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Sept. 28, 2012
TOPEKA The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services announced today that on Monday it will sign a contract with the Southwest Kansas Area Agency on Aging, putting the agency in charge of determining which in-home Medicaid services will be provided to the state’s frail elderly and disabled residents.
The Southwest Kansas Area Agency on Aging, in turn, will provide “sub-grants” to the other area agencies on aging throughout the state, according to a KDADS press release.
Collectively, the 11 area agencies on aging will become a statewide Aging and Disability Resource Center, or ADRC.
Plans call for the contract being signed during a ceremonial press conference at 12:30 p.m. Monday at the Statehouse, Room 251-S.
KDADS Secretary Shawn Sullivan has said he wants the ADRC to be up and running by Jan. 1, a date that coincides with the scheduled start of KanCare, Gov. Sam Brownback’s plan for remaking the state’s $2.9 billion Medicaid program.
The launch of KanCare remains contingent upon federal approvals.
Putting a single agency in charge of the assessment process, Sullivan said, should increase efficiency and address concerns that some of the state’s centers for independent living could inflate their assessments in ways that would generate more work — and therefore more revenue — for the their case management and home-health programs.
Historically, the state's area agencies on aging have not provided in-home services; instead, they’ve referred frail elders to agencies that do so.
“Objectivity has always been one of our core values,” Julie Govert Walter, executive director at the 18-county North Central-Flint Hills Area Agency on Aging in Manhattan, said during a recent interview with KHI News Service. “We’re not getting paid to provide a service in somebody’s home, so there’s no incentive to say they need a whole bunch of services they may not really need.”
The centers for independent living have endorsed putting the area agencies on aging in charge of the evaluation process.
Plans also call for putting the ARDC in charge of preliminary screening for Medicaid eligibility and helping beneficiaries choose the KanCare managed care company that’s best suited to meet their needs.
Under KanCare, virtually all of the state’s Medicaid enrollees will be enrolled in fixed-cost managed care plans run by three for-profit insurance companies:
• Sunflower State Health Plan, a subsidiary of Centene.
Brownback officials have said KanCare will reduce the growth in state and federal Medicaid spending by $1 billion over the next five years.
Of the state’s 383,000 Medicaid enrollees, about 12,000 receive in-home services designed to allow them to live in community settings rather nursing homes.
Collectively, home- and community-based services for the disabled and frail elderly cost taxpayers about $514 million ($218 million of which are state funds) in the fiscal year that ended June 30.
The KHI News Service is an editorially independent initiative of the Kansas Health Institute and is committed to timely, objective and in-depth coverage of health issues and the policy making environment. Find more about the News Service at khi.org/newsservice or contact us at (785) 783-2529.