Missouri has a backlog of about 22,000 parents and children waiting to learn whether they will be covered by Medicaid.
The backlog has developed after the Missouri Department of Social Services transitioned in January to a new computer system for some Medicaid participants.
Acting Department Director Brian Kinkade said Tuesday the new system will eventually be more efficient. He said he's "very sensitive" to the needs of families seeking Medicaid coverage.
The backlog is on top of the thousands of Medicaid applications that typically are pending each month. But the delay is affecting only parents and children because the agency hasn't shifted disabled and senior applicants to the new computer system yet.
Kinkade said the delay was exacerbated because the computer changeover came as the agency also was reorganizing its offices.