Appropriations committee delays managed care for developmentally disabled

Hundreds of people with disabilities and their supporters on Wednesday urged legislators to delay a plan to bring developmental disability services under managed care.

TOPEKA – Long-term services for people with developmental disabilities won’t be included in Gov. Sam Brownback’s managed care plan until 2014 under a move approved by the House Appropriations Committee this morning.

Approval of the budget proviso follows months of protest from organizations that provide services to people who have significant disabilities, such as autism. The organizations and people who have those disabilities worry that the insurance companies bidding to manage the state’s new KanCare system may not have enough experience with long-term care services.

Brownback and other conservative Republicans stood by including those services in the managed care plan for months. But earlier this week, Brownback acknowledged the widespread concerns and endorsed the move to delay their inclusion in KanCare until Jan. 1, 2014, a year after most other Medicaid services fall under the management of three private insurance companies.

But several lawmakers voiced concern that the budget proviso wasn’t shown to the organizations that hope to be excluded from KanCare.

Rep. Jerry Henry, D-Cummings, questioned whether the proviso could allow case managers for the developmentally disabled to fall under KanCare. Rep. Jim Denning, R-Overland Park, assured him no one would be forced to change who their case manager is.

But concerns persisted.

“I have concerns that this hasn’t been fully vetted by everybody,” Henry said.

The budget proviso includes an option for providers of home and community based waiver services to join a pilot project to see how the managed care model could work. Denning said Brownback administration officials say some organizations are interested in “test driving” the program, but he declined to name those organizations.

Wichita Republican Rep. Jo Ann Pottorff sought to delay a vote on the proviso until someone made public the groups who want to join the pilot program. But a move to delay the vote until Monday failed.

Rep. Barbara Ballard, a Democrat from Lawrence, questioned why lawmakers would include the option of a pilot project when providers have clearly said they don’t want to be included in managed care.

“I can’t see anyone changing their mind because they didn’t want it in the first place,” she said. “They wanted to be outside of it.”