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KANCARE Not Working for People with Disabilities, Advocates Say

July 31, 2015

During a public listening session hosted by the National Council on Disability (NCD) earlier this month, disability rights advocates, including representatives from the Disability Rights Center of Kansas, spoke on concerns about the capacity of KanCare, the state’s Medicaid managed care model, to provide continuity and quality in long-term services and supports. Kansas was the first state to put all Medicaid services under managed care including long-term services and supports. The transition to managed care has aimed to integrate medical care with long-term services and supports as well as behavioral health services. The National Council on Disability elected to host this forum to solicit feedback on KanCare’s successes and needs, in order to better inform the Council’s submission to CMS in advance of new rules on Medicaid managed care.

Since KanCare began in 2013, there has been a 27 percent drop in emergency room visits by people with disabilities receiving home- and community-based services. Kansas spent $65 million on HCBS waiting lists that had been growing for more than a decade, but are now shrinking. Since the KanCare launch, however, the number of people with disabilities actually receiving services has plummeted even though the waiting lists have shrunk. According to the Disability Rights Center of Kansas Executive Director Rocky Nichols, administrative hurdles have been a major contributing factor to the decrease in the number of people with physical disabilities receiving services. Representatives from service provision agencies raised additional concerns on service reductions, delays in claims processing and payments, and oversized caseloads for care coordinators.

Read more about the NCD listening session on KanCare.