Huffpost Denver

Zumante Lucero, 9 Year Old Boy, Dies After State Makes Error Processing Medicaid Case

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Zumante Lucero, a 9 year-old Denver boy with asthma, died in July after a severe attack. His family had previously been on Medicaid, but was unexpectedly cut off from the program, and lost access to medication as a result. Zumante's doctors believe that access to a prescription that helped control inflaming in his lungs could have saved his life.

Since Zumante's death, it has become clear that the Lucero family should have had prescription drug benefits under Medicaid, and the State of Colorado erred in cutting them off of coverage.

According to Zuton Lucero, Zumante's mother, she called Denver Human Services every few days for months. Human Services responded by affirming that all of her children were in fact covered under Medicaid. However, when local pharmacists' computers did not register the family as having prescription drug coverage. This pattern continued until Zumante's death in July.

A group of lawyers is now considering suing the state for rampant flaws in its benefits management system. State officials have said that errors in a $243 million computer system installed in 2004 are to blame for mistakes like the one that led to Zumante Lucero's death.

The Colorado Benefits Management System's computer problems also account for rampant delays in processing food stamp cases. For fiscal year 2008, the most recent with available data, Colorado ranked 52nd in the country (behind Guam) in getting food stamps out on time.

Watch Zumante Lucero's Sister Tell Her Story Below: