Kansas Governor Sam Brownback announced today his administration has begun its preparations to implement the largest reorganization of state agencies in state history. Lt. Governor Jeff Colyer, M.D., Aging Secretary Shawn Sullivan, SRS Secretary Phyllis Gilmore, and KDHE Secretary Bob Moser, M.D. joined the Governor to lay out how the state will implement Executive Re-Organization Order Number 41.
"This ERO is a needed first step towards achieving key strategic objectives for reforming our state's Medicaid system. It is a crucial component of KanCare, the administration's plan to improve the quality of care and the health of Kansans who depend upon Medicaid," Governor Brownback said. "I appreciate the work that has gone into the planning and implementation of this reorganization."
Governor Brownback submitted the reorganization plan to the Kansas Legislature in February. Lawmakers had 60 days to reject the ERO. That deadline passed Friday, April 6, 2012.
"It's absolutely necessary that we take these steps for the long term financial health of our state. Delivering a higher quality of care to Kansans is the goal, and the first step was to streamline the agencies and make internal processes more efficient. That is what this ERO accomplishes," Dr. Colyer said.
Under the ERO, the Department on Aging will become the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services. It will absorb the Home and Community Based Services waivers, mental health programs and addiction programs, as well as all state hospitals and institutions to become a single stop shop for all long term care functions.
"The Department for Aging and Disability Services will work hard to keep people healthy, at home and independent," Aging Secretary Sullivan said. "The enhanced coordination between aging, disability, mental health and addiction services are an important part of breaking down current silos of care."
SRS will become the Department for Children and Families. The reconfiguration will allow the agency to further strengthen its targeted focus on children and family services. It also will continue to administer Adult Protective Services.
"These are truly historic changes the Governor is making in our state," SRS Secretary Gilmore said. "The Governor is creating an agency that targets one of the principal goals set out in his Road Map for Kansas: improving the lives of the children who live here. This reconfiguration of state agencies will allow SRS to strengthen and consolidate its children and family services efforts -- strong families make a strong Kansas."
Through executive order last year, KDHE added a third division in July 2011 with the Division of Health Care Finance. ERO 41 provides that KDHE's DHCF maintain its Medicaid responsibilities through the financial management and program oversight of KanCare. The Health Occupations Credentialing program within the Division of Health is moving to KDADS, resulting in a more streamlined process for long term care providers and Kansas consumers.
"Last year's Medicaid agency merger with KDHE has allowed the public health programs to work more closely with the Medicaid program and State Employee Health Plan, and I feel this only strengthens the public health mission in Kansas. The strong support that local health care providers are receiving from the State and from KDHE will continue," said Dr. Moser. "Through the course of our upcoming health and human services reorganization, the core public health functions will remain at KDHE within our Division of Health, which supports the framework for a chief goal for KanCare--to improve health outcomes for people in our State."
Governor Brownback also expressed his deep appreciation for the thousands of Kansans who took part in the process of developing the administration's plan to reform the state's Medicaid system.
"We began this process more than a year ago, asking for ideas on how to make Medicaid better for the Kansans who depend upon it. We listened to the 1600 that attended our town hall meetings and read the hundreds of ideas submitted online. We will continue to listen as we move forward on improving the health and well-being of our state's most vulnerable citizens," Brownback said.