Archive for Friday, February 3, 2012

Brownback consolidates SRS and 2 other agencies, names director for new children and families department

February 3, 2012, 3:05 p.m. Updated February 3, 2012, 10:07 p.m.


— Gov. Sam Brownback appointed a social worker and former legislator Friday as secretary of the state’s largest social services agency and outlined a plan to reorganize it and two other departments as part of a larger effort to overhaul the state’s Medicaid program.

Brownback announced Friday that former state Rep. Phyllis Gilmore will lead the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, starting Monday. She’s been the director of the regional SRS office in Kansas City following 11 years as executive director of the state board regulating social workers and other mental health professionals.

Gilmore, who turns 67 on Saturday, served six years in the Kansas House as a Republican, representing an Olathe district, before becoming the top staffer at the Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board in 2000. She’s licensed as a specialist in clinical social work.

As an ex-House member, she’s likely to be less controversial than former SRS Secretary Rob Siedlecki, who resigned at the end of last year. Siedlecki, who came to Kansas from Florida and returned there, faced criticism over his reorganization of SRS management the administration’s pursuit of faith-based social services initiatives.

Brownback said he’s known Gilmore since she served in the Legislature and “always appreciated her attitude, her heart.”

The governor also released the text of an executive order that he plans to sign Monday, shrinking SRS so that it can focus on services for children and families, removing it from involvement with the $2.9 billion Medicaid program, which provides health coverage to the poor, disabled and elderly.

The same order would move services for the disabled and mentally ill into the Department on Aging. The expanded agency also will pick up some regulatory responsibilities from the Department of Health and Environment, such as licensing nursing homes and psychiatric centers.

The health department would focus on the financial management of Medicaid, a job it picked up last year, when Brownback eliminated the Kansas Health Policy Authority.

Administration officials said the reorganization is important in overhauling Medicaid because it reduces the number of agencies handling parts of the program to two. Brownback must submit his order to the Legislature, but it will take effect July 1, unless one chamber votes to reject it within 60 days.

“It primarily provides some administrative efficiency,” said Health and Environment Secretary Robert Moser.

Brownback’s administration plans to issue three contracts this year for the Medicaid program. Each contract would start, Jan. 1, 2013, and each company would operate statewide, so that Medicaid clients would have a choice of coverage.

The overhaul represents the first time the state has attempted to cover the disabled and the elderly, including those in nursing homes, with a managed-care program.

State medical programs provide services for an average of 380,000 people a month, and the bulk already receive state health coverage through private contractors. By bringing the disabled and elderly into a managed-care system, the state would add Kansans who need relatively expensive long-term services.

Administration officials have said the overhaul will lead to better coordination of services for high-need Medicaid participants and will eliminate duplication. But critics worry the administration is moving too quickly.

Kansas is hoping the federal government, which helps finance Medicaid, will waive some of its rules so that the contracts can cover the disabled and elderly and include financial incentives for improving services while controlling costs.


Hooligan_016 6 years ago

State employees are not enthused about this at all.

deec 6 years ago

So will people who qualify for cash and/or food assistance, as well as medicaid, now have two depts.. to deal with and two separate case workers? What if they are elderly or disabled? Will they havve three separate case workers and have to apply through three separate units?

chootspa 6 years ago

Oh don't worry. They'll just have to deal with three departments, three case workers, and the new managed care system. I'm sure that's not asking too much, right?

tortise 6 years ago

Good point. Why let facts get in the way.

true_patriot 6 years ago

I'm not sure I've ever seen a politician as bent on destroying families and disenfranchising children. It really is radical extremism and representative of the stark new reality, where drive for political power trumps service to country and liberty for all.

local_interest 6 years ago

That's what Arizona is saying, except they aren't waiting. Recall Jan Brewer!

Jayhawk1958 6 years ago

Wow, what an intelligent comment since it has nothing to do with the topic whatsoever.

JayhawkFan1985 6 years ago

Rockchalk1977 needs to stop embarrassing Jayhawk Nation with his right wing fox news propaganda.

Lenette Hamm 6 years ago

What a crock... Brownback needs to be impeached (or whatever term one uses for ousting a so-called Governor). He commends Gilmore for her heart. How would HE know anything about that???!!!???? Long and short of this ill-advised decision is that a whole army of disabled and elderly people are going to be left in the lurch. And that's BEFORE he merges so much in to KDOA. Nightmare of a trainwreck on the way........

chootspa 6 years ago

So children on DD waivers are covered by the Department on Children and Families? No wait, they're covered by the Department on Aging and Disability. No wait, they've got to go through a new managed care system, in spite of expert opinion that DD waivers should be carved out of such systems. No wait; let's face it, they're just not covered.

Jean Robart 6 years ago

I ma in my 60s and disabled My healthcare comes thru Medicaid. Where do I fit in? The system is so screwed up now--I can't wait to see how much worse it will get. Thanks Sam--oh by the way, can I change my vote? I am so sorry that I voted for you.

jhawkinsf 6 years ago

As you say, "the system is so screwed up now".
Whether or not it will get worse, we don't know yet. If it does get worse, can someone in the future return it to it's present state of screwed up, we don't know. Whether or not someone in the future can actually fix the system to the point it is not screwed up, we don't know. All we really know for sure is "the system is so screwed up now".

mseybold 6 years ago

It will take a lot of time and effort to undo everything he has screwed up when his rein is up. Unless of course he destroys KS before then.

Kendall Simmons 6 years ago

Unfortunately, that definition doesn't apply to this particular context. Oh well.

mseybold 6 years ago

I hereby announce the Office of the Respeller to trim the fat of the English language... no more silent "g"'s or "p"'s to contend with.

Alex Parker 6 years ago

Nope. It's because you need to find another way to voice your displeasure.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 6 years ago

I hope the new concept required spade or neutered to get a medical card or assistance.

If you can't feed 'em, don't breed 'em.

Cait McKnelly 6 years ago

Does that mean you would be all for loosening abortion restrictions? For when, y'know, the condom breaks? Yeah. I doubt it. "Breed and greed. Breed and greed. That's the Republican Party for ya."

Richard Heckler 6 years ago

The legislature need to step up and undo all that this man has done thus far.

His executive orders have bypassed republicans several times. Of course he has stated he does not care about democrat support. He's a one man show not a two party thinker.

The feds need to step in as well.

Time to cut Gov Sam Brownback off at the pass.

BigDog 6 years ago

Executive Orders always go through the legislature ..... they have 60 days after introduction to vote them down or they go into effect.

There are parts of the reorganization that they don't need approval for. That is why there are three branches ... the executive branch runs day to day operation of government. Legislature passes laws and makes appropriations.

Governor Sebelius made these kinds of changes but didn't get as much attention here. She cut sizable amounts of funding from seniors, programs for the disabled and mental health services. Graves did also to balance budget.

sourpuss 6 years ago

Do you really think they would go to the trouble of making it possible to buy an election without actually trying to do it?

Sunny Parker 6 years ago

We have way too many 'Departments'!

Cait McKnelly 6 years ago

This model is lifted whole cloth from Florida's structure for their state social services. Look it up. Which means that, in crossing three agencies, kids will get lost and won't be heard from again until they're adults. Or end up with foster families that murder them and keep drawing the check and we won't find out about it for three years (if we're lucky). I wonder when Kansas will get it's first "Caylee Anthony" case? Wake up, Kansas, There's an election coming. Vote in legislators that will at least override this megalomaniac and keep him reined in. We DO have a system of checks and balances you know.

Kendall Simmons 6 years ago

What did Caylee Anthony have to do with foster families???

Richard Heckler 6 years ago

Corporate Education Reformers Plot Next Steps at Secretive Meeting

ALEC Education "Academy" Launches on Island Resort by Dustin Beilke

Today, hundreds of state legislators from across the nation will head out to an "island" resort on the coast of Florida to a unique "education academy" sponsored by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). There will be no students or teachers. Instead, legislators, representatives from right-wing think tanks and for-profit education corporations will meet behind closed doors to channel their inner Milton Friedman and promote the radical transformation of the American education system into a private, for-profit enterprise. What is ALEC Scoring on Its Education "Report Card?"

Little is known about the agenda of the ALEC education meeting taking place at the Ritz Carlton on Amelia Island. The meeting is not open to the public and recently even the press has been kicked out of meetings and barred from attendance. So to understand the ALEC agenda with regard to education, it is important to examine ALEC's education "scorecard."

Imagine getting a report card from your teacher and finding out that you were graded not on how well you understood the course material or scored on the tests and assignments, but rather on to what extent you agreed with your teacher's strange public policy positions. That is the best way to understand the American Legislative Exchange Council's 17th Report Card on American Education released last week.

The report card's authors are Matthew Lardner, formerly of the Goldwater Institute, and Dan Lips, currently of the Goldwater Institute and formerly of the Heritage Foundation. They give every state's public schools an overall grade based on how they rate in 14 categories. Homeschooling, alternative teacher certification, charter schools, private school choice, and virtual learning make up 7 of the 14 categories. Of the other seven categories, two rate the states' academic standards and the other five have mostly to do with the way states retain "effective" teachers and fire "ineffective" ones.

ALEC's education bills encompass more than 20 years of effort to privatize public education through an ever-expanding....

Kendall Simmons 6 years ago

I'm actually happy as a clam that mental health services will now be under the Dept. of Aging. Why? Because SRS is basically dysfunctional.

Granted, I'm speaking from a nonprofit point of view. And, yes, I realize that SRS's dysfunction only became out-of-control after Brownback took it certainly could improve once Brownback left office.

But the chaos that is SRS today is simply untenable. And, since my focus is on mental health services, I'm doing the happy dance.

jafs 6 years ago

Why do you think that the Dept of Aging will do any better?

This is a classic move - screw up some government agency, and then claim it doesn't work.

Richard Heckler 6 years ago

What if the consolidation sees inadequate funding?

Concerned taxpayers have not seen the document that Brownback signed off on. The devil may be in the details.

Has the repub or democratic party leadership seen the document?

Kendall Simmons 6 years ago

But it's not consolidation. it's reorganization. For example, the long-term stuff is all being put under one department. The Department of Aging...and, trust me, I hope to heck my husband's and my aging is long-term :-)

Now, I admit that I feel REALLY weird defending anything Brownback does, but reorganizing all the long term stuff under one department certainly makes more sense to me than the current system. (Unlike Brownback's utter nonsense about including people with developmental disabilities under 'managed care'.)

And, as far as "inadequate funding" goes? OMG!! You don't think we already have inadequate funding??? SRS currently doesn't even meet all of its existing contractual much so that some nonprofits in more rural parts of Kansas - nonprofits dependent on SRS funding - have to temporarily shut their doors at times. Too many times.

kochmoney 6 years ago

I believe what you were actually trying to say was, "Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?"

globehead 6 years ago

"As an ex-House member, she’s likely to be less controversial than former SRS Secretary Rob Siedlecki...".

Nevertheless, she is a former state legislator so the Gov. is still picking from the bottom of the barrel.

sciencegeek 6 years ago

From jafs comment : "This is a classic move - screw up some government agency, and then claim it doesn't work."

And you ain't seen nothing yet. This is the plan for other parts of state government, too. Cut staff, cut budget, until the inevitable happens, and something blows up. Then the cry goes up "government doesn't work". Conveniently, their cronies are waiting in the wings to take over the job, even if it costs the state more. See private schools, privately-run Medicaid programs, etc. etc.

Straight out of the Koch-run Americans For Prosperity.

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