Archive for Monday, July 2, 2012

Reorganization of two social service agencies takes effect

July 2, 2012


— State officials on Monday said the reorganization of two social welfare agencies will deliver better care more efficiently. They also said people who use those agencies shouldn't see any differences in how they access services.

Gov. Sam Brownback and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer on Monday cut a ribbon to symbolize a reorganization of two social service agencies. The ceremony took place before more than 100 people outside the Statehouse.

Gov. Sam Brownback and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer on Monday cut a ribbon to symbolize a reorganization of two social service agencies. The ceremony took place before more than 100 people outside the Statehouse.

“This is a momentous day in the history of Kansas government,” Gov. Sam Brownback said during a ribbon-cutting ceremony before a crowd of more than 100 people.

“This historic reorganization will ensure we serve the children and families of Kansas as well as older adults and persons with disabilities in ways suited to the unique needs of our state and the unique needs of those who depend upon state services and programs,” Brownback said. He had issued an executive order in February that set the stage for the reorganization, and the changes took effect with the start of the new state fiscal year.

Under the reorganization, the Department for Children and Families replaces the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services. Some of the former SRS functions have been moved to an expanded agency now called the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services.

The DCF will deal with children and adult protection services, adoption services, foster care support, child support services, welfare and food assistance programs, and programs dedicated to vocational rehabilitation.

DCF Secretary Phyllis Gilmore said the goal of the new agency will be to safely reduce the number of children in the state's care and keep families intact as much as possible.

The former Kansas Department on Aging has merged with the Disability and Behavioral Health Services Division of SRS and parts of the Health Occupations Credentialing Division.

The new Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services will administer services to older adults; mental health, addiction and prevention programs; state hospitals and institutions; home and community-based services waiver programs and some health occupations credentialing. It will be the second largest agency in state government, with a budget of $1.7 billion for the current fiscal year. The total includes $154.9 million for state hospitals.

“There are differences between the older adults and persons with disabilities whom we will serve under the new agency, but they also represent many common challenges: helping people to stay independent and healthy as long as possible, the need for quality housing and competent caregivers and the necessity of navigating a fragmented health care system,” said KDADS Secretary Shawn Sullivan.

Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer said the reorganization was key to the administration's proposal to reform the $2.9 billion Medicaid system.

“As we worked to improve services and health outcomes, we realized that the state agencies and programs involved needed to be streamlined to better facilitate their functions and communications," he said.

Brownback's administration issued contracts last week to three private companies to manage Medicaid, which provides health care for the poor, elderly and those with disabilities. The proposal is being reviewed by the federal government.


deec 5 years, 7 months ago

so senior citizens or disabled people who receive food stamps or medicaid help now have to work with two different agencies? Yeah, that sounds more efficient all right.

LynnO 5 years, 7 months ago

Seniors that have food stamps had to work with two agencies before. They will still have to work with two agencies. No change there. The way to be the most efficient would have been to bring KDoA, SRS and KDHE under one agency. However, most providers would have not wanted that as it would have created a new monster agency similar to the old SRS. The re-org that started July 1 is the next best thing with all long-term care in one agency at KDADS. This is a move that the overwhelming majority of provider organziations support.

deec 5 years, 7 months ago

How did they deal with 2 different agencies before? I thought home-based programs were a function of SRS. How about medicaid payments for nursing home care? Weren't those services previously part of SRS? Please expand on your point.

deec 5 years, 7 months ago

Really I'm curious. How did people before have to deal with two agencies?

Stephanie Hull 5 years, 7 months ago

So, if the new Aging Dept is the second-largest state agency, what is the largest, the new DCF agency?

LynnO 5 years, 7 months ago

Actually, KDHE. DCF is 5th or 6th largest.

kscitizen 5 years, 7 months ago

As a former state of Kansas employeel, I can tell you that this new organization of SRS/DCF is going to be a total disaster. What a waste of millions of taxpayer dollars -- all so Kansas can look more like Florida. It will not be more efficient; it will not save money; it will not provide better services to the people who need help. It will take years to recoup all the money which has been spent on the reorganization. I have heard that thousands of dollars worth of business cards, envelopes, letterhead, brochures, etc were simply thrown out last Friday just so all new "DCF" documents could be rolled out today. Really??? In this time of economic crisis, the powers that be really can justify throwing thousands of dollars down the drain? Using up the old supply of envelopes would be a bad thing for what reason? I have seen the new organizational chart; someone needs to submit an open records request to get salaries of the newly created positions. How many administration/ management positions have been created; how many people received raises under the new reorganization? The actual workers are being forced to do more and more and more with less and less -- yet the administrators are getting raises and promotions. This will all come out eventually -- but long after millions of dollars have been wasted and services to people who need them have been compromised

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

Everything Brownback does is in the exclusive service of ideology-- namely the ideology of class warfare on behalf of the plutocracy. This is no exception.

LynnO 5 years, 7 months ago

For the most part- both liberals and conversatives have supported this re-organization. It received very little opposition in the legislature because it is a good idea. The federal goverment has moved in this direction and many other states have as well with Aging and Disability Services and long-term care in one agency.

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

Where will the "savings" come from exactly?

Without reducing the quality of services provided, of course.

LynnO 5 years, 7 months ago

Coordinating mental health and substance abuse services better; mental heatlh and aging programs; mental health and home and community based programs; mental health and physical health; coordinating care through care coordinators through person-centered health homes to be initiated; the implementation of Aging and Disability Resource Centers to provide better information and assistance and referral systems.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 7 months ago

Presumably, administration costs should be reduced. One head of one dept. rather than two heads of two depts. Half as many assistant directors. Half as many secretaries to the now half as many top administrators. Then as we get down to the county level or city level, again, one top administrator instead of two, half the number of assistants and secretaries to administrators at the county level. Those involved in direct services to their respective clientele could remain the same. At least that's how it's supposed to work.

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

If the new combined departments serve the same number of people, and provide the same services, I don't see how we can slash administration in half without affecting those services.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

So, theoretically, if we just keep eliminating administrators because they all just duplicate each other's work, we could eliminate everyone except the governor-- or maybe even just to the president of the whole danged country (as Andy Griffith would have put it, RIP)

jhawkinsf 5 years, 7 months ago

Theoretically, if duplication exists and can be eliminated, then there could be savings. If however, administrators have different duties, then eliminating them would not save. The question at hand is are the current administrators duplicating each other's work? I'm not familiar enough of the workings of these two agencies to answer the question. My remark was theoretical.

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

Well, when one agency covers disability and the other aging, and the two are combined, they'll still be doing two different things.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 7 months ago

Do the administrators do any real work with the disabled or with the aging? Do the seconds in command? Do secretaries? Do those who purchase office materials such as computers and paper clips? How about the janitors that clean their offices? How much does it cost to maintain two sets of offices, anyway? Are we building new building to house duplicate offices?

As I said, I don't know the answers to these questions. But it shouldn't be inappropriate to ask.

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

It's not inappropriate to ask, in my view.

But, I think any savings from this re-organization will be minimal, unless we want to overload staff, and reduce the quality of services.

Are we eliminating buildings, and offices, or just combining the functioning of the agencies?

Administrators don't do any direct work with the populations, but they administer programs, which is a needed function, don't you think?

So, unless we want to make the guy who's currently administering the aging programs to also administer the disability ones, we still need two administrators.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 7 months ago

I just asked the questions and said I don't know the answers. You seem to be answering the questions, which is fine, if you have more information than I have. Do you?

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

According to Lynn, who seems to know a bit about this, there were 2 agencies before this change, and 2 agencies after it, so we haven't eliminated any agencies.

It's just a re-shuffling of responsibilities, and the creation of a new DCFS organization.

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

There is little real combining of agencies here.

DCF will take over the vast majority of SRS services, and only a small part of those will merge with DOA, from what I've read.

It's like when a new manager comes in, and makes a bunch of changes, which don't really improve anything, but makes them feel like they're doing something.

LynnO 5 years, 7 months ago

There were two agencies on Saturday called SRS and KDoA. There are two agencies on Sunday called DCF and KDADS. The disability and behavioral heatlh and state hospitals left SRS/DCF and went to KDOA/KDADS. The belief among most providers around the state is that disabilities and aging programs fit better together than disabilities and child welfare programs.

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

Could be.

We'll see - I suspect that the real factors that contribute to quality services are the funding levels, and government regulations.

My wife works with the DD population, and her work is needlessly and absurdly regulated, so much so that case management is now an 80% paperwork job, which leaves a paltry 20% to devote to actually providing services.

I doubt that this re-organization will accomplish much of substance.

Especially when combined with the privatization of Medicaid services, which will almost certainly result in lowered quality and amount of services.

chootspa 5 years, 7 months ago

So do you work for the state or are you an elected official?

hannahss 5 years, 7 months ago

They have a new name. They have a fancy new website. But if you have a problem or question as I did today, you will find that nobody is actually available to help. I receive an adoption subsidy for a special needs child. The payment generally is in the bank on the first of each month, or the next day at the latest. Today, the 3rd, it was still not in. It won't be deposited until the 5th (with luck) I was told when I finally connected to someone. Families were not notified to expect this delay. I was told that it is "historically" late in July, although it was in on the 1st last year. I was also told that it isn't late until the 15th. This is a relatively small issue, but looms large for me as I try to pay bills on time! Luckily this is the only issue I have to deal with regarding the new, improved agency. Sadly, I expect to hear many more stories like this.

DeMontfort 5 years, 7 months ago

I am a single person (technically, an orphan, as both parents are dead) with no children. But I qualify for food stamps. So I asked one of my elected officials how do I fit into the Department for Children and Families? The response (via the Governor) was that "my church is now my 'family' ".


George_Braziller 5 years, 7 months ago

Start with firing Kitty at the local office or at least get her off the front desk. Her arbitrary rules and regulations that aren't based on anything have cost SRS tens of thousands of dollars with time having to deal with her.

She has a notorious reputation with people working in the human service field. I walk out the door when I see her at the desk and come back later when she's at lunch or some place gone form there.

Bad, bad, bad, bad. She should go back to being a clerk at Dillon's.

Jayhawk1958 5 years, 7 months ago

Brownback uses his religious philosophy to justify a two class system, like God designed us to either have or not to have.

deec 5 years, 7 months ago

Funny how Lynn hasn't been back to give any specifics as requested. I guess he/she is off on their paid holiday.

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