Kansas Delays KanCare Expansion
December 28, 2013

AP) – Kansas is postponing the last part of an overhaul of its Medicaid program amid questions from federal officials about in-home services for the developmentally disabled.

State officials announced Friday that they won’t be bringing long-term care services for the developmentally disabled under the administration of three private health insurance companies on Jan. 1 as planned.

Kansas needed the approval of federal officials to complete the overhaul of the Medicaid program, now known as KanCare. State officials said they’re still in discussions with federal officials and hope to have an agreement by Feb. 1.

Medicaid covers health care for the needy and disabled, and the state turned over administration of almost the entire program to the private companies at the start of 2013. But advocates for the developmentally disabled were wary.

Progress Report on Kan Care Due Today
November 25, 2013

(AP) – A legislative oversight committee is scheduled to receive a status report on changes made to the Kansas Medicaid program and services for the developmentally disabled.

Monday’s meeting will look at issues related to the state’s KanCare system that began implementation in 2012 and took effect earlier this year. Kansas has contracted with three managed-care organizations to administer Medicaid programs for the elderly, poor and disabled.

Among those scheduled to appear are representatives from several developmentally disabled and community-based service providers.

Legislators also will receive an update on the state’s health insurance marketplace from the insurance commissioner’s office. Kansas elected not to establish a state-run exchange to implement the federal health care law and is using the federal exchange that was developed

Missouri Medicaid’s Top Doc Picked to Run Program
November 23, 2013

(AP) — The chief medical officer for Missouri’s mental health agency is taking over as director of the state’s Medicaid health care program.

Gov. Jay Nixon said Friday that Joe Parks was selected the director of the MO HealthNet Division of the Department of Social Services. The division oversees the Medicaid program that provides health coverage to more than 850,000 lower-income children, custodial parents, disabled residents and seniors.

Nixon said Friday that Parks is respected in the medical field and by Republicans and Democrats. He’ll begin on Dec. 16.

“Dr. Parks’ nearly two decades of experience with public health will be beneficial in helping to ensure that Missouri’s Medicaid system is efficient, effective and responsive to the needs of Missourians,” Nixon said.

Parks replaces Ian McCaslin, who left the director position in May after holding the post since August 2007. Neither McCaslin nor the department provided an explanation about his departure. McCaslin was hired this fall as the director of family health services in the Virginia Department of Health.

Medicaid has received significant attention at the state Capitol. Nixon has sought to expand it to cover an additional 260,000 adults. The Republican-led Legislature has repeatedly rejected expansion, and GOP legislative leaders have said they want to improve Missouri’s current Medicaid program before considering proposals to expand eligibility.

Parks practices psychiatry with outpatients at a community health center established to expand services to uninsured and underinsured in the Columbia area. He will be stepping down from his positions as director of the Missouri Institute of Mental Health with the University of Missouri-St. Louis and as chairman of the Medical Director’s Council for the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors.

“Whether it’s the children of working families who need a simple check-up, or seniors who need help managing their chronic medical conditions, the MO HealthNet program has an opportunity to improve the whole spectrum of public health in Missouri which will keep our state and our economy on solid ground moving forward,” Parks said.

Torpey & Jones Looking for ‘Non-Experts’ to Join Medicaid Panel
June 23, 2013

Post Dispatch:
JEFFERSON CITY • Want to help reshape Missouri’s Medicaid program? House Speaker Tim Jones wants to hear from you.

Jones, R-Eureka, is seeking nominations of people to serve as “citizen members” of a new working group that will gather data and analyze ways to overhaul the health care program for the poor.

Names of possible members can be sent to the speaker at tim.jones@house.mo.gov, or to the working group’s chairman, Rep. Noel Torpey, at noel.torpey@house.mo.gov.

No qualifications were set. In a news release, Jones said he is looking for “private citizens from all walks of life to engage in a productive discussion meant to generate ideas to transform Missouri’s broken Medicaid system into one that capably serves the state’s most vulnerable citizens.”

Said Torpey: “It’d be kinda nice to have someone who isn’t an expert” to help with the study.
More: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/virginia-young/house-leader-seeks-non-legislators-to-serve-on-medicaid-study/article_1594ec55-e891-5525-b087-b1480c22bb3e.html

Missouri Senate Considers Long Term Committtee Work After Session
May 20, 2013

(AP) – Missouri’s legislative session is over, but the work may continue for some lawmakers.

Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey says he is considering appointing at least three committees to study issues before the 2014 session.

A joint panel of Senate and House members could look into potential changes to the Medicaid health care program for the poor.

Another committee could study potential projects to be included in a bonding proposal that would be put before voters.

Dempsey said an interim committee also could look into changes to the state’s regional solid waste management districts.

All of those committees would be continuing work on measures that failed to pass during the legislative session that ended Friday.