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Concerns of those who care for Kansans with developmental disabilities rise as session reconvenes


Topeka — As legislators return Wednesday for the wrap-up session, concerns are rising for those who care for Kansans with developmental disabilities.

Two issues are in play.

One is increased funding proposed by Gov. Sam Brownback to reduce the number of Kansans on waiting lists to get the support they need.

The second issue is whether the thousands of Kansans with developmental and intellectual disabilities should be brought under the new KanCare system to provide their long-term care services.

Parents of those with disabilities support Brownback's proposed $18.5 million funding increase, though many oppose providing long-term care for their children under the privatized KanCare system run by for-profit insurance companies.

But Brownback's administration is saying one would impact the other.

Angela de Rocha, spokeswoman for the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, said the "continued opposition to including long-term services under KanCare for persons on the I/DD (intellectual and developmental disability) waiver jeopardizes the state's ability to address the waiting lists."

De Rocha points to a fiscal note of House Bill 2029, which would "carve out" long-term care services from KanCare.

That fiscal note, signed by Brownback's budget director Steve Anderson, says the carve-out would increase costs to the state by $9.2 million in the fiscal year starting July 1, and $16.8 million in the fiscal year after that.

As a result, de Rocha said, the ability of the House and Senate to adopt Brownback's increased funding plan "could be impacted by the carve-out."

Tom Laing, executive director of InterHab, which represents groups that provide services to people with developmental disabilities, had a different view of the fiscal note.

Laing said projected costs contained in the fiscal note incorrectly included several factors, including inflation. "We don't get paid higher costs due to inflation. That is a fictional variable that they've thrown in," he said.

InterHab says more than 1,100 Kansans will attend a rally on Wednesday outside the Statehouse calling on Brownback and the Legislature to carve out from KanCare long-term services for the developmentally disabled.


Angela de Rocha 4 years, 11 months ago

Tom Laing’s comment on the fiscal note is misleading. The fiscal note calculation did not include “fictional variables” but did include forward projection of current inflationary trends for services. Waiver costs per member per month have increased and continue to increase. That is not a "fictional variable." That factor is what was used to determine the base expenditures. Angela de Rocha Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services

scribe 4 years, 11 months ago

Angela, your boss has been caught in so many fiscal 'errors' that it's too hard to believe any of the numbers coming out of the statehouse any more. Don't you have a real job to do besides just trolling for 'misinformation' on the digital news? Is this what our taxes are for?...paying you to counter anything that doesn't meet with the Administration's approval? You're not convincing anyone.

ForThePeople 4 years, 11 months ago

Good post scribe! I often wonder about Angela spending our hard earned dollars arguing on the internet....hummm. This whole KanCare business with the DD population is very sad. The actual providers, meaning those who do the hands on day to day care have not seen a raise in over a decade. I do know that the agencies themselves however pocket a pretty penny and adding the MCO's into the mix is going to make things even worse for the people doing the care. The way things are set up now works pretty well...I truly do not believe the KanCare rollover will benefit anyone but the MCO's!

jafs 4 years, 11 months ago

If two entities provide the same level of support services, then inflation will be a factor for both of them.

There's no reason to think that a private entity can provide the same level of services for less money.

Susan Shaw 4 years, 11 months ago

I thought the fiscal issue was not based on inflation, but on the (misguided) theory that the state will save money only if they lump everything in with KanCare. Inflation is still going to be around regardless of whether services are carved out. And not all providers get raises because of inflation. Many do not. It is kind of conniving for the state to say, "If you people don't quit pushing for services to be carved out, then we are not going to fund your waiting lists." I wondered what Brownback was up to when he suddenly made that generous proposal to give money to the waiting lists. I don't think we will be fooled.

scribe 4 years, 11 months ago

He's 'giving' the money to the waiting lists to keep from getting sued by the feds for failing to provide services. It's not out of the goodness of his heart and certainly not to 'help' our disabled friends. If KanCare succeeds, the waiting list money will wind up in the pockets of the managed care organizations anyway. He's helping out his own friends in the long run. And if the 'carve out' noise doesn't go away, I'm sure there will be some retribution for those making the noise. He doesn't like it when people disagree with him.

avarom 4 years, 11 months ago

Brownback answer: Carve out two one hundred dollars bills and call me in the morning....

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