Politics & Government

KanCare has gone nearly two years without an inspector general

The state’s $3 billion KanCare program has gone nearly two years without an inspector general to serve as watchdog.

Susan Mosier, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, told lawmakers at a hearing this week that the agency has interviewed candidates and has continued to advertise the vacant position. But it has been unable to find someone qualified to serve as watchdog for the state’s privatized Medicaid program, KanCare.

Mosier said the agency had increased the position’s salary as a way to attract better candidates. An inspector general could now be paid up to $100,000 annually.

An inspector general would investigate fraud, waste and misconduct. The program has effectively been without one since January 2014, when Bill Gale stepped down from the post to take a position as a regional director for the Kansas Department for Children and Families.

Former Wichita Rep. Phil Hermanson was appointed to the post in April 2014, but resigned a little more than a month later after questions about his qualifications. The agency said at the time that Hermanson, who had not been confirmed by the Kansas Senate as required by law, had not begun performing the duties of the job despite receiving a paycheck.

Bryan Lowry: 785-296-3006, @BryanLowry3