Steve Kelly, chief executive of Newton Medical Center, raised several concerns last week about KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid system. Kelly, who is chairman of the KanCare Advisory Council, told the Kansas Health Institute News Service that his hospital and Newton doctors and nursing homes were experiencing various problems, chief among them the amount of time it takes to get “prior authorizations” or approvals for patient services from the private insurance companies. Though it has improved, the lag in payments for services is also still a problem, he said. Larry Martin of Valley Falls, a representative for consumers on the advisory council, noted that payments from the insurance companies aren’t covering pharmacies’ costs for prescriptions. “That’s tough for the smaller pharmacies to absorb,” he said. “That could be a real problem in smaller, rural communities.” Meanwhile, the state has asked the federal government to allow KanCare to provide long-term care services to individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities – a move that the I/DD community strongly opposes.
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