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Archives: KHI News Service

On January 1, 2017, the KHI News Service became part of KCUR public radio’s new initiative, the Kansas News Service. The Kansas News Service will continue to cover health policy news and broaden its scope to include education and politics. All stories produced by the former KHI News Service are archived here. Stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution and a link back to KHI.org.

Oversight committee chair frustrated by KEES delays

Pilcher-Cook requests more information on computer system status

By Andy Marso | January 23, 2015

The leader of the Legislature’s KanCare oversight committee said Friday she is “frustrated” by delays in the rollout of a new state computer system for determining eligibility for Medicaid and other state assistance.

Glen Yancey, chief information technology officer for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said he and contractors from Accenture continue to work toward full implementation of the Kansas Eligibility and Enforcement System.

The system was originally slated to go live in October 2013, and Yancey said a year ago that he was confident the full rollout would occur some time in 2014. But the state and Accenture missed that deadline projection as well.

Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, a Republican who chairs the Robert G. Bethell Joint Committee on Home and Community Based Services and KanCare Oversight, said Friday her frustration stemmed from her background as a software engineer coupled with a lack of information about the project’s status.

“I would like to see our implementation dates, what the different versions are and the dates and what the status is, what the added functionality of bug fixes are for each version and also what the future priorities for functionality and bug fixes are,” Pilcher-Cook said. “Something that gives us more of a concrete idea of what is actually being implemented now and what we can see in the future.”

Yancey said he is working with Accenture to finalize a release plan that will list all defects, fixes and implementation dates. The plan will also identify future priorities.

“We can certainly provide that to you,” he said. “It’s in its final stages of being developed and we’re also working very closely with CMS (the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services because they want the same information.”

KEES is slated to cost $137 million — much of it federal money — and replace a decades-old computer system. Among other functions, it was intended to be able to transfer consumer information with the federal health insurance exchange, Healthcare.gov, which steers users either toward Medicaid or often-subsidized private insurance plans based on their age, income and disability status.

Yancey said Friday that a KEES pilot is already doing those transfers, but his department had identified three major areas that must be addressed before the full system goes live.

The three areas are the rate of Medicaid Management Information Systems errors, “correspondence defects,” and the state workforce’s readiness.