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Futures Walk in Support of Developmentally Disabled Underscores Concerns with Looming Changes to the System

Wellington, Kan.-Nearly 100 supporters bundled up against unseasonably cold weather on Saturday, May 4, 2013 to support The Futures Unlimited, Inc. 4th Annual  “Walk a Mile in My Shoes” event held at Century Park.

“The annual spring event is held to draw attention to the needs of persons with intellectual/developmental disabilities living in our area,” states Trisha Logan, communications coordinator for Futures.  Some were walking in support of a loved one with developmental disabilities. “We’re walking for Pax!” a few cheered as they ducked into the wind. Two attendees said they were walking in celebration of one of their birthdays. Others attended as a way to support Futures’ mission, the local Community Developmental Disability Organization.

This year, the walk seemed to have an added sense of urgency behind it as the Brownback Administration has recently signaled its intent to move forward with plans to move long term care services for persons with I/DD into the state’s newly created KanCare system after a one year “carve-out.”

Beginning in January of 2013 Kansas transferred control of its Medicaid system to three large out-of-state for-profit insurance companies for management. This move, one of the largest such contracts in the state’s history, has been implemented with the intent to save money through more coordinated health care service delivery. But advocates for the state’s more than 8,000 developmentally disabled citizens have been actively urging the Administration to make the “carve-out” permanent.

“Including long-term care services, for folks who are elderly, frail, or developmentally disabled in a medically-based managed care model is risky, at best, and borders on irresponsible given the lack of any solid data that demonstrates that it does work,” states Tom Kohmetscher, CEO for Futures. “Historically, the Kansas developmental disabilities system has been recognized as a model system that is based on local controls and consumer involvement. It’s also been noted to be cost effective and efficient. Community programs like ours work because we’re local and we know the people we serve. Huge medical managed care systems can’t duplicate that level of service – especially when their primary intent is to generate profit for their shareholders,” Kohmetscher goes on to say.

As the legislature reconvenes on Monday, May 6, clients, family members and concerned advocates from Sumner County and all across the state will be urging legislators and the Governor’s Administration to keep the Kansas DD long term care system out of KanCare and to instead continue to support a locally managed and delivered system that has worked successfully for over 20 years.

To find out more, visit www.invisibleKansans.org.

To view nearly 40 photos of the event, click here.

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