Reform will improve disability services
Some have suggested that disability services provided by the state through the home- and community-based services Medicaid waiver should be separated from the proposed managed-care program known as KanCare. I disagree.
The physical disability waiver has provided quality care for many Kansans who would not be able to stay in their homes without these services. Unfortunately, the current system also has resulted in long waiting lists for services due to conflicts of interest, fraud and abuse. KanCare will separate those who determine eligibility from those who provide these services, resulting in smaller waiting lists and the direction of care to those who are in the greatest need.
Under the developmentally disabled waiver, service providers have done an excellent job of providing community supports. However, many times there is inadequate coordination of care with the physicians who provide medical support. Better control of diabetes, as well as cancer screenings and other preventive tests, can keep developmentally disabled Kansans healthy and reduce hospital admissions. There also will be measures that strengthen expectations for employment of the disabled within the managed-care program.
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Concern with change is understandable, but by working together Kansas can remain a leader in the delivery of high-quality home- and community-based Medicaid services.
Rep. DAVID CRUM
I am the mother of a young woman with Down syndrome, and I have read the document produced by the administration titled “KanCare Consumer Frequently Asked Questions.” Though I think this document was intended to reassure me, the opposite occurred.
The opening statement – “Insurance companies are profit-driven” – served only to feed my fear that the proposed KanCare program, however well-intentioned, is ill-fated.
In spite of promises from Gov. Sam Brownback’s office that existing benefits and services will continue under KanCare, no provider rates will be reduced, and savings to Kansas will be achieved through care coordination, I am still dubious. How can services be improved and money saved for Kansas by hiring a whole cadre of out-of-state profiteers as overseers?
While there is nothing inherently wrong with being “for profit,” when companies are described as “profit-driven,” I have a hard time believing that their bottom line is the best interest of my child and thousands of Kansans like her with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This is especially true when they have no proven expertise in the field.
I encourage those who share my concerns to contact their legislators and urge them to support the House and Senate resolutions to delay the implementation of KanCare.
CAMMIE JO FUNSTON
Sometimes we have to ask our leaders to plan the regional economy and help develop useful policies and resources that local communities can utilize for housing, transportation, water resources, the economy and jobs. We can be thankful that Wichita and Sedgwick County are talking to each other and working with area cities.
Wednesday’s Sedgwick County Commission vote supporting a federal planning grant will help engage communities in the greater metropolitan area in common goals for south-central Kansas and enhance the region’s economic competitiveness. Thanks for looking ahead.
Clean up cabs
Several letter writers have been critical of the city for wanting to enforce rules on taxi drivers, including that they wear shirts and keep their cabs clean.
I was a Yellow Cab lease driver for 18 months in San Diego. As a lease driver, I had a license to operate as an independent. I could negotiate a flat rate for a long-distance run.
All customers took the first cab in the line. However, if a professional lady saw the driver wearing a tank top, shorts and flip-flops, and if his cab looked like it had been slept in, she could ask the dispatcher for another cab. I got a lot of fares off how the other drivers were dressed. I also was flagged down on the freeway when other cabs had run out of gas.
A cabbie’s appearance goes a long way in getting good tips.
Final Four team
There is another team that has made the Final Four this year, and its efforts and that of the people who made it possible deserve some recognition.
The program is the National Academic League. It was originally cut by the USD 259 school board. But thanks to the community of Wichita and its donations and some surprise funding, it survived for this year at least.
A very special “thanks” is deserving for so many, most of whom worked as purely volunteers. Col. Robert Hester, Barbara Brotton, Gary Mitchell, Wendy Donaldson, Hazel Atherton and school board member Lanora Nolan have given their time to make this year so successful.
Congratulations to Hadley Middle School for its second City League title, and best wishes for the team as it competes Tuesday in the Final Four of the NAL national tournament. Hadley has an outstanding group of young people who are working hard to make all of Wichita proud of them.
CAROL A. LEMONT