Topeka State health officials Friday approved budget cuts that they said will result in layoffs, delays in receiving Medicaid coverage and jeopardize tens of millions of dollars in federal funds.
“They all strike me as painful,” Kansas Health Policy Authority Chairman Joe Tilghman said as he reviewed proposed ways to meet Gov. Mark Parkinson’s budget cuts.
In an effort to balance the state budget, Parkinson last month approved nearly $260 million in cuts and transfers.
Parkinson’s plan called for a 10 percent rate cut to doctors and other providers of Medicaid services. Approximately 315,000 Kansans receive medical care, mental health care and long-term care under Medicaid.
KHPA also had to cut its administrative costs.
On Friday, the KHPA board approved that package of cuts worth about $1.1 million in state funds.
In addition to the 10 percent rate cut, KHPA officials voted to eliminate all customer service for Medicaid providers and reduce customer service for Medicaid beneficiaries.
“The resources we are losing handle about 1,500 calls a day with detailed questions about eligibility, insurance benefits, pending medical claims, and Medicaid’s myriad rules,” said Andrew Allison, executive director of KHPA.
Allison said he hoped the 25,000 Medicaid providers in the state will stay on board and not give up.
The cuts also affect the clearinghouse dedicated to reducing a backlog of approximately 15,000 Medicaid applications.
KHPA officials said the backlog of Medicaid applications could increase to 20,000 to 30,000 people. If the state is not timely processing Medicaid applications, it could lose some federal funding, KHPA officials said. And reductions in staff will result in more mistakes being made in determining who is eligible to Medicaid, they said.
KHPA said its administrative reductions will force its private contractors to lay off employees.