The deadline for submitting public comment on the proposed changes in the waivers that define the state’s Medicaid-funded services for frail seniors, people with physical and developmental disabilities, and those who’ve suffered traumatic brain injury is Dec. 20.
Last month, the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services released information indicating a Dec. 10 deadline for comments.
The comment period was later extended to Dec. 20 to ensure compliance with a federal rule that requires a 30-day comment period.
KDADS hosted public hearings on the proposed changes Nov. 12, 13 and 14.
Early Thursday, the public comment form on the KDADS website indicated a Dec. 10 deadline. However, KDADS officials corrected the date on the website form Thursday afternoon.
“All of us the advocacy community know the deadline is Dec. 20,” said Sean Gatewood, interim director of the Kansas Health Consumer Coalition. “I’m not worried about us, I’m worried about the people who are going to be affected by this.”
Gatewood said the proposed changes have generated considerable concern among advocacy groups.
“There are a lot of us who’ll be filing public comment,” he said. “There is no doubt about that.”
Most of the concerns, he said, focus on potential reductions in services that help frail elders and people with disabilities live in community-based settings rather than nursing homes.
“There is the potential for significant disruption in how case management is performed in the state for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Matt Fletcher, a spokesperson for InterHab, the association that represents most of the state’s community-based programs for the developmentally disabled.
“That’s a huge issue for persons who rely upon their relationships with their case managers,” he said.
InterHab, Fletcher said, will be filing its concerns with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services regional office in Kansas City, Mo.
Mitzi McFatrich, executive director with Kansas Advocates for Better Care, said her group will be commenting as well. KABC represents the interests of Kansas nursing home residents and their families.
“We’ll be citing several areas of concern, yes,” McFatrich said.
Though the waivers expire Dec. 31, the process allows CMS to grant temporary extensions.
Kansas’ waivers for the brain-injured and the developmentally disabled expired June 30 but were extended to Dec. 31.
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