A federal Medicaid official says Kansas is making "substantial progress" toward a major expansion of the Medicaid privatization program known as KanCare.
During a statewide teleconference Wednesday, Kansas officials said the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is on the verge of approving the state’s plan to move residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities to the program. It would put residential, employment, and independent living services under the control of the private insurance companies that run KanCare.
Editor's note: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services did not approve the inclusion of long-term services for the intellectually and developmentally disabled into KanCare, according to a report published this morning by the Kansas Health Institute. We will update this post as more information becomes available.
The original story, reported prior to the report, starts here:
On Monday morning, Kansas Department of Health and Environment director of Health Care Finance, Kari Bruffett, addressed a packed legislative oversight meeting about issues with Kansas' new privatized Medicaid program, KanCare. Her department oversees the work of the three managed care companies that started administering the program that was rolled out this year.
She said that most of the glitches that came at the start of KanCare have been fixed, and the new system is now working nearly as well as the old Medicaid system.
At the beginning of the year, Kansas launched KanCare, the first fully privatized managed care system for delivering Medicaid coverage. It was introduced as a way to cut costs, but some people are finding the cost-cutting is coming at expense of services.
On KCUR's news program KC Currents we discussed how well KanCare is meeting its goals and what plans there are to address concerns.
The state of Kansas has submitted its first quarterly update on KanCare to the federal government.
The federal waiver that gives Kansas the authority to experiment with its Medicaid program by privatizing the entire system requires a progress report four times a year.
The first report covers the period from January first through March 31st. It shows that a total of more than 344,000 Kansans enrolled in KanCare during the first three months. At the end of March, however, there were fewer than 324,000 still enrolled—a drop of more than 20,000 people.
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.
The clock is ticking for the 380,000 Kansans whose health insurance comes through the Medicaid program now known as KanCare.
The KanCare program assigned each member to one of three private companies administering the benefits as of the first of the year. Members who prefer to switch to a different company have to do so no later than this Thursday.
At a recent educational meeting in Hays, KDHE policy and program analyst Effie Swanson said one reason to switch might be if your doctor is not signed up with your health plan’s network.
Medicaid is the second-largest program that Kansas operates, next only to education. And costs of the health program for the poor and disabled have been growing at a faster pace than most other programs. A desire to control those costs and improve care is why officials in Governor Sam Brownback’s administration have embarked on a massive plan to overhaul the system.
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Family members and caregivers of Kansans with developmental disabilities are not happy with the Brownback Administration’s plan to include them in the new managed care approach to Medicaid services called KanCare.