State officials trying to clean up waiting lists for home-based Medicaid services

by Dave Ranney, KHI News Service 

Topeka — People with physical disabilities on a waiting list for Medicaid-funded, in-home services are being urged to tell their whereabouts to the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services.

“We’re doing everything we can to find to these people and to assist them in making sure that the information KDADS has on them is accurate and up to date,” said Rosie Cooper, executive director with the Kansas Association for Centers for Independent Living.

The association recently launched a publicity campaign aimed at getting people on the waiting list to contact KDADS.

Last week, KDADS sent form letters to more than 2,600 physically disabled people on its waiting list for in-home services, alerting them they have until April 9 to inform the agency what services they are still interested in receiving.

Those that don’t respond by June 30 will be dropped from the list.

The letters include a one-page form for verifying a recipient’s contact information and disability.

KDADS Secretary Shawn Sullivan said the letters were sent because the department was having a hard time finding many of the people on the list.

“We’re currently serving 5,515 people on the PD (physical disability) waiver,” Sullivan said. “We have room (funds) to serve 5,900, but we can’t do that unless we’re able to contact people.”

Last September, Sullivan said, KDADS sent letters to 462 physically disabled people it thought could be moved off the waiting list.

“Over half either didn’t respond or indicated they were no longer interested in receiving services,” he said. “Some had died, some had moved out of state, and some said they were still interested but were found to be no longer eligible.

“That experience highlighted the need for us to come up with a list with more integrity than the one we have now,” he said.

The latest mailing, he said, already had generated about 200 responses.

“We’re wanting to help the state find these people because we want them to get the services they need,” Cooper said. “But at the same time, we recognize that a lot of them went on the list when it was run by SRS (former Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services), so they’ve never heard of KDADS. And the centers for independent living used to be the gateway to Medicaid, now it’s KanCare. They don’t understand that either. So there’s a lot of educating to do.”

The association recently sent a recorded public service announcement to radio stations throughout the state. It also is publicizing the KDADS notice in its newsletters.

People with physical disabilities are being urged to return the forms on their own or call a KDADS office or center for independent living in their area for assistance.

Last month, KDADS sent similar notices to the 1,400 people with developmental disabilities who are thought to be on the state’s ‘underserved’ waiting list.

“The forms were due March 1, but (KDADS) is still accepting them,” said Matt Fletcher, associate director of Interhab, an association that represents many of the state’s community based programs for the developmentally disabled.

“There have been some problems,” Fletcher said. “A fair number of people either didn’t get notices or they got a letter and no forms or forms and no letter. It’s pretty clear there are some issues with the list, but we’re working with them. It’s important that people respond.”

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Silver alert issued

Melvin Robert Potter

A silver alert has been issued to help locate Melvin Robert Potter, 67, from Onaga, Kan.

Potter has the onset of dementia and a history of going missing, traveling several states in the past, according to authorities.

He has high blood pressure and does not have his medication with him.

He was last seen at 10 a.m. March 14 when he went out for a short errand. He wa wearing blue jeans and a red flannel shirt. He wears brown boots and a brown leather belt with the word, “Oklahoma,” on the buckle. He walks with a limp.

He was driving a red and silver two tone 1996 Dodge truck bearing a Kansas license plate of 385DPQ.

Anyone with information about Potter is asked to call the Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Office dispatch center at 785-457-3353.