The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services on Monday delayed the shift to managed Medicaid for long-term services and supports in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

The new system, which requires elderly beneficiaries and younger individuals with disabilities to sign up with Medicaid managed-care companies, will start in the Philadelphia region in January 2019, instead of July 2018, "to allow for the deliberate and purposeful implementation" of the program, known as Community Health Choices, in the most populous region of the state.

The start date in 14 southwestern Pennsylvania counties is Jan. 1. The department said it is confident that that region is ready for the change, but "we need to have the flexibility of learning from that rollout with proper time to make any needed adjustments."

In the Pittsburgh region, 21,500 of about 80,000 expected participants have chosen among units of Centene Corp., AmeriHealth Caritas, and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center for care coordination services. In all, 420,000 Pennsylvanians are being asked to move into the new program. That included 106,420 in Southeastern Pennsylvania.