use this data source to help those who need to meet these requirements.”

Upon request, Medicaid eligibility workers will be able to access the Vital Records database, maintained by the LDH Office of Public Health, to confirm that the enrollee or applicant indeed has a valid Louisiana birth certificate.  Persons without a U.S. Passport or original Louisiana birth certificate should call their local Medicaid office, not Vital Records, to use the process.

“We are working closely with the Medicaid program to make sure that people in need can be served in a timely manner if they do not have a birth certificate in their possession,” said OPH Assistant Secretary Sharon Howard.

This process will spare many Louisiana residents from having to pay $15 to purchase a new original birth certificate.  Individuals born outside of Louisiana will not be able to take advantage of this service.  Also, requests for some older birth certificate information may not be available with this service, as the system has birth records for only a limited number of citizens.

“People impacted by this new requirement need to call our office if they are having difficulty getting the needed documentation, and we’ll do what we can to help them through this process,” said Medicaid Deputy Director Ruth Kennedy. “More than 850 Medicaid eligibility caseworkers and managers have all been trained and are ready to help people get the documents they will need.”

For more information on the Louisiana Medicaid Program, including a list of local offices across the state, visit our website at  Persons with questions about the program can contact their local office or our toll-free General Medicaid Hotline at 1-888-342-6207.