KCUR News
10:31 am
Wed June 23, 2010

Disability, Mental Health Providers Deal With Reduced State Funds

Kansas City, MO – Psychologists, in-home care providers for the disabled, and drug abuse counselors in Missouri are facing a two percent payment reduction from the state. Last week, Governor Jay Nixon announced the move as part of a response to declining revenues.

Alan Flory is head of Rediscover, a community mental health center in Jackson County. He says there's no simple answer to the state's fiscal situation, but he says the reduction now means Rediscover will have less ability to respond to people in need of immediate help.

"Our crisis services are funded as a percentage off of everyone's rates," says Flory. "So this rate cut, for instance, directly impacts the crisis phone system, the crisis mobile team, the response we do to hospitals."

Flory says mental health centers like Rediscover are also increasingly strained because in December, the state stopped providing funds to them for treating of low-income patients not on Medicaid.

Michelle Krajewski is with The Whole Person, a local agency that assists people with disabilities. She says the reduction will make things more difficult, but the situation will still be manageable.

"I don't think it's going to mean that people who need services are going to go without services," says Krawjeski. "What it's going to mean is that we're just going to have to do more with less."

Krajewski says that will likely translate to less time for clients, higher case loads, and an overextended staff.

Funding for health care coverage on KCUR has been provided by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

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