Opinion Columns & Blogs

Raise rates for care of Kansans with developmental disabilities

It is good that state lawmakers are considering increased funding for home- and community-based services for Kansans with intellectual and developmental disabilities – though that will be difficult due to the state’s severe financial problems. It’s been almost nine years since the state raised rates to I/DD service providers. That’s made it difficult to attract and retain caregivers, who average only about $8 an hour for work that can be draining. High turnover can be stressful for Kansans with disabilities, who often struggle to adjust to change. It also can take time for caregivers to build bonds with clients and learn their special care needs. Advocates also argue that moving long-term I/DD care to the privatized KanCare system has led to cuts to services and delays and denials of payments. “We are putting people at risk of harm,” said Colin McKenney, CEO of Starkey in Wichita.