Kansas Lt. Governor Dr. Jeff Colyer released the following statement today in response to concerns regarding the timeline to implement KanCare, the administration's Medicaid reform proposal.
"Most Kansans don't realize that nearly 75 percent of Medicaid consumers in our state already receive some form of managed care. But their care is not coordinated, nor are their providers given incentives to improve their health outcomes. Instead our state has witnessed skyrocketing costs, growing waiting lists, fragmented care and disappointed, frustrated consumers. None of these outcomes are acceptable for our most vulnerable citizens.
"KanCare will provide less restrictive environments for many Medicaid consumers and decrease unnecessary hospitalizations. It will finally provide individuals with chronic conditions the coordinated and integrated behavioral health care, medical care and long-term services and supports they so badly need. It would be a costly mistake to postpone making these critical improvements to our system.
"The administration has moved slowly and with deliberation to develop and begin implementing these reforms. KanCare is the result of involved, detailed study and planning that began more than a year ago. Full implementation of KanCare will take more than 14 months.
"This is a far different than the paths taken by other states feeling the same budget pinch. Some states chose to simply impose rate cuts and stop providing care to thousands of needy citizens. Others pushed their Medicaid reform through rapidly. Kentucky spent less than eight months from concept to implementation of its reform and abruptly transferred 77% of its Medicaid consumers from fee-for-service model into managed care, causing great confusion for consumers and health care providers.
"Kansas is drawing from the best examples from around the country . We are putting in place policies to avoid stumbling blocks that have tripped up other states. Medicaid consumers will receive better services under KanCare. We will work with Kansans to ensure they understand the plan before it is implemented. KanCare contractors will be held accountable.
"We have undertaken this reform slowly but surely. Delaying KanCare will only guarantee continued cost increases, put providers at risk of rate cuts, and threaten the quality of care being provided to vulnerable Kansans. The status quo is not serving us well, and delay will not improve the health of anyone."
Dr. Colyer said the administration will soon announce its KanCare Advisory Council that will include representatives from mental health, substance abuse, disabilities, doctors, hospitals, pharmacists, seniors, tribal organizations, family members, legislators and consumers.