Special concerns

The state should consider taking some additional time to consider the managed care needs of people with developmental disabilities.

April 4, 2012


It’s good to know that state legislators still are trying to address the concerns that families and advocates of developmentally disabled Kansans have about a new managed care system that is part of the governor’s plan to reform Medicaid.

These advocates have accepted the idea of putting medical services for the developmentally disabled under the proposed KanCare managed care system, but they don’t believe the plan can appropriately handle other long-term care needs of this population. Although other advocacy groups are worried about the speed with which the KanCare system is set to be implemented, the developmental disability community, including the local Cottonwood Inc., has special concerns about the impact the system will have on long-term, sometimes around-the-clock, care arrangements that have been carefully tailored to meet individual needs.

Other states that have tried to implement plans similar to the one envisioned for Kansas have experienced various problems, including delays in treatment and provider reimbursements. Although a bipartisan group of legislators has sought to slow the implementation of KanCare, state officials are moving ahead with plans to turn management of the state’s Medicaid program over to three managed care companies on Jan. 1, 2013.

To help address concerns about the shift, a bill has been introduced that would establish a legislative oversight committee for KanCare. Last week, Rep. Jim Ward, D-Wichita, also tried to amend that bill to add a provision that would remove people with developmental disabilities from KanCare and allow them to continue to be served by their current networks. Although both Republican and Democratic legislators spoke in favor of Ward’s amendment, the entire bill was referred back to committee last week before the Kansas House could vote on it.

However, some legislators see broad support for keeping people with developmental disabilities out of the KanCare plan and say they will pursue those efforts when the Legislature returns April 25.

Legislators are right to try to make sure the concerns of the developmental disability community are addressed. Even if the state moves ahead with its ambitious timetable for implementing KanCare, it may make sense to work out some of the kinks in the system before trying to apply it to this vulnerable population.


Paul R Getto 6 years ago

"Legislators are right to try to make sure the concerns of the developmental disability community are addressed. Even if the state moves ahead with its ambitious timetable for implementing KanCare, it may make sense to work out some of the kinks in the system before trying to apply it to this vulnerable population." === Good points, but we must remember the administration has only one objective: spend less money. If people get services, that's OK too, but it's not the primary driver of this discussion. Should get interesting as the veto session unwinds.

BigDog 6 years ago

It is about power and control .... the leaders of the opposition Maury Thompson and Tom Laing claim there are many unanswered questions which is a lie. Questions that develomental disability organizations have asked have been answered .... on many occasions.

If those opposed wanted a discussion of the KanCare program why did they not invite anyone to speak at their "public events" who supports KanCare ... whether it be from the administration or aging/disability organizations who have supported the change. Most physical disabilty, mental health and aging organization has supported the change.

Interhab and the community developmental disability organizations have been vocally opposed to any kind that changed their system and their control over the system. For these groups it's not about the people .... it is about control and power of the system.

jafs 6 years ago

My wife has worked with the dd population for over 20 years, and with Cottonwood for most of that time.

Your charge is simply untrue.

People who work there are concerned for the people they serve, and want to be able to do that well - part of that concern shows up as lobbying the government not to make the system worse.

What's the answer to the question of how this change will improve the system, and not make it worse, as has happened in states that have tried it (very few, by the way)?

What disability organizations have supported this change? I'm not aware of any.

BigDog 6 years ago


You are correct there are many great people working with the dd population who care deeply about the people. I worked in the field for 12 years myself.

I also know there are some of them that are leading the opposition ...that it is about preserving the system that has been questioned for years by legislators for its built in conflicts of interest. These lobbyist/advocacy types that are leading the charge are the same ones who have fought to change the conflicts of interest over the years.

Some leading the charge against the change are like some of lobbyists for schools, they claim it is about the children and the classroom teachers .... in the end they get rid of classroom teachers while preserving administrators and buying sport equipment

jafs 6 years ago

No answer to my question?

How will this change improve the system, rather than making it worse, as it has in the few other states it's been tried?

At least you've modified from "the groups" to "some" - a more likely possibility.

If you're referring to the possible conflict of interest with one group being both the CDDO and a service organization, I might agree with you - seems like that might not be the best idea.

But, according to my wife, when I suggested the CDDO should be a state function, she told me that the state doesn't want to spend the money on it, so they farm it out to the organizations.

If the change being suggested were that the state take over the CDDO function, I would probably support that change, as I think it makes more sense that way, but that's not the change being suggested/implemented.

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