PITTSBURG — Patients and providers are getting their chance to improve the state Medicaid program, KanCare. The Kansas Department of Health and the Environment and Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services made a stop in Pittsburg to discuss possible changes to the renewal application for KanCare Thursday.

The Jack H. Overman center at Pittsburg State University hosted the feedback forum which is one of five stops for the forum tour throughout the state of Kansas. Feedback forums also took place in Topeka, Wichita, Kansas City and Hays.

The KanCare program is based upon a five-year demonstration program which expires December 31, 2017. KDHE and KDADS are currently in the planning stages of applying to renew KanCare, but are stopping throughout Kansas to acquire feedback from patients and providers in the healthcare system.

“We thought it was important to get your feedback before we draft the new application,” KDHE Director of the Division of Health Care Finance Michael Randol said.

The main topics on which the forums are hoping to get feedback are coordination and integration of care, outcomes-driven payment plans and waiver integration. Providers and patients expressed concerns with managed care organization care coordinators being hard to communicate with, as well as lack of local resources.

One major change being proposed is the integration of KanCare waivers. Currently seven separate waivers exist, each with its own strict eligibility guidelines. Under the current KanCare program, if a patient qualifies for one of the seven they cannot receive aid from another waiver category.

“Waiver integration allows us to provide broader services across those categories,” Randol said. “The eligibility process is the same, but once someone qualifies they have greater access services.”

The change would place eligible patients into only two categories, either “Adult Services” or Children’s Services.” Many in attendance shared concerns that the current KanCare system was inefficient, so this change may help to speed up the process for some.

Even with changes being outlined and feedback being recorded to take into consideration when drafting the application, some providers still are not optimistic about the future of the program.

“They didn’t really answer any questions we had or comment on any of our feedback,” Health Provider with Healing Hands, Caring Hearts Home Health Breana Eby said.

Anyone who could not attend the meeting can still send in feedback on the KanCare renewal or submit questions at KanCareRenewal@kdheks.gov. Feedback will be solicited through August 2016. A draft of the application will be posted at www.KanCare.gov in June.

— Chance Hoener is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. He can be emailed at choener@morningsun.net or follow him on Twitter @ReporterChance.