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Morning Sun
  • County to see costs of privatized Medicaid in Kansas

  • KanCare, Gov. Sam Brownback’s plan to cut state health care costs by privatizing Medicaid, is probably going to cost Crawford County more money.



    Joseph Adams, director of Crawford County EMS, said he has been notified that his department does not meet required training standards of Amerigroup, one of three managed care organizations involved in KanCare.

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  • KanCare, Gov. Sam Brownback’s plan to cut state health care costs by privatizing Medicaid, is probably going to cost Crawford County more money.
    Joseph Adams, director of Crawford County EMS, said he has been notified that his department does not meet required training standards of Amerigroup, one of three managed care organizations involved in KanCare.
    “We’ll have to increase our liability insurance to $3 million, which means around $13,000 more cost on insurance,” Adams said. “This is a hidden cost we never thought about. We’ve already increased our user fees, and any further increase will go to the general public.”
    There doesn’t seem to be any choice but to come up with the additional money to increase the amount of liability insurance so that Crawford County EMS can sign up with Amerigroup.
    “Joey has to sign up to be a provider under KanCare,” said Jim Emerson, county counsel. “To get reimbursed, he has to sign up with all three providers.”
    Adams added that he hasn’t heard anything from Sunflower State Health Plan or United Healthcare, the other two designated managed care organizations.
    “According to the governor, this will save the state a considerable amount of money by outsourcing Medicaid to three for-profits which are out of state, but the for-profits are out to make money,” said commissioner Linda Grilz. “This has just moved the cost down to a lower level.”
    That level is the 105 counties in the state.
    Grilz noted that for years Crawford County commissioners had worked to keep from raising the county mill levy.
    “Instead of increasing little by little over the years, now we may have to have a big jump,” she said. “That’s going to be hard for people to take. I feel especially sorry for people who have worked hard all their lives and paid into a system that they thought would take care of them when they were older.”
    “I believe this will hurt the medical profession down the road,” Adams said. “This will hurt a lot of ambulance services across the state.”
    Commissioner Carl Wood asked if the insurance increase would affect first responders such as fire fighters.
    Adams said that it would not.
    “I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Wood said. “We’re going to have to pay or decrease services. When I was a kid, the ambulance service was run out of a hamburger joint.”
    “Look at all the services the ambulance services provide now, compared with what they did back then,” Grilz said.
    Adams did suggest delaying the additional expense for a couple of months, until KanCare goes into effect on Jan. 1.
    “I don’t see any need to purchase insurance before I have to,” he said.
    Page 2 of 2 - On a lighter note, Emerson reported on a project of the Kansas Association of Counties, which recently held its convention.
    “One final renovation is to be done at the Capitol, to the visitor center,” he said. “KAC wants to put a map of all the counties in the state on the marble floor in the center. Cost will be $105,000, which works out to $1,000 per county. I think it’s a cool little project.”
    He said the project is especially targeted toward school groups that visit the Capitol in Topeka, and so it might be possible to have county school children involved in a fundraising effort for the $1,000.
    “That would show them that a state is not just a big conglomerate, but is made up of counties and cities,” Grilz said.
    In announcements, Wood said that the Crawford County Courthouse would be closed Nov. 22 and 23 in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday. No commission meeting will be held on Nov. 23.
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