Letters to the Editor

Shawn Sullivan: Can keep case managers

There are more than 8,000 people served through Kansas’ intellectual and developmental disability home and community services waiver program whose long-term services and supports will be incorporated into KanCare in January. I want to make sure that everyone is crystal clear about the case-management aspect of this program.

The state has said consistently over the past two years that all individuals served under the I/DD waiver will be able to keep their local case managers through their local providers. That has not changed. KanCare will not require any individual on the I/DD waiver to change his or her case manager as long as that case manager is affiliated with the local community developmental disability organization, as is the requirement now.

The question was raised – again – when KanCare representatives announced that the state is also working with stakeholders to establish a new “health home” system for certain individuals under the KanCare umbrella (Sept. 25 Eagle). Health homes will be launched beginning in July 2014.

Health homes are not brick-and-mortar buildings but a model that provides “care coordination on steroids.”

Health homes are an optional Medicaid state plan benefit that Kansas has decided to utilize. This option allows states to establish health homes to coordinate care for individuals receiving Medicaid (KanCare) services who have chronic conditions. Under KanCare, health home providers will be expected to operate under a “whole person” philosophy, integrating and coordinating all primary, acute, behavioral health care and long-term services and supports to treat the whole person. It is a big-picture approach that has proved to enhance the overall health outcomes and quality of life for individuals who participate in it.

The KanCare health homes, beginning in July, will target people with severe mental illness and individuals with certain chronic physical conditions. This group will include some individuals on the I/DD program. Not everyone in the I/DD waiver program will qualify to be served through a KanCare health home.

Individuals on the I/DD program who qualify to be in a KanCare health home and choose to participate in health homes will be able to keep their local case managers. The health home providers will subcontract with their current providers or organizations.

Likewise, consumers on the I/DD waiver program who qualify to be in a KanCare health home may choose to opt out of the health home altogether. They, too, will still be able to keep their local case manager in KanCare.

Either way, I want I/DD consumers in KanCare to know that whether or not their care is coordinated through a health home, they will be able to keep their case managers.


Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services