Archive for Tuesday, April 29, 2014

KanCare gets mixed reviews from patients, health care providers

April 29, 2014

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— Patients, health care providers and others on Tuesday provided a mixed picture of the status of Gov. Sam Brownback's privatization of Medicaid called KanCare.

Robert Adams, who uses an electric wheelchair to get around after suffering severe injuries in a motorcycle accident, said KanCare has been great for him. "I have not had one iota of a problem," he told the Legislature's KanCare Oversight Committee.

But Patricia Wilson, who suffers from multiple sclerosis and numerous other ailments, told of being on a waiting list for services, then being denied services and then finding out her records were lost when she tried to appeal.

"In October 2013, things were really bad. I would pass out and lie in my own blood and vomit," she said. She said her daughter had to quit her job to provide round-the-clock care.

Her experience was similar to that reported by others who said they had become lost in the system.

KanCare was launched by Brownback on Jan. 1, 2013. It put more than 350,000 Kansans, who received health care through Medicaid, into health plans run by three private insurers, Amerigroup, UnitedHealthcare and Sunflower State Health Plan, a subsidiary of Centene.

Brownback said the new program would cuts costs while providing better care.

On Tuesday, several providers expressed frustration with dealing with the KanCare's managed care organizations, while others said the new system was working fine.

Bob Finuf, vice president of payer relations with Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, was one of those unhappy with KanCare.

"We simply did not encounter the number or magnitude of operational and claim payment delays, and or denials that we have encountered since the implementation of KanCare," he said.

Mike Egan, owner of Hillside Village, a nursing home in De Soto, said it has cost him thousands of dollars to correct billing errors under KanCare.

And Danica Case, controller of Newman Regional Health, a county-owned hospital in Emporia, said the slow payment of claims and wrongful denial of claims were costing taxpayers money.

But Jamie Price, the chief operating officer for Community Living Opportunities, which serves adults and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, said her group had experienced "very positive outcomes" in KanCare.

The meeting came as the Kansas Health Institute reported that the KanCare contractors lost more than $110 million in their first year of the program.

But Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Dr. Robert Moser said he didn't think the losses were cause for alarm because, he said, it was expected that the companies' first-year expenses would be higher than in subsequent years.

Comments

Leslie Swearingen 1 year, 2 months ago

I am on the Sunflower Plan and have had no problems. I am still with the same doctor and still get the same services. In fact, I am better off because my co-pay for meds has dropped to zero. Can't get any better than that.

I have lung and heart disease and so have to have regular lab tests to check on my progress. I get every one that I need and was seen promptly at the hospital when I had blood clots in my lungs. My lung doctor, Dr. Osbern has gone out of her way to make sure I am all right, as Dr. Stueve has done. I give a shout out to both of them. Docs, I am finally losing weight!

Each one of us has to assume responsibility for our health and do what we can. Thanks to R. for introducing me to kale which I now actually like and snack on. Never thought I would say that. Actually it was part of his lunch and he let me sample it. Ah, friendship.

Julius Nolan 1 year, 2 months ago

Actually, Leslie you are lucky. Have you asked your doctors about their getting paid, how hard it is and are the payments accurate or how long it takes to get correct payment, assuming they ever have.

Julius Nolan 1 year, 2 months ago

Not sure why in their infinite wisdom, JW moderators deleted my post. Here it is again. "Actually, Leslie you are lucky. Have you asked your doctors about their getting paid, how hard it is and are the payments accurate or how long it takes to get correct payment, assuming they ever have"

Patricia Davis 1 year, 2 months ago

And you want this group of yahoos to control Medicare? Wake up Kansas!

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