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Sept. 27, 2012
TOPEKA Ten programs for developmentally disabled have expressed an interest in being part of a pilot project aimed at letting them contract with the KanCare managed care companies next year instead of waiting until 2014.
Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services Secretary Shawn Sullivan on Wednesday said he hopes to have the project’s design in place by late October or early November.
“We’re in the final stages of having a proposal put together now,” Sullivan said, addressing a meeting of the Joint Committee on Home and Community Based Services Oversight.
He declined to identify the 10 programs, noting that the initial responses were non-binding. Also, some of the programs, Sullivan said, may decide not to participate.
“Participation will be voluntary,” he said.
KanCare is Gov. Sam Brownback’s plan for letting three managed care companies — Amerigroup, UnitedHealthcare and Sunflower State Health Plan, a subsidiary of Centene — run almost all of the state’s Medicaid programs.
Earlier this year, lawmakers agreed to exclude non-medical services for the developmentally disabled from KanCare after families and advocacy groups protested their inclusion. Both groups cited concerns that services would be cut to ensure the managed care companies’ profits.
In response, legislators and Brownback officials agreed to postpone for a year adding the non-medical services to KanCare. Typically, the non-medical services include residential and day treatment services.
Medical services for the developmentally disabled — typically doctor visits, hospitalizations and nurse-supervised residential care — will remain in KanCare, which is scheduled to start Jan. 1, pending federal approval.
Sullivan said the project is meant to improve participants’ care coordination and give them early access to the managed care companies’ “value added” benefit packages.
The pilot's outcomes, he said, will be subject to a rigorous measurement process.
Tom Laing, executive director at Interhab, an association that represents most of the state’s community-based programs for the developmentally disabled, said his members are skeptical.
“I don’t know that (KDADS) is piloting whether the (Kancare) model will succeed as much as it’s saying, ‘We can make it succeed if we keep it small enough and controlled enough,’” Laing said.
“I think the program people at KDADS are trying to figure out how to make this work — and we commend them for that,” he said. “But we’re not entirely sure that this is going to be a productive exercise.”
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