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.
The three private companies contracted to manage Medicaid services through KanCare lost money in the program's first year. That's according to a report released this week.
The total losses between the companies come to more than $100 million. Representative Jim Ward, a Wichita Democrat, is concerned that could lead to cost increases, service reductions or the companies eventually pulling out of the program altogether.
"Will they leave?" Ward asks. "And if they do leave, what impact will that have on the people who depend on Medicaid for services?"
A federal board that studies disability issues has been meeting in Topeka.
The National Council on Disability advises Congress and the president on matters affecting Americans with disabilities.
Gary Blumenthal is a member of the council and a former Kansas legislator. He says the group chose to meet in Kansas because of policies affecting people with disabilities, like the state's overhauled Medicaid program now managed by private companies.
Kansas officials have scheduled four meetings next week to discuss how people with disabilities will be affected when they're included in an overhaul of the state's Medicaid program.
The Department for Aging and Disability Services says the meetings are intended for physically and developmentally disabled Kansans, their families and groups that provided services. The sessions will give those parties a chance to ask questions about the overhaul.
KanCare beneficiaries can expect to receive an important mailing in the next few days.
The Affordable Care Act makes some changes that will require them to provide additional information about their households. The mailing is going out to 130,000 households that include children and pregnant women who are KanCare, formerly known as Medicaid, beneficiaries.