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Archive for Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Advocates for those with developmental disabilities urge state to abandon proposal

July 16, 2013

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— Opponents of putting long-term services for those with developmental disabilities under KanCare made a last-ditch plea to state officials on Tuesday.

"There is no good reason to dismantle the system," said Gayle Richardson, of Johnson County.

But state officials vowed that care would improve by expanding KanCare, which is the state's new Medicaid system.

Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services Secretay Shawn Sullivan said KanCare will provide better health, employment and housing opportunities.

He said only 10 percent of those with developmental disabilities receiving assistance are employed while the national average is 20 percent and in some nearby states it is 50 percent.

Sullivan said the current system fares "poorly" in managing chronic conditions and there would be incentives for the private insurance companies operating KanCare to improve on that.

The divergent viewpoints came during the second and last public hearing on the state's proposal that will be submitted to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS.

Although approximately 100 people attended the hearing at the Ramada Inn, only a handful spoke.

Tom Laing, executive director of InterHab, which represents providers of services, said fears still exist that the drive for savings will trump adequate supports.

Richardson said the only way the insurance companies will make a profit is by reducing care. She described those receiving help as "fragile individuals."

"CMS is far away. The insurance companies are far away. We believe the best approach is local," she said.

Having fought the plan for two years, Sharon Spratt, chief executive officer of Cottonwood Inc. in Lawrence, said she is resigned that it will be implemented. "I guess we are going to have to live with it," she said.

Advocates for those with disabilities have long argued that the managed care companies in KanCare can handle medical needs but aren't prepared to handle long-term services, such as help with preparing meals, job coaching, money management, buying groceries and other assistance.

The state is accepting public comments on the plan until July 29. Those comments can be emailed to KanCare@kdheks.gov or mailed to ATTN: Rita Haverkamp, KDHE-DHCF, 900 SW Jackson, Room 900, Topeka KS 66612.

Comments

Angela_de_Rocha 9 months ago

Clarification: KanCare is designed to reduce costs through better management of chronic conditions, which results in fewer expensive hospitalizations. The KanCare contract incentivizes the MCOs to provide better, more coordinated care, with the result being improved health and quality-of-life outcomes. Yes, CMS is far away, as are "insurance companies." But individuals with I/DD will keep their current case managers and current service providers, who are not far away. Currently about 12,000 Kansans on various Medicaid waivers, including some who receive long-term services and supports, already are enrolled in KanCare. Angela de Rocha Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services

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George_Braziller 9 months ago

The entire "Kan Care" idea is a disaster for all of the waivers. There used to be case mangers who met with people face to face. That's completely gone now. I provide a few hours of attendant service to an elderly woman and all she got was a letter saying that services were based on the medical records they had.

I think the goal is to have people die so the State will be able to save money and balance the budget.

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kansas_cynic 9 months ago

brownie is following the Koch memo. profit for their friends or themselves are all that matters. brownie is a POS and the Kock's knew that when they purchased his soul.

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verity 9 months ago

This was always a foregone conclusion---as with everything else.

We will be remembered for kicking the most vulnerable into the ditch.

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fearthetaliban 9 months ago

Too late. The Koch Brothers told Sam it was required

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bevy 9 months ago

Gotta hope the feds will say no. That's the only hope we have, because Brownie and Co. won't listen to anything that takes money-making potential away from their cronies.

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LJ Whirled 9 months ago

I am more familiar with the program in the Ottawa area, C-O-F Training Services, which has an outstanding record of providing care and housing, managing health care, employment and finances, and giving the disabled lives of dignity, while saving money for the taxpayer.

It is less expensive to proactively manage the needs of the disabled, than to under-fund and under-manage, leading to very expensive disarray. These are people who MUST have our help, and we are going to have to pay for it one way or another. Why not choose to pay a lesser amount for a better outcome?

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