The Kansas House Agrees To Spend Money To Get Rid Of 500 Spots On Medicaid Waiver Waitlists


Topeka, Kansas (WIBW) – The Kansas House of Representatives agreed to spend money to get rid of 500 spots on the waitlists for Medicaid waivers.

The Kansas House of Representatives said they agreed to the Republican-led plan to remove 500 spots from the waitlists for Medicaid waivers for people who are intellectually or developmentallly disabled (IDD) and physically disabled (PD). The plan will be paid for with $34.6 million from the state budget, which is the amount suggested by the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS). There is also language added to keep the IDD line at 4,800 people and the PD waitlist at 2,000 people so that they never get too long.

According to Dan Hawkins, Speaker of the Kansas House of Representatives, the number of people waiting for an IDD waiver has grown to 5,279 during Governor Laura Kelly’s time in office. The Governor never suggested that the waitlist get more money until Republicans made it clear that they were going to cut wait times by removing a lot of waitlist spots during the 2024 legislative session. The Governor’s first budget, which was released a few weeks ago, cut the list’s funds by $51M from last year. After a few weeks, she changed her mind and suggested an amendment to the budget to get rid of 250 slots.

The Physically Disabled (PD) and Intellectually/Developmentally Disabled (IDD) are the two most vulnerable groups on the waitlists, according to House Speaker Hawkins’s office. Some people have been waiting over 10 years for Medicaid HCBS Services that help them manage their daily lives and live with their disability. Therapies and supports that have a big effect on quality of life are part of services. Some examples are adult day supports, specialized medical care, supported jobs, wellness monitoring, and overnight respite care. Since FY 2019, the government, which is run by Republicans, has raised HCBS (Home & Community Based Services) provider rates by 25%. This is to make more providers available because there aren’t enough workers in this field.

“This year’s budget’s removal of 500 waitlist spots and large increase in funding that meets the KDADS recommendation show that House Republicans are committed to putting our most vulnerable Kansans and their families first,” Hawkins said. “We still have work to do. We’ll keep working as hard and as quickly as we can until the waiting is gone and the IDD community has access to these important services.

Rep. Les Mason (R-McPherson), Chair of the Social Services Budget Committee and Assistant Majority Leader, said they want to get rid of waitlists.

“We’re determined to get rid of the unacceptable waitlist numbers, and this is a big step in the right direction.” As a way to help the economy grow, we’ve also added money to raise the rates at which these waivers are reimbursed. Adding spots and making it possible to serve those slots go hand in hand.

Advocate Pattie Garbeff, who has Down syndrome and is on the IDD Waitlist, replied that she hopes the Legislature works together to make sure that people on the IDD and PD waitlists are a priority in this year’s final budget.

“A few weeks ago, my mom and I had the chance to speak out at the Kansas State Capitol about the need for short-term and long-term funding to help get people off the IDD waitlist in Kansas.” I’m 40 years old this week, and I’ve been on and off the line since I was 20. It’s clear to me that I need my IDD release, also known as home and community-based services (HCBS), right now. I hope that everyone in the Legislature works together to make sure that the final budget for this year puts people like me first.

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