OLATHE, Kan. – A family is relieved by a government delay involving KanCare, and they hope the delay persists. The state of Kansas is the first in the nation to contract with private insurance companies that manage long-term services for the intellectual and developmentally disabled
Ashley Rollins is one of six women who share space in a local group home. Her case worker says she is probably the most highly functioning of the six. Her family worries that under KanCare, her services, perhaps her access to the group home, would be cut and that's the last thing they want.
Rollins was on a waiting list for seven years before a spot opened up for her in the group home two years ago. Her family says the group home has been a life-saver.
“We were a family that was in crisis,” Ashley’s father, Ray, said.
Ray Rollins says his daughter is autistic, but high-functioning. She works part-time at a daycare and loves to play Candy Crush on her iPad. She definitely knows what her favorite TV station is.
“FOX 4 every morning, then I do the news and weather and then I go shower,” Ashley said.
But she can lose her thought in mid sentence and her dad says she has an explosive disorder that can change her moods and her temper.
“Ashley functions very well when the train is running on tracks. But the train can get off the tracks very, very quickly and it can take very, very large detours,” he said.
Continuity is important and he fears that state efforts let private insurance companies turn a profit, while saving the state Medicaid dollars, can only mean a cut in services for people like Ashley.
“We have a fear that somebody could come in and completely reclassify her and take away her funding,” Ray said.
It's why so many families protested in Topeka earlier this year, asking lawmakers to leave things the way are. They're afraid KanCare will put cost savings first, care second.
Now that the feds have put the brakes on KanCare for disabled services, Ray says he is breathing a little easier.
"I was quietly cheering and we would cheer louder if found that it was eliminated," he said.
That won’t happen if the state gets its way. State leaders call this setback, a hiccup, and they believe it will only be a one month delay. However, one federal agency recommended Kansas delay KanCare by a year to fix ongoing concerns.