The woman tasked with answering questions from more than 400,000 people enrolled in the state Medicaid program says she handles 4,400 inquiries annually with a staff of three and a fleet of volunteers.
Kerrie Bacon, the state's KanCare ombudsman, provided a review of her office's work Monday to the House Health and Human Services Committee. She said her network provides guidance to those who call or email on a wide variety of concerns, including questions about eligibility and paperwork.
"The simpler ones," Bacon said, "they don't understand their mail. They may have trouble understanding some piece of it, so we try to help explain it."
The Legislature established her position six years ago with the onset of KanCare, as Medicaid is known in Kansas. Bacon has served as ombudsman since January 2014.
She reports directly to the secretary of the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services. The ombudsman office in Topeka involves three full-time employees, plus 12 hours of help per week from someone in the governor's office.
Additionally, calls may be routed to two satellite offices, in Olathe and Wichita, which are staffed by volunteers. Two college students also assist to gain experience.
Bacon said her work includes training of those volunteers, as well as education and public outreach.