The federal government is allowing a Kansas program that administers Medicaid services to more than 400,000 people to continue for another year after an earlier request was denied.
Kansas said Monday the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services authorized a 12-month extension of KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program for low-income and disabled residents.
The federal agency denied an earlier extension request in January, saying the program was “substantially out of compliance“ with federal law and regulations, after investigators reviewed the program in October 2016.
The extension provides the Kansas Department of Health and Environment more time to craft the next version of KanCare. The program has been in place since 2013.
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The governor’s office said the state will post its proposal for KanCare 2.0 on Friday. The new program, if approved, would go into effect in 2019.
In November, Kansas will solicit bids from managed care organizations to participate in KanCare 2.0.
“Our focus on outcomes for patients is resulting in better all-around care for patients across the state,” Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing to take an innovative and conservative approach to healthcare that controls costs and results in better health outcomes for Kansans.”
Colyer spearheaded the creation of the program and is expected to become governor once Gov. Sam Brownback leaves for a position in the Trump administration.
When the federal agency initially denied the extension in January, investigators identified a series of shortcomings with the program’s administration, including diminished oversight by the state and a failure to provide beneficiaries with clear and consistent information.
The state put in place a corrective action plan to address the findings, which the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services accepted in May. As part of the extension, Kansas must continue implementing its corrective action plan.
Sean Gatewood, a spokesman for the KanCare Advocates Network, said Kansas should take the extension and ask for an additional 12-month extension for time to solve the problems facing the current program.
“The foundational issues with KanCare still exist,” Gatewood said.