Opinion Columns & Blogs

KanCare demands much more scrutiny

Privatizing Medicaid in Kansas in 2013 was a huge undertaking with many moving parts for providers and many scary uncertainties for clients. And the transition has been uneasy at best – including for the three managed-care companies, who collectively lost nearly $170 million during KanCare’s first two years. So the more scrutiny and oversight the better, right? Yet the state has lacked a KanCare inspector general since January 2014 (not counting the unqualified and unconfirmed one who resigned after two months). And last week a legislative panel nixed a proposed audit of KanCare that would have assessed such key issues as the timeliness of payments to hospitals and the quality of services for individuals with disabilities. “We have been working on all these issues. They’ve been handled in an expedient manner,” said Sen. Michael O’Donnell, R-Wichita. Advocates as well as other lawmakers have complained, though, of difficulty in getting KanCare data out of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Legislators should do more to hold KDHE accountable and ensure that KanCare is operating as promised. – Rhonda Holman