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Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

Senate leader says no plans to consider bill opposed by disability community

April 1, 2013

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— Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce said Monday he doesn't plan for the Senate to take up a bill that has been vigorously opposed by advocates for those with developmental disabilities.

But Bruce, R-Hutchinson, declined to say whether that meant the death of Senate Substitute for House Bill 2155, and said that the issues the bill tries to address need to be faced at some point.

The bill would limit the services a Community Developmental Disability Organization could provide clients, including prohibiting a CDDO from conducting both eligibility determinations for services for a person and also providing those services.

If enacted into law, the measure could alter the assistance received by thousands of Kansans with developmental disabilities.

Bruce told the Senate GOP caucus that the federal government has expressed concern over possible conflicts of interest because the CDDOs determine eligibility for services and can provide those services too.

But Tom Laing, executive director of InterHab, which advocates for those with developmental disabilities, said the state's system of reviewing the decisions by the CDDOs, especially in the area of providing consumers with choices on where to get assistance, shows that CDDOs are doing their job without conflicts of interest.

He said the purpose of the legislation is part of the battle between advocates for people with developmental disabilities and Gov. Sam Brownback's administration over KanCare, the governor's overhaul of the Medicaid system, which put most of the state's 350,000 Medicaid clients into managed care plans run by for-profit insurance companies.

CDDOs have argued that those companies can handle medical needs, but aren't able to handle the long-term, lifetime support services for their clients.

Brownback agreed to delaying placing those services in KanCare, but under current law they will be brought in next Jan. 1. But advocates are pushing for permanent separation from KanCare for those long-term services.

"This is about putting a hammer down on strong organizations that have stood up for themselves," Laing said.

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