KCUR News
12:29 am
Wed April 22, 2009

Kansas Health Agency Warns Of Pending Budget Cuts

Kansas City, MO – A Kansas house budget committee asked social service agencies yesterday to trim their budgets by an additional five percent, in an effort to deal with the state's lower revenue projections. But the Kansas Health Policy Authority - which oversees the state's Medicaid program - says the move would have devastating effects. KCUR's Elana Gordon reports.

Marcia Nielson is the agency's director, and says the budget cuts would affect core health services and force the agency to reduce Medicaid reimbursements to physicians. She also says the request puts the agency in an even deeper bind - she says that's because previous budget reductions have made it harder to handle a growing number of families seeking health services through the state.

NIELSON: We have more and more applications showing up at the clearing house, but fewer workers there. And so we now have a backlog of 11,000 applications. That backlog will continue to grow.

Nielson says the delays could lead to violations of federal Medicaid rules. She says that in turn could jeopardize funding for the program and put future stimulus money at risk.

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

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