Kansas will not be able to move forward Jan. 1 as planned with its KanCare expansion intended to include long-term supports for the developmentally disabled.
Instead, officials at the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services continue to talk with state officials about various concerns they have with the state’s plan.
Officials said the lack of a CMS sign-off for the Jan. 1 start more likely would result in a delayed approval after various changes are made to the plan as opposed to outright rejection of what has been one of the more controversial components of Gov. Sam Brownback’s ongoing Medicaid program makeover.
“They have told the state that they will not approve the 1115 waiver that carves in the DD folks on Jan. 1,” said Sen. Laura Kelly, a Topeka Democrat who has been in contact with CMS officials. “My sense is that this will just delay the decision.”
Kelly said there were four main areas of concern with the administration’s plan as outlined by federal officials and others:
• The number of disabled people on the state’s so-called “underserved list.”
• Concerns about whether the state can guarantee prompt payments for services by the state managed care companies to DD service providers.
• The state’s organizational structure for its KanCare ombudsman. Critics say the ombudsman should not be directly employed by a state Medicaid agency in order to assure greater independence.
• Concerns about “notices in the state’s 1915C waiver and proposed 1115C waiver amendment.
Brownback officials subsequently issued a statement saying they would continue talks with CMS through Feb. 1 in an effort to resolve or respond to the concerns that have been raised and during that interval develop a new implementation timeline for the KanCare expansion, to which they said they remain fully committed.
“Going forward, this administration aims to keep Kansans off the underserved list and reduce the (physical disability/developmental disability) waiting lists, and KanCare’s integrated care coordination is key to solving that longstanding issue,” Shawn Sullivan, secretary of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, said in the prepared statement.
Administration officials said they would mail letters to DD consumers and providers to notify them “of this temporary postponement” of the state’s expansion plan.
State officials said the delay also would allow adequate time for them and federal officials to review the latest public comments on the planned expansion.
Interhab, the association that represents most of the state’s Community Developmental Disability Organizations, filed comments earlier this week with CMS, newly outlining that group’s ongoing trepidations with the proposed carve-in of DD services.
The public comment period on the state’s so-called 1115C waiver amendment proposal did not officially close until Dec. 24 after being extended because of an earlier glitch on the CMS public comment website.
Interhab also sent a memo dated Dec. 23 to Sullivan at KDADS, urging the state to delay or cancel its plan to include DD long-term supports in KanCare due to - among other things - “too much detail work left undone.”
Earlier this month, the National Council on Disability, a federal advisory panel, urged CMS officials to delay for one year, the state’s request to include long-term DD supports and services in the state’s sweeping managed care plan. Medical services for the developmentally disabled were included in KanCare on Jan. 1, 2013 when virtually all the state’s 380,000 Medicaid beneficiaries were moved into managed care plans run by three major, for-profit insurance companies.