TOPEKA - A bipartisan group of House and Senate legislators have introduced a resolution urging Gov. Sam Brownback to delay the implementation of the statewide KanCare program until July 1, 2013 in order to ensure that all participants will continue receiving quality services under Medicaid programs.

Medicaid primarily serves the health care needs of children, seniors and the developmentally disabled. Currently, the state invests $2.8 billion in tax dollars to administer Medicaid services through the Department of Social and Rehabilitative Services and the Department on Aging and Disability Services. Under the KanCare initiative proposed by Brownback, those funds would be redirected to a private insurance company. That insurance company would become responsible for administering services.

The resolution calls for further study in 2012 and 2013 to determine how medical care and long-term services and supports should be administered to low-income Kansans, the disabled and seniors.

“The Governor’s KanCare proposal will essentially privatize Medicaid,” said Rep. Jerry Henry (D-Cummings). “Evidence from other states indicate that the managed care process has caused serious problems for service providers and recipients. This includes late payments for claims and conflicts over what services are covered. By jumping into this without proper planning, providers will be unable to fulfill their obligations to the people they serve.”

There is particular concern about this plan’s impact on the developmental disabilities waiver population. Families and advocates for those with developmental disabilities have expressed that such a move could lead to cuts of in-home health services. Currently 4,800 Kansas adults and children remain on the developmental disabilities waiver waiting list.  The administration is unclear as to how this backlog will be addressed under the KanCare contracts.

“Legislators have heard from dozens of recipients, families and disability advocates who would be affected by a statewide transition to privately-operated managed care.  And the general consensus is that we’re moving too fast,” said Senator Dick Kelsey (R-Goddard).  “Medicaid is a massive and complex issue.  By rushing through the implementation process, the livelihood of more than 380,000 Kansans who rely on Medicaid services will be threatened. Reassessing our timeline would ensure local providers are prepared to meet the needs of Medicaid recipients without causing interruptions or delays in services.”

In addition to the people who rely on Medicaid services, the KanCare plan will dramatically change the way hospitals, pharmacies, nursing homes, dentists and long-term care providers do business in both rural and urban areas. Delaying the implementation of KanCare will ensure that these entities have been properly trained to carry out the day-to-day requirements of the program, and to ensure that they have put in place adequate procedures to ensure proper timing in the billing of claims.

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