Archive for Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Advocates for those with developmental disabilities urge state to abandon proposal

July 16, 2013


— 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 or mailed to ATTN: Rita Haverkamp, KDHE-DHCF, 900 SW Jackson, Room 900, Topeka KS 66612.


bevy 4 years, 10 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.

fearthetaliban 4 years, 10 months ago

Too late. The Koch Brothers told Sam it was required

verity 4 years, 10 months ago

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

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

George_Braziller 4 years, 10 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.

jafs 4 years, 10 months ago

Please continue to inform people of that, so that they don't buy the propaganda that KanCare is working well and will work well with the dd population.

If there are any meetings that allow public input, maybe you can go to them and present your experiences as well (if you want to do that, of course).

People who work with these populations are the best informed and most knowledgeable about how the changes are actually affecting them.

Angela de Rocha 4 years, 10 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

jafs 4 years, 10 months ago

I understand that it's your job to present the administration's view of this, but that's a view that many of us, including many who actually work with the affected populations, don't share.

While there may be, in theory, some sort of cost saving pressure, that will be offset by the profits of the for profit insurance companies involved, or will result in poorer care. There's no free lunch.

And, I'll wait (without holding my breath) to see if any improvements are made, or if things get worse (as they already have for many people). I wonder if you will acknowledge the reality on the ground.

As far as the DD protections, we've had that debate before, and you overstate the protections for those folks. The legislature can make a few changes, and they'll lose those. Also, the MCO's state explicitly in their application to the state their intention to take over both the CDDO and case management functions for DD folks after the first year of implementation of KanCare.

oldbaldguy 4 years, 10 months ago

what happened to trial run for the DD population. How has that turned it out. I have heard there was a problem with paying staff in the Paola area? Lake Mary had to take out a loan to pay staff.

jafs 4 years, 10 months ago

The trial run is still ongoing, as far as I know, and I don't know what's happened there.

Of course, it seems pretty clear that if I were wanting to convince people it would work well, I would treat the folks in the trial run very well, regardless of whether or not that will be the norm once implemented.

kochmoney 4 years, 10 months ago

Clarification: KanCare is designed to transfer taxpayer money to private enterprise in the hope that if you repeat the word "efficiency" enough it won't actually translate to poorer care for our most vulnerable citizens.

George_Braziller 4 years, 10 months ago

That's not what the DD case managers are being told.

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