It’s good news that an agreement apparently has been reached to delay coverage of Kansans with developmental disabilities under KanCare, the state’s new managed care plan. Perhaps the delay will give members of the Brownback administration time to truly consider and take actions to address the concerns of the families and care providers of this fragile population.
KanCare is scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1. Some legislators reportedly would like to delay implementation of the plan until July 1, 2013, but state officials continue to push ahead on the plan they say is needed to control Medicaid costs in the state.
Many Kansans are concerned about the rapid implementation schedule. It’s understandable they have questions about a plan that state officials claim will save the state $850 million in the next five years without reducing eligibility or cutting services.
No group, however, has been as concerned as the family members and service providers for Kansans with developmental disabilities. Although they can see that the new managed care system might adequately handle the health care needs of the developmentally disabled, they don’t see how it can be applied to their many other long-term care needs. Families and caregivers have worked hard to put together the right supervised living situations for their clients and loved ones and are concerned that a managed care system may needlessly upset the delicate balance.
House Majority Leader Arlen Siegfried, R-Olathe, is preparing a budget proviso that would “carve out” the developmental disabled population and delay for six months or a year placing the group’s long-term care coverage under KanCare. The governor’s office reportedly has consented to the measure, and it is likely to pass through the Legislature with little opposition.
The proviso will be a reprieve for the developmentally disabled. Advocates continue to believe that the non-medical, long-term services for these Medicaid clients need to be permanently “carved out” of the KanCare program. Up to now, their concerns seem to have drawn little consideration by state officials putting together the KanCare plan. State officials now may have some time to try to understand those concerns and craft a system that will address them. They should use that time to good advantage.