Kan. Lawmakers Approve Disabilities Plan, Despite Pushback | KCUR

Kan. Lawmakers Approve Disabilities Plan, Despite Pushback

Jun 3, 2013

While the legislative session in Kansas has ended, many advocates for Kansans with intellectual and developmental disabilities are now worried about how the approved budget will affect services for some of the state’s most vulnerable residents.

Advocates like Tom Laing, with the service organization InterHab, fought against a proposed plan that would move non medical services, like adult day care, into a new Medicaid managed care program called KanCare.

In the final moments of the legislative session, lawmakers moved forward with that plan.

Laing says he and others are really worried about the change because they don’t think managed care organizations specializing in medical care have the wherewithal to oversee people’s non-medical needs. Laing also thinks it's going to add another layer of bureaucracy.

“Services are going to be harder to get, and it’s going to be harder for those service organizations to provide those services," says Laing.

Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services Secretary, Shawn Sullivan, disagrees. He believes the transition, slated for January 1, 2014, will go smoothly.

“In the long term our goals are to have better more preventative measures built into the system, to have better coordination of care and to have better outcomes of what we are paying for,” he says.

Sullivan says people will be able to keep their case managers. State law would have to be changed in order for there to be mandated changes to case managers.

Sullivan is planning a series of town-hall meetings around the state in the next few months to get more information out to people.

About 8,000 people are affected by the change.

State officials say they also plan to move another 600 people off of the disabilities waiting list and into services, due to savings that have already come from KanCare.

***Correction: In an earlier story, KCUR incorrectly reported that people would be able to keep their case managers in the short term. Under KanCare, people can continue to with their case managers permantently. The Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services notes that the Kansas Developmental Disability Reform Act protects people's ability to continue with their case managers.