KanCare to start pilot program for those with developmental disabilities

KanCare will begin providing services to Kansans with developmental disabilities in a pilot program on March 1, according to a news release from the Department for Aging and Disability Services.

People who are developmentally disabled began to receive medical care through the new KanCare program in January, but the support services portion that’s covered under Medicaid was exempted when the Legislature passed a proviso delaying the move until January 2014.

It’s unclear whether any area providers will participate in the pilot.

The Sedgwick County Developmental Disability Organization, an extension of the county government that works with the state and providers, must participate if a provider and consumer agree to be a part of the pilot.

So far, no local providers have contacted the Sedgwick County organization about participating.

Some advocates and case managers oppose inclusion in the KanCare system, saying that if the current system isn’t broken, it doesn’t need to be fixed.

They also have concerns that the new managed care organizations that are a part of KanCare do not have adequate experience in this area, and they worry about timely reimbursements.

“We’ve been saying from the beginning that the long-term care services like what we offer do not fit in well with this model,” said Kevin Fish, executive director of ARC of Sedgwick County.

In January, Rep. Jim Ward, D-Wichita, introduced a bill called the Vulnerable Kansan Protection Act that would continue the current system.

Fish said his group and others will continue to push to be permanently exempted from KanCare and will support Ward’s bill.

He said he’s not aware of any providers in this part of the state who are interested in participating in the pilot program.

“I am confident that (people with developmental disabilities) will benefit significantly from the comprehensive, integrated care plans that will be available to them under KanCare,” KDADS Secretary Shawn Sullivan said in a news release. “They can expect better health outcomes as well as better-coordinated non-medical services once they are fully participating in KanCare.”

Colin McKenney, CEO of Starkey Inc., a service provider, said his organization does not plan to be part of the pilot. McKenney says he’s not convinced that the pilot will be a true test of what full implementation would look like in the state.

“What I’m looking for is some additional benefit that’s going to be achieved for the developmentally disabled through all the headaches to (switch),” he said. “So far, I’m not able to determine what benefits we’ll see.”