KanCare

January of 2013, Kansas turned the management of its $3 billion Medicaid program over to three big, for-profit companies and renamed it KanCare.

At the time, Governor Sam Brownback said privatizing Medicaid would both reduce costs and improve the care provided to low-income, disabled and elderly Kansans. But as Jim McLean of the KHI News Service reports, more than a year after KanCare's launch, questions remain about how well it's working.

Find more information here about KanCare and how its working.

Health officials say none of the state's KanCare providers met benchmarks for timeliness in claims processing during 2013.

The state set a goal to have all claims without mistakes processed in 20 days and all claims processed in 60 days.

An August report from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment said the state's three KanCare providers - Amerigroup, Sunflower Health and United Healthcare - failed to meet that benchmark in any month last year.

The state’s new inspector general for KanCare can’t conduct oversight work until he is confirmed by the Kansas Senate, which isn’t in session.

Phil Hermanson began work in April as inspector general. His job is to identify fraud in the state’s new privately-run Medicaid system known as KanCare.

The former Kansas House member has no investigatory or auditing expertise, a DUI conviction and business bankruptcy, and personal finance and campaign ethics problems.

http://www.kancare.ks.gov

Questions are being raised about a former legislator’s credentials for a top job in the Brownback administration. Jim McClean of the KHI News Service has details.

Gov.  Sam Brownback is making a major push to improve the state’s mental health system. The governor's plan creates a behavioral health sub-cabinet within state government, targets substance abuse for its role in exacerbating mental illness, and increases financial investment in current treatment programs, among other things. 

A Kansas legislative oversight committee is holding a daylong hearing to review the state’s KanCare system that provides Medicaid to poor, elderly and disabled Kansans.

The committee meeting this morning includes a discussion of the state’s waiting lists for people seeking home and community-based services, as well as recent estimates for demand for those services over the next 18 months.

Kansas privatized the program in 2013 to reduce the growth of health care costs, which are shared by state and federal sources.

Some Kansas dentists say low reimbursement rates and slow KanCare claims processing are keeping them from accepting new patients covered by the state's managed care program.

Manhattan dentist E. Hamrick Swan Jr. says the reimbursement rate for KanCare patients is about 40 percent of his fee.

While he still takes KanCare patients, he said he has to limit the number of new ones he can accept.

The National Council on Disability says federal officials should delay Kansas’ plan to move services for the developmentally disabled into its Medicaid managed care program. As Jim McLean of the KHI News Service reports, the council’s recommendation is the latest development in a long running battle over including disabled Kansans in KanCare.

A legislative oversight committee is meeting on Monday to hear a status report on changes made to the state's Medicaid program.

The state contracted with three private managed-care organizations earlier this year; they administer Medicaid programs for the poor, elderly, and disabled.

The Joint Committee on Home and Community Based Services and KanCare Oversight will hear from groups that represent developmentally disabled and community-based service providers.

Kansas Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer says the state's new Medicaid managed care program will deliver on its promise to save $1 billion over five years.

Colyer says the three private insurance companies managing the KanCare program will achieve those savings because their bottom lines depend on it.

"And the big stick in this is, we're going to hold back half a billion dollars from the insurers over the next five years," Colyer says.

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