Daily Archives: Feb. 1, 2012

Blue Cross bows out of state Medicaid contract competition; Rep. Ward seeks annual audits

The state’s largest insurer has decided it doesn’t want to participate in Gov. Sam Brownback’s plan to move Medicaid patients into privatized managed-care programs.

And in a related action, Rep. Jim Ward, D-Wichita, introduced a bill today that would require annual audits to ensure that privatization doesn’t lead to reductions in benefits for Medicaid recipients.

In a letter addressed “Dear provider,” Angie Strecker, director of institutional relations for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas, said the insurer “has decided not to submit a proposal to the state to be a Medicaid contractor.”

Blue Cross, a mutual insurance company owned by its customers, covers 880,000 Kansans and operates in all Kansas counties except for Wyandotte and Johnson. In 2010, the company processed more than 16 million claims worth more than $2 billion.

The letter said Blue Cross had devoted significant staff and resources to analyzing the state’s request for proposals. Read More »

Senate approves longer permits for drinking at special events

TOPEKA — The Senate today approved a bill pushed by the city of Wichita to provide longer-duration permits for alcohol consumption in public places.

It lets the director of Alcoholic Beverage Control grant temporary special event permits for up to 30 days, on top of the three day permits allowed under current law. It gives Wichita Festivals Inc, which produces the Wichita River Festival, more flexibility to produce other events where alcoholic beverages are served.

The bill faced no opposition. Now it heads to the House for debate.