Monday, January 19, 2015

Proposed budget avoids cuts in social services

KHI News Source

Here’s an overview of funding for social services in Gov. Sam Brownback’s proposed budget for the next two fiscal years:
  • An additional $4 million for moving people with disabilities off the state’s waiting lists for Medicaid-funded in-home services: $3 million for people with developmental disabilities and $1 million for Kansans with physical disabilities.
  • No additional funding for the state-run hospitals in Osawatomie and Larned that care for adults with serious mental illnesses.

  • No additional funding for the state-funded grant program that community mental health centers use to offset the costs of treating the uninsured.
  • No additional funding for operations at the state-run hospitals in Topeka and Parsons that care for people with severe developmental disabilities. In 2011, Brownback proposed closing the Kansas Neurological Institute, the state hospital in Topeka. Legislators, however, rejected the plan. “There are no plans to close KNI,” Angela de Rocha, a spokesperson for the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS), wrote Friday in an email to KHI News Service.
  • An additional $1 million for a KDADS-administered grant program designed to encourage hospitals and mental health centers to start crisis-intervention programs similar to Rainbow Services Inc. in Kansas City. KDADS officials hope the program will lead to fewer admissions at the Larned and Osawatomie state hospitals, both of which often exceed their licensed capacities.
  • Discontinued support for Educational Design Solutions, a software marketing firm that in 2013 was awarded a no-bid, $6 million-a-year contract for giving elementary schools access to Lexia Reading Core5, a computer-based instructional program. The Educational Design Solutions contract was considered controversial because it was added to the state budget in the waning hours of the 2013 legislative session by Rep. Marc Rhoades, a Newton Republican and then-chair of the House Appropriations Committee. The contract had not been the subject of hearings in House or Senate education committees. Educational Design Solutions co-owner Don Fast lived in Rhoades’ district.
  • No additional support for the state’s programs to prevent tobacco use.
  • A $120,000 reduction in Senior Care Act monies, a $15.6 million fund that’s used to pay for in-home services for frail elders who are low-income and at risk of having to move to a nursing home but are not eligible for Medicaid.
  • A $350,000 reduction in state-funded support for community developmental disability organizations — often called CDDOs — that help consumers and family members find the services they need to prosper in community-based settings.
  • No additional funding for rate increases for the state’s foster care contractors.
  • No additional funding for the state’s Early Head Start programs. “I wouldn’t say we’re being held harmless,” said Erick Vaughn, director of the Kansas Head Start Association. “From our perspective, level funding is actually a cut because of inflation and other increased costs. In fact, we’ve been contemplating asking the Legislature to adjust our contracts to serve fewer kids because we’re having a really hard time maintaining the level of quality that we’re required to have at the level of funding we have now.”