Kansas delays disability services overhaul after complaints

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The state of Kansas says it’s delaying an overhaul in how it provides services to people with disabilities.

The Wichita Eagle reports the state announced the delay Tuesday, after concerns about changes were voiced by people with disabilities, their families, providers and caretakers. Thousands of people would be affected by the overhaul.

The change announced in August would condense seven Medicaid waivers based on disability type into one universal waiver. Additional services not usually allowed by Medicaid are provided by waivers.

State agencies wanted to switch over to the new waiver by July 1, but the delay pushes that back to Jan. 1, 2017.

The state Department of Aging and Disability Services said in a news release that the delay is the result of feedback from consumers, providers and stakeholders.

“We want to ensure that we have the details of how waiver integration will work firmly in place before we move ahead,” state Department of Health and Environment Secretary Susan Mosier said in the news release. “We want our consumers to be confident that their concerns have been addressed.”

Concerns stemmed in part from a promise that, without spending money, services would expand and the wait list would be trimmed. Some questioned how this was possible.

A work group of 75 people met Sept. 30 in Topeka, with the state wanting proposals from five focus groups by the end of October. Jeannette Livingston, assistant director of the Sedgwick County Developmental Disability Organization, said it was “very daunting” trying to come up with a unified policy.

Many of the waivers had policies specific to that disability type, said Dee Staudt, director of the Sedgwick County Developmental Disability Organization.

“There’s a lot to get your arms around to even know how to start,” Staudt said.

 

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

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