Kansas Officials Update Disabled Waiting List

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Two top officials in Gov. Sam Brownback's administration say the state has completed updated lists containing the names of physically disabled Kansans seeking in-home services.

Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer and Aging and Disability Services Secretary Shawn Sullivan announced Monday the list was cut to 2,197 people, reducing it by about a third after workers validated the names of those seeking services.

Advocates for the disabled had complained that people on the list were waiting too long to receive help they were entitled to under a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that states must provide services to people with disabilities.

Earlier this year, negotiations broke down between the Brownback administration and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and HHS forwarded the waiting list complaints to the Justice Department.

Complete news release from KS Dept. for Aging and Disability Services:

TOPEKA – Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) Secretary Shawn Sullivan announced today that, as the result of a review of the Home and Community Based Services Physical Disability (PD) Waiver program waiting list, the PD waiting list has been reduced by approximately one-third.

“We have been looking at ways to better manage the PD waiver program, and our first step was to get an accurate count of the number of individuals on the list. The waiting list has apparently been inflated,” Secretary Sullivan said. “Our recent survey of individuals who are on the list shows us that the actual waiting list is significantly smaller than originally reported to us.”

“This information gives us a credible basis for making policy decisions related to our administration of the PD waiver program,” the Secretary said.

KDADS contracted with an independent third-party call center to contact all of the 3,462 individuals who were on the waiting list as of last July.

There are currently 5,703 individuals receiving PD waiver services in Kansas. This waiver program is designed to provide services to help Kansans with physical disabilities to remain in their homes or other community-based settings. These services allow individuals to live as independently as possible with the assistance of supportive services provided through the waiver program. The PD waiver program promotes and supports participant self-determination.

In July, Answernet, based in Hays, began contacting individuals on the waiting list and was only able to reach 377 of the 3,462 on this list, about 11 percent. The results validated the belief that further work needed to be completed by KDADS to determine the integrity of the PD waiting list. With those results in hand, KDADS asked the Centers for Independent Living and other Case Management Entities to re-contact the clients they had added to the list and certify that the waiting list information was correct. The centers and entities were required to certify that contact information was updated, or to certify that the waiting list information is no longer correct (as the agency was unable to contact the person) or they no longer needed services and the person should be removed from the waiting list.

The results of the re-survey showed that the Centers for Independent Living and other Case Management Entities were able to certify that 1,226 individuals should be removed from the waiting list. The net result of the process is that the PD waiting list was reduced by approximately one-third, to 1,947. Approximately 250 new individuals were added to the list since the process began, for a current total of 2,197.

“We now have a better handle on the waiting list and will be able to make better decisions about how manage the waiting list and best utilize the funding provided by the Legislature for this program,” Secretary Sullivan said.

In the short term, KDADS will begin pulling 100 individuals off the waiting list to receive waiver services due to new money appropriated for the waiting list during the current state fiscal year. KDADS is also in the process of making several policy changes to better manage the waiting list. State staff will now manage the list instead of community providers.

In addition, individuals currently on the waiting list receiving state plan Medicaid services will benefit from regular interactions with their care coordinators employed by the new KanCare plans. Individuals on the wait list not enrolled in a KanCare plan will receive regular communication from KDADS staff. KDADS is also now contracting with Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs) to determine functional eligibility for the PD waiver (in addition to two other HCBS waivers) in order to eliminate the conflicts of interest within a system where the same organization had been able to determine eligibility, provide case management and provide services for the same client. The ADRC contract is with 11 non-profit area agencies on aging.