Last month, I testified before the Bob Bethell KanCare Oversight Committee to relay important updates regarding the state’s Medicaid program. The information was shared with legislators, stakeholders and others. While outlining the great strides we have made to improve cost efficiencies and health outcomes for Medicaid consumers, I also shared with the committee progress being made to the KanCare Clearinghouse, which is responsible for processing Medicaid applications through eligibility determinations.

When I was appointed Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment this year, I knew improving the operation of our Medicaid program was a top priority. The process has included strengthening our team and evaluating our contracts. In 2016, the state entered into an agreement with MAXIMUS, a private company hired to process Medicaid applications. MAXIMUS’ performance has not met our standards. There was a tremendous backlog developed due to understaffing. Additionally, oversight and training were lacking. While the bid was appealing from a cost-savings perspective, you get what you pay for. The subsequent performance has been unacceptable. We are proposing a strategy in the very best interest of the state and those applying for KanCare — a phased approach.

As we finalize an extension with MAXIMUS, we can share with you some details of our plan. Of paramount importance — the state will take over certain responsibilities. Specifically, effective Jan. 1, 2019, we’ll handle training and quality. Effective, July 1, 2019, the state will take over responsibilities for the processing of elderly and disabled applications. These applications are complex and must be done quickly and accurately for our most vulnerable populations. MAXIMUS is being held accountable — making $10 million in concessions to the state. The price we will pay going forward will ensure the Medicaid eligibility process meets the standards Kansans deserve. The strategy will enhance operations of our system and ultimately promote the health and well-being of the Kansans we serve.

 

JEFF ANDERSEN

Secretary, Kansas Department of Health and Environment