Davis criticizes KanCare payment delays

09/02/2014 6:43 PM

09/02/2014 6:43 PM

The Democratic candidate for governor weighed in on KanCare payment delays Tuesday and called for greater oversight of the program.

An August report from the Kansas Department of Health Environment showed that none of the three private companies handling the state’s Medicaid rolls met benchmarks for timely processing of claims in 2013.

The Kansas Health Institute reported last week that some rural hospitals have been hit hard by payment delays and are struggling to stay open. House Minority Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, said the payment delays were troubling when talking to reporters at a campaign event.

“I am hearing lots and lots of complaints all across the state from nursing homes, hospitals, physicians, home health agencies about claims being denied, claims being not paid, claims being paid very late,” Davis said. “It’s causing a lot of cash flow problems for healthcare agencies across the state. I think this is further proof that this is just not working very well.”

Sara Belfry, spokeswoman for KDHE, said that KanCare contracts stipulate that clean claims be paid within 30 days of submission and that data shows the three companies providing the service are making progress with hitting that mark.

“A review of claims submitted from January to July of this year shows that 99.98% of clean claims are paid within 30 days of submission to (a KanCare company),” Belfry said in an e-mail.

“Individual (healthcare) providers continue to struggle with some aspects of their billing. We are making every effort to assist them. KDHE continues to work with all (KanCare companies) on provider payment issues that arise,” Belfry said. “We believe KanCare is working better and more efficiently for the people it serves than old Medicaid system.”

Davis called for greater oversight of the program. He said the inspector general, a watchdog position that is currently unfilled, plays an important role in ensuring accountability.

Phil Hermanson, a former state representative from Wichita, stepped down as inspector general in June after a little more than a month on the job after questions about his qualifications arose.

“It took us a long time to get some oversight over the KanCare program and I think there’s a lot of unanswered questions out there,” Davis said. “And I want to be able to get in and really take a top-to-bottom look at it and find out what’s working and what’s not working.”

Reach Bryan Lowry at 785-296-3006 or blowry@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @BryanLowry3.

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