To the editor:
There is a bill before the Kansas Senate this week (Senate Substitute for HB 2155) that will, in effect, disallow local nonprofit organizations from performing essential eligibility and needs-assessment functions and paves the way for large for-profit managed care health insurance companies (MCOs) to take over those key functions.
Even scarier, it allows those very same mega-corporations to operate as case managers for persons with intellectual disabilities, thereby shifting control of services to the very same MCOs who are incentivized to save money for the state by siphoning off their cut of the spoils. What was once a warm handoff into services ushered by a locally built and state-supervised service system will turn into to a “1-800-ON HOLD to a help desk — location unknown.”
Individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families have been promised repeatedly that the locally driven system would not be dismantled and that case management for persons with intellectual disabilities would not change! Yet this bill could not have gained momentum without the tacit approval of the Brownback administration. Up until now, the local Community Developmental Disability Organizations have been able to mostly shield individuals we serve from the messy and disruptive effects of KanCare because I/DD services have been “carved out.” Unless we retain these local functions, stave off badly intentioned, profit-driven legislation and remain “carved out” of KanCare, the blade that is carving up and gobbling up taxpayer dollars is going to hurt our most vulnerable citizens.