Governor's Office Willing To Postpone Developmental Disability Services From KanCare

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Governor's office announced late Wednesday that it would support a proposal to keep services for people with developmental disabilities out of the KanCare program - at least, for now.

In a news release, Gov. Sam Brownback and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer said they would endorse a proposal from the House, Senate and advocates for the developmentally disabled to postpone inclusion of waiver services for individuals with developmental disabilities until Jan. 1, 2014. During that time, the Governor's office says, it would allow voluntary pilot programs.

Hundreds of advocates rallied on the Statehouse steps earlier Wednesday against including those services in KanCare. InterHab executive director Tom Laing said KanCare is focused largely on medical care. However, he said, the services being discussed included things like employment, housing and day programs. He says those items are inappropriate to include under the KanCare umbrella.

Brownback's administration plans to turn the management of Medicaid over to three private companies, starting in 2013. Medicaid covers medical services for the poor, needy and disabled.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Complete news release from Gov. Brownback's office:
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, M.D. announced today (Wednesday) that their administration endorses a proposal by members of the House and Senate as well as advocates of the developmental disability community to postpone the inclusion of waiver services for individuals with developmental disabilities into KanCare until January 1, 2014 and to allow voluntary pilot programs.

Gov. Brownback said they recognize the uncertainty many still feel about the coming changes in the state’s Medicaid system.

“Dr. Colyer and I are dedicated to improving the health and well-being of all Kansans. We are confident the new KanCare system will work for the greater good of those who depend upon Medicaid. We believe that allowing another year of discussion and input from the developmental disability community will make them comfortable with the program and allow us to craft solutions to the concerns they’re expressing,” Brownback said.

Lt. Gov. Colyer said the administration feels strongly the KanCare reforms will work to improve the health and social outcomes for our most vulnerable Kansans and in the long run will help the state address the waiting lists for waiver services.

“We have heard the concerns expressed by family members of developmentally disabled individuals about the coming reforms and the pace of the change in particular. We believe this staggered implementation will allow for more conversations, more public input, and a more effective implementation for persons utilizing developmental disability waiver services,” Colyer said.

Gov. Brownback and Dr. Colyer said they look forward to working with state lawmakers and community partners to implement all other provisions of KanCare, including medical and behavioral health services for the developmentally disabled, on the original timeline slated for launch on January 1, 2013.

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