Nearly 200 parents, case workers, service providers and state officials attended a town hall meeting last week at Overland Park Christian Church, where a new health home initiative for developmentally disabled Kansans was discussed.
Parents of adult children with developmental disabilities say state officials are breaking a pledge made during negotiations last year that led legislators to include Medicaid-funded home- and community-based services for the developmentally disabled in the state's KanCare program.
Paul Davis, the Democratic candidate for Kansas governor, said on Wednesday that support services for developmentally disabled Kansans should not be part of KanCare, the state's privatized Medicaid program.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Paul Davis says if elected, he will reverse Gov. Sam Brownback’s controversial decision to put the private companies managing the state’s Medicaid program in charge of delivering support services to Kansans with developmental disabilities.
Brownback, a conservative Republican seeking a second term, privatized the state’s $3 billion Medicaid program in 2013 and renamed it KanCare to achieve two — and some say conflicting — goals of improving care and reducing costs.
Tim Musil, left, with Coder Engineering in Topeka, spoke at an event Monday where a new jobs initiative for Kansans with disabilities was announced. At right is Mike Donnelly, director of rehabilitation services at the Department of Children and Families.
State officials are intensifying their efforts to help Kansans with disabilities get jobs.
But advocates in the disability community are skeptical that an initiative announced Monday will be enough to reverse a recent trend that has seen a steady decline in the number of Kansans with disabilities placed in jobs.
The initiative, dubbed “End-Dependence Kansas,” will provide $25 million in mostly federal funds over the next five years to organizations that operate programs that help people with disabilities find employment.
A state official charged with overseeing Medicaid-funded services that help people with disabilities live in community-based settings rather than in nursing homes said Tuesday that coming changes in federal wage and hour rules are likely to increase costs, reduce access to care and give beneficiaries less say in deciding who will provide their care.
Merriam has become the first city in the Midwest to adopt a more contemporary version of the wheelchair-accessible icon. At a town hall meeting Monday night, the city council voted unanimously to replace the old icon, which has been in use since 1968.
“I have to give the city council credit for that because they believed in that and they wanted to welcome disabled people into the community," says Al Frisby, the councilman who proposed the change after a friend, Finn Bullers, called the new icon to his attention.
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.