Archive for Wednesday, April 25, 2012

SRS officials alleges fraud, inadequate record keeping at independent living centers; centers strike back

April 25, 2012, 12:28 p.m. Updated April 25, 2012, 3:00 p.m.


— As legislators on Wednesday started the wrap-up session, the needs of Kansans with physical and developmental disabilities took center stage.

Several hundred people rallied at the Capitol urging legislators to stop Gov. Sam Brownback from putting long-term services for those with developmental disabilities under his proposed Medicaid privatization plan, known as KanCare.

Kathy Lobb, of Lawrence, with the Self-Advocate Coalition of Kansas, said, “We want to let legislators know that they should not gamble with our lives when it comes to our services, how we live, and where we live.”

The Brownback administration has signaled that it would agree to delay for one year putting developmental disabled services under KanCare.

While legislators and advocates said they welcomed the delay, they emphasized they still want the long-term services “carved out” of KanCare.

“We are going to take a delay but we’re not giving up on a carve out,” said Rep. Jim Ward, D-Wichita.

“We’re not trying to be obstinate,” said Sharon Spratt, chief executive officer of Cottonwood Inc., which delivers services in Lawrence. “We just really value the system we’ve helped to develop over the past 40 years,” she said.

Sens. Laura Kelly, D-Topeka, and Dick Kelsey, R-Goddard, said the managed care companies that will be taking over Medicaid under KanCare have no experience providing long-term assistance for those with developmental disabilities.

At the rally outside the Capitol, several hundred advocates and those with developmental disabilities spoke about the need to maintain the current service system and increase funding to remove a waiting list for services.

Lobb added, “KanCare will hurt us in the long run because these companies’ biggest concern is making money, not what is best for us.”

Meanwhile, inside the Statehouse, state welfare agency officials said completed audits and draft audits of centers for independent living, which provide services for those with physical disabilities, revealed inadequate recording keeping of financial records.

But the head of the Statewide Independent Living Council of Kansas, said state officials were attacking the centers because advocates have filed complaints with the federal government that the state is not doing enough to provide assistance for thousands of Kansans with physical disabilities who are stuck for years on waiting lists for services.

“They have been on attack since the centers started filing Olmstead complaints,” said Shannon Jones, executive director of SILCK.

Olmstead said there is a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that says states must provide services to people with disabilities to enable them to be more integrated in the community. Officials on Tuesday revealed that the U.S. Justice Department was looking into complaints after talks with Brownback broke down.

Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services Secretary Phyllis Gilmore said she “was in disbelief” at record keeping uncovered by the audits. “Someone in elementary school could have done better record keeping,” she said.

Gilmore said the records were in such bad shape it was impossible to determine whether fraud was committed.

But Jones said the audits were being appealed by the centers. She conceded there may be some record keeping problems, such as “messy” time sheets. “We could do better,” Jones said, but added, “To say it is fraud or mismanagement is untrue.”

But SRS officials said fraud did occur at the southwest Kansas center for independent living. “There was lots of corruptions and lots of mismanagement,” at that center, said Michael Donnelly, director of vocational rehabilitation services at SRS.

He said some officials there had used tax dollars for an open tab at a local bar and restaurant. “We think that was inappropriate,” he said.

Jones, however, said that center was shut down 18 months ago and SRS officials continue to talk about it to cast aspersions about other centers.

Rep. Ward said the centers must be held accountable but questioned the timing of SRS’ testimony on the audits. He noted the testimony came right after the revelation that the federal government was looking into whether state spending on services for those with disabilities was inadequate. And he noted it also came on the day that those with developmental disabilities were holding the rally challenging Brownback’s proposal to place their services in KanCare.


jafs 6 years, 2 months ago

If true, I wonder how it's possible - dd services are one of the most closely scrutinized things I've ever seen, with multiple layers of state and federal regulation, paperwork, etc.

chootspa 6 years, 2 months ago

Apparently this is a ploy to stop funding them and/or fight the recommendation that DD services be carved out of managed care. Found this:

billc 6 years, 2 months ago

Since the state is responsible for audits and has audited these organizations for years I question why is it all of a sudden that the practices are that of a grade school child. Audits and checks and balances are common in any organization. If they were not adequate it should have been recognized sooner. Some of these organizations have been helping people for more than 20 years. It seems strange that when people speak up about being left on the side of the road and the leaders of our state don't want to do the job they were elected to do that - now we have "allege fraud". Allege is right because the rest of the audits have not found anything to class that way.

tomatogrower 6 years, 2 months ago

Can't you manage to stay on topic? This is about the state, not federal. It gets pretty old.

Jayhawk1958 6 years, 1 month ago

Man, get off it. This blame Obama on everything is stupid. You're coming off as a fool.

Alceste 6 years, 2 months ago

Ain't this the proverbial kettle calling the proverbial pot "black"?!

SRS been perpetrating frauds all over the place these past 40+ years on the children of the state of Kansas....snatching them from families for "neglect" when their only real presenting problem was that said family was impoverished; perpetrating fraud on the vulnerable/dependent adult; negating essential services; filling itself to the brim with self-serving, ignorant "administrators" who know one word and one word only "nepotism"; etc., etc., etc.

Let's not leave out the fraud SRS is perpetrating on the people of Kansas in the way it forks out moolah to the privitized foster care companies and refuses to access IV-B monies to create a real social service system for families. It's Kansas. Why should we expect anything but specious mediocrity and idiots? See:

chootspa 6 years, 2 months ago

I think anyone abusing waiver funds ought to be smoked out, but at the same time, I don't want it to be used to justify cutting services that help the vast majority that receive them.

jafs 6 years, 2 months ago

Thank you - I misread the article.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 6 years, 2 months ago

Things to remember:

1 - The timing of this may seem suspicious, but they didn't just pull this audit out of their butts this morning. This has been in the works for weeks if not months (maybe even going back to 2011).

2 - Why wasn't this discovered before? Keep in mind that we canned the secretary of SRS in December for a long list of deficiencies. Maybe he also failed to maintain oversight of these programs. Maybe this "just" got noticed because Gilmore showed up about two months ago.

BigDog 6 years, 2 months ago

Well and Gilmore used to oversee the Kansas City area SRS office. The financial practices of the independent living centers have been questioned by many in the human services field for years. Their business and spending practices have been questioned by those within the state system. Oversight has been lacking for them ...... not near the oversight as developmental disabilities and aging system.

No one previously has been willing to take them on .... expect stuff in the press and protests both inside and outside the capitol.

BigDog 6 years, 2 months ago

There has been fraud and misappropriation of funds at RCIL in Southeast Kansas, where the Director embezzled from the center and then just last year Independent Living Center in Garden City was shut down .... and now three others have sloppy/questionable accounting practices.

I don't know but if you have 5 out of 13 rogranizations in a group have financial issues in the last 5 years ..... I would say that there is a systematic problem with the group.

kaycee96 6 years, 2 months ago

BigDog, Why did the State of Kansas let this director's husband open a new business that provided services to individuals on the medicaid wavier ,knowing that the individual charged with medicaid fraud (embbezzlement from RCIL) was working for that provider in their billing department. This went on for two years before they lost the ability to be a medicaid provider.

BigDog 6 years, 2 months ago

kaycee96, You would have to contact former Governor Sebelius or her people with that question. Kind of ironic that she now has control over Medicaid in her new job at the federal level.

I would venture to guess most if not all that were involved in the SRS oversight of this program then .... have been replaced by the Brownback adminstration.

CheneyHawk 6 years, 2 months ago

Why does P Gillmore's statementes hit me like Claude Reins character in Casablance "I"m shocked to find gambling in this establishment!" (Here are your winnings, sir....)

kaycee96 6 years, 2 months ago

Why is it that Ms. Gilmore reports that the Audits began in 2007 after the state was informed they were not doing their jobs. It then took the state until the end of 2010 to complete the audits of 12 centers. The centers were never trained or given direction on the documentation that the state wanted. It has taken since 2010 for the state to produce the audits completed. If things were as bad as they say and it was costing so much money you think they might have found a quicker way to fix the situation. The centers pass unqualified financial audits by indpendent parties every year. The state did not do their jobs correctly but are not willing to admit that and continue to place blame and go on there "witch hunt" to cover their tracks. Then you have people who beleive everything they read in the news paper and make judgements and don't bother to educate themselves on what is really the truth. If someone needs to be held accoutable it is SRS who dropped the ball. Ms. Gilmore maybe someone in elmentary school could have completed the audit process faster then SRS.

pace 6 years, 2 months ago

the Brownback stench is spreading though the crumbling infrastructure. They are getting rid of decent employees and we pay the stooges that lie to us. Brownback should resign.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 2 months ago

You used many words yet said nothing.

pace 6 years, 2 months ago

Brownback stooges are bad for Kansas. Brownback should resign.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 2 months ago

A far more economical use of words that makes a point.

verity 6 years, 2 months ago

pace: "Brownback stooges are bad for Kansas. Brownback should resign."

jhawkinsf: "A far more economical use of words that makes a point."

Best exchange of the day.

George_Braziller 6 years, 1 month ago

The audits began after this incident. Mary did something really stupid but her actions were what started the ball rolling. CILs do need to be audited, but at the same time you have to realize that accurate record-keeping is almost impossible.

The State changes the reporting requirements at the drop of a hat. One year they want one thing, then the next year they change the rules and tell you that you have to go back six months and change the files. Get that done and the rules change again. Just because something is an allowed billable service today doesn't mean it will a month from now. It's like shooting ducks in the dark.

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