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RI sending checks to child care providers tangled in UHIP mess

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PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island is making long overdue payments to child care providers who missed out on money when the state launched its troubled UHIP computer system, Target 12 has learned.

Alisha Pina, a spokesperson for the R.I. Department of Human Services (DHS) said the state is not able to provide Target 12 with the total dollar amount of what is owed but she said by October, reconciliation payments will have been made to about 75 providers.

Lori Colacone is waiting on more than $12,000. She and her team at Lori’s Little Lambs in Pawtucket care for dozens of children, many whose parents receive child care assistance from Rhode Island.

“The state will pay so much and the parents are responsible for the rest,” Colacone explained. “So the parent pays, but the state didn’t.”

Two years ago, Rhode Island launched its massive benefits eligibility system known as UHIP – the Unified Health Infrastructure Project.  The Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), which is administered through the R.I. Department of Human Services (DHS), is one of the benefits that became tangled in the computer system’s problems, which also impacted food stamps, Medicaid and long-term care.

“Children that we provided services for two years ago, I still have not received payment,” Colacone told Target 12.

In June of this year, Colacone received a letter from the state acknowledging that she’s owed $12,125.50.

“If I’m not balancing my budget correctly, things could go south very quickly,” Colacone said.

Target 12 reached out to DHS to find out where the money is. Pina said Colacone’s check will be issued at the end of September.

“Payments to our valued child care providers and families’ access to child care are high priorities for the state,” Pina said. “We will continue to work closely with our individual providers on their unique cases to ensure those priorities are being met.”

Statewide, there are about 850 child care providers who receive payments through CCAP.

Susan Campbell (scampbell@wpri.com) is the Call 12 for Action and Target 12 consumer investigator for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

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