Public input sought
State budget cuts have caused the shutdown of prisons, reduced school funding and taken resources away from those with disabilities. With revenues still falling, Gov. Mark Parkinson is likely to cut more out of the budget soon. We are inviting readers, particularly those with firsthand knowledge of state government operations, to suggest ways to save state funds or use them more efficiently. We will then investigate and report what we find. E-mail your suggestions to Statehouse reporter Scott Rothschild at email@example.com or srworldks @yahoo.com. He also can be reached at 785-354-4222 or 785-423-0668.
Topeka A program that was meant to provide dental care for low-income pregnant women in Kansas has never gotten off the ground because of a lack of funding to administer it, officials say.
Lawmakers had appropriated $500,000 to pay for the dental care, but have slashed administrative expenses at the Kansas Health Policy Authority to the extent that the agency hasn’t been able to implement the initiative, according to KHPA officials.
“We simply don’t have money to do it,” said KHPA Executive Director Andy Allison. The funding crisis at KHPA threatens existing benefits, he said.
Legislators who recently heard about the situation were unhappy. “I’m just real disappointed that we didn’t implement the program,” said state Rep. Brenda Landwehr, R-Wichita, who is chairwoman of the House Health and Human Service Committee.
Allison said the funding dilemma is similar to others at the agency.
In the recently completed legislative session, state officials faced with falling tax revenues cut most areas of the budget.
KHPA, which administers the state’s Medicaid and State Children’s Health Insurance Program, saw administrative cuts of 15 percent.
Federal stimulus funding has helped maintain some health care services. But both federal and state restrictions on funding have prevented KHPA from instituting savings initiatives or using savings from one area to shore up another area.
“We need service dollars and implementation dollars,” Allison said. Meanwhile, the $500,000 remains an “unspent appropriation,” according to the KHPA.