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Kansas Medicaid reform plan wins points with state's medical society

The Kansas Medical Society announced in mid-January that it supports many provisions of KanCare, a proposal by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback's administration to provide Medicaid enrollees more integrated, higher-quality care and limit Medicaid spending growth.

KanCare is both a consolidation of existing state agencies serving the state's 378,000 Medicaid enrollees and an attempt to incentivize managed care organizations to provide comprehensive, coordinated, quality care. It includes a medical home program for Medicaid enrollees who require more complex care. It also would create health savings accounts for enrollees in an attempt to give them a better understanding of and more control over the cost of their care. The state plans to launch KanCare in January 2013.

Kansas Medical Society Executive Director Jerry Slaughter said his organization supports the physician-related parts of KanCare and remains neutral on its other provisions. KanCare would not reduce physician Medicaid fees or beneficiary program eligibility, and it sets quality goals. "The status quo is a nonstarter," he said.

The state used $250 million in highway funds to fill a fiscal 2012 Medicaid budget gap, Slaughter said. The state's Medicaid budget grew by an annual average of 7.4% during the last decade, according to state figures.

However, organizations caring for the developmentally disabled are concerned that KanCare will lead to funding restrictions for those individuals' care. No state has handed over Medicaid care of the developmentally disabled to for-profit managed care organizations as Kansas is planning to do, Matt Fletcher said. He's associate executive director of InterHab, a statewide organization with 40 member organizations that care for the developmentally disabled.

KanCare technical bids were due to the state by Jan. 31, and cost bids are due by Feb. 22. The state plans to select three managed care organizations to administer the program, said Miranda Steele, MPA, a spokeswoman for the Kansas Dept. of Health and Environment.

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