Letters to the editor on KanCare, fish kill, food drive

05/17/2013 12:00 AM

05/16/2013 5:47 PM

KanCare issues being resolved

I represent more than 18,000 nursing facility residents and the providers who care for them. For years, my members have expressed concerns about the long-term sustainability of Medicaid. As that concern grew, we understood that changes were needed in the way states finance long-term care. KanCare was touted as providing that answer.

There was significant anxiety leading up to implementation in January, with our greatest fear being that small rural nursing facilities would not be able to survive under a managed-care system and that residents of those facilities might be displaced from their communities and separated from their families. We feared delays in payment and a lack of readiness to address concerns.

The first several weeks of KanCare were tense, but the administration has worked diligently with our members to resolve any problems that have occurred. Daily calls, face-to-face training and troubleshooting sessions occurred all through the first quarter. Changes are still occurring, and we are challenged at times as we form new relationships, but our worst fears are not materializing.

On behalf of our membership, I would like to thank the administration for partnering with us to address issues as they have arisen. We look forward to continuing to work with the state to address administrative challenges while we move forward with KanCare.


CEO and president

Kansas Health Care Association


Losing benefits

My daughter became mentally and physically disabled at age 26, which was more than 30 years ago. She began going to the Training and Evaluation Center of Hutchinson in 1984.

In early 2013, my daughter was evaluated by a KanCare caseworker. We were informed that with the approval of a supervisor, my daughter could continue to attend TECH, where she could continue developing self-care skills. When I followed up on the final approval, I was told that because of the physical disability waiver, my daughter would not qualify for TECH services. Instead, she could have someone come to our home to clean her room, run bathwater and heat her supper.

This is not equivalent to the services that she had received at TECH, which included learning skills such as reading, writing, personal care and teamwork. When I asked if the person who would be assisting my daughter could take her for short walks or work on her cognitive skills, the answer was “no.”

Until this point, we were always told that the benefits my daughter had would continue, not be taken away. This is what is happening, under the guise of saving money, to Kansans who cannot help themselves though no fault of their own.



Something fishy

An article in The Eagle last month really blew my mind (“Fish ladder update tops commission agenda,” April 21 Outdoors). The article said that “most fish ladders, which allow fish to move upstream over a gradual procession of rising steps, are made in cold rivers and streams so salmon and trout can access spawning grounds upstream.”

I have lived in Wichita 54 years and did not know we had salmon and trout in the Arkansas River. I do know that we have a lot of carp, drum, gar, channel catfish, flathead, bullhead, and maybe a few white bass and wipers. I would hazard a guess that 80 percent of the fish in the river are considered “rough fish” as opposed to “game fish.” There has been an advisory about eating the fish caught in the river.

So I wondered: Why the importance of the fish in the river? I got the answer this week (“KDHE fines Wichita for sewage leak: $700,000,” May 14 Eagle). About a year ago, some raw sewage leaked into the river and killed about 850 fish. The amount of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s fine for compensatory damages was $243,195 – or $286 per fish. Wow.



Food drive thanks

I wish to thank the people of Wichita and the surrounding communities for their participation in the 21st-annual letter carrier food drive. In Wichita alone, more than 142,000 pounds were collected.

I also would like to thank all of the postmasters who helped make this drive a success. The U.S. Postal Service commits time and resources to this effort on behalf of communities, and the payoff is substantial. This food drive replenishes the supply at the Kansas Food Bank and other local food banks, which gets very low at this time of year.

Volunteers assisted the carriers upon their return from the streets, helping unload the food. They came from all walks of life. Truck drivers of the Kansas Road Team, as they are called, also volunteered their time. The following companies provided the trucks to transport the collected food to the Kansas Food Bank: UPS, Con-way Freight, Dugan Truck Line, Vitran Express, Old Dominion Freight Line and Land Air Express. A huge “thank you” to you all.

Finally, a “thank you” to my fellow carriers. We were blessed with near-perfect weather this year for the drive. But that didn’t make it any easier to perform your normal duties while participating in the food drive. Thank you and congratulations.



National Association of Letter Carriers

Branch 201


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