KHI News Service

Medicaid makeover plan coming Tuesday

Governor, lieutenant governor and three Cabinet officials have called a news conference

By KHI NEWS SERVICE | November 07, 2011

Gov. Sam Brownback, Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer and three Cabinet officials have scheduled a news conference for 10 a.m. Tuesday to describe details of their plan for making over the Kansas Medicaid program.

Colyer and the sub-Cabinet working group that includes three state agency chiefs began developing the plan soon after Brownback took office in January.

Scheduled to appear with Brownback and Colyer at the press briefing are Dr. Robert Moser, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment; Shawn Sullivan, secretary of the Kansas Department on Aging; and Rob Siedlecki, secretary of the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services.

The plan is expected to include a significant expansion of managed care and the transfer of some services currently overseen by SRS to the Department on Aging, chiefly those dealing with the mentally ill and the physically or developmentally disabled.

That reorganization essentially will shift the SRS division of Disability and Behavioral Health Services to the Department on Aging, which will be renamed. Pedro Moreno, head of the division, will remain at SRS in a role to be announced later, according to administration sources.

About 350,000 Kansans currently benefit from the Medicaid program, which is funded about 60 percent by the federal government and about 40 percent by the state. Medicaid, over the past decade, has been one of the fastest growing portions of the state budget and this year is expected to cost about $2.8 billion, of which about $1 billion is the state's share.

Colyer and other administration officials early on said they hoped to find ways to cut state Medicaid costs between $200 million and $400 million in fiscal year 2013. But more recently, Colyer and other administration officials have been less specific about potential savings.

The reorganization of SRS will be the second major shuffling of Medicaid agencies since Brownback took office. Soon after becoming governor, Brownback announced he would dissolve the Kansas Health Policy Authority and shift its Medicaid responsibilities to a new Division of Health Care Finance at KDHE. That reorganization became effective July 1.