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June 28, 2012
TOPEKA State officials today announced the creation of four stakeholder work groups that they said would help ensure a smooth transition to KanCare, Gov. Sam Brownback’s plan for remaking the state’s Medicaid program.
“Anyone who’s worked on these projects knows there are going to be a lot of bumps in the road and that some of those bumps may be rocks and some may be boulders,” said Dr. Susan Mosier, Medicaid director at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
The work groups, she said, would help KDHE and the Kansas Department on Aging “kick over the rocks and remove as many of the boulders as possible.”
Mosier addressed a get-acquainted meeting of the work groups at the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services Learning Center in Topeka. She was joined by KDoA Secretary Shawn Sullivan and Kari Bruffett, KDHE director of health care finance.
Bruffett told the panel members that the administration was committed to a “standardization of the processes” in order to lessen many of the administrative hassles that accompany managed care.
Earlier this week, the Governor’s Office announced that it had picked the three managed care companies it wants to administer the bulk of the state’s Medicaid programs, effective Jan. 1, 2013.
The three winning companies were Amerigroup, UnitedHealthcare and Sunflower State Health Plan, a subsidiary of Centene.
The unsuccessful bidders were WellCare and Coventry.
In Kansas, Medicaid currently serves about 383,000 people – children and pregnant women, mostly – at an annual cost of about $2.8 billion.
“We are not turning over our Medicaid system to private contractors,” Sullivan said. “We’re not wanting them to duplicate what’s already being done by the fine providers that we already have. (KanCare) will be partnership between the state, the three managed care entities and the current provider networks.”
About 65 people – a mix of state employees, physicians, pharmacists, hospital and nursing home administrators, program directors, and advocates – attended the 90-minute session. Twenty participated via speaker phone.
The plan, officials said, was for the work groups to meet monthly, perhaps bi-weekly.
“There’s lots to do,” said Kimberly Brown, assistant director of Medicaid and management at SRS and vice chair of the KanCare work group that will address provider concerns.
The other groups are tasked with focusing on long-term care issues affecting the elderly and disabled, communications with Medicaid beneficiaries and non-medical topics such as non-emergency transportation, conflict-free case management and community-based services for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled.
Each of the work groups’ chairs and vice chairs are program managers at either KDHE or KDoA.
Between them, the two departments will have 18 “internal work groups,” each assigned to a specific issue, officials said.
Mosier said KDHE and KDoA may convene a fifth work group for addressing issues affecting the state’s Native American population.
The minutes of each work group’s meetings will be posted on a stand-alone KanCare website that’s under construction, officials said.
The groups’ initial meetings:
• July 12 – KanCare Specialized Healthcare and Network Issues Work Group, from 1 p.m. to 3 pm, Room 106, Landon State Office Building, Topeka;
• July 13 – Kancare Member Involvement and Protections Work Group, from 10 a.m. to noon, 9th floor conference room, Landon State Office Building, Topeka;
• July 26 – KanCare Provider Work Group, from 10 a.m to noon, at a location to be determined.
Officials said a meeting date for the KanCare Managed Care Organization Work Group would be posted later on the KDHE website.
“We’re going to meet a lot to get this work done,” said Elizabeth Phelps, vice chair of the MCO Work Group.
She said the group would begin by meeting twice a month but then perhaps reduce the frequency to once a month.
Phelps is director of Medicaid and program oversight at SRS.
After July 1, Medicaid administrators at SRS will move to KDoA, which will become the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services.
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