Topeka (WIBW) - The Kansas Health Policy Authority says a grant should make it easier for children to get health care.
KHPA is reciveing a five-year, $40.3 million grant from the Health Resources Services Administration, a division of Health and Human Services. The money will be used to purchase new computer systems to manage KHPA’s eligibility system and to fund outreach efforts to make sure people in Kansas who are eligible for medical assistance actually get enrolled.
“This grant couldn’t come at a better time, as we gear up to implement the expansion of SCHIP that the legislature authorized this year,” said Dr. Andy Allison, Acting Executive Director of KHPA. “The SCHIP expansion will eventually add upwards of about 9,000 more children to the program. But the latest estimates suggest there may also be more than 30,000 Kansas children who are already eligible for either Medicaid or SCHIP, but for whatever reason are not enrolled. This grant will greatly improve our ability to reach the people we’re supposed to serve.”
Money from the grant will be used to hire additional counselors who will work directly with applicants out of safety net clinics throughout the state; develop an on-line application process for medical benefits; and acquire a new, automated eligibility system to replace the current system, which is more than 20 years old.
“One of the best ways to lower the cost of health care is to cut out redundant and complicated paperwork,” said Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson. “Improving health information technology is a critical step in that effort – unfortunately, with the current economic situation, states can’t afford to make the much needed computer upgrades, which is why this grant is so appreciated.”
In July 2009, there were 265,618 people enrolled in the Kansas Medicaid program. Another 38,683 were enrolled in SCHIP.
Currently, SCHIP is available to children up to age 18 in families with incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Legislation enacted this year will raise that limit up to 250 percent of the 2008 poverty level, or $44,000 per year for a family of three. The expansion will take effect in January 2010.