TOPEKA – The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) is submitting a request to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to extend its current Intellectual/Developmental Disability (I/DD) waiver, set to renew July 1, 2019, in order to allow additional time for discussions with stakeholders.
It is anticipated the Frail Elderly (FE) and Physical Disability (PD) waivers, scheduled to renew January 1, 2020, will require further engagement with stakeholders to address concerns and a similar request to extend these programs will submitted to CMS.
Requesting an extension from CMS will allow the waivers to stand as written and approved today while the agency works with stakeholders to ensure the waiver renewal submissions support choice and community inclusion.
“KDADS’s decision will provide an opportunity to re-engage stakeholders, consumers and families as concerns continue to be raised,” said Amy Penrod, Commissioner of the Aging & Disability Community Services & Programs. “We want to continue the initial conversations we’ve had and take the time to thoroughly evaluate every opportunity to incorporate changes that are best for Kansas.”
Kansas has always been at the forefront of home and community-based services and supports. Since taking over leadership of the agency less than six months ago, Secretary Laura Howard has laid out a strategic vision that includes enhanced collaboration to ensure the state continues to be innovative in the way it addresses the health care needs of Kansans.
“Requesting additional time to collaborate with partners and incorporate the wisdom and contributions others bring to the table will ensure Kansas uses these waiver renewals to continue its long-standing leadership in home and community-based services,” said Secretary Howard. “Taking a step back provides an opportunity to approach these waivers with a new perspective of putting people first, incorporating innovations and supporting self-determination and community inclusion.”
Rocky Nichols, Executive Director of the Disability Rights Center of Kansas, and Mike Burgess, Director of Policy & Outreach, said in a joint statement, “We very much appreciate the decision by KDADS to delay implementation of these waivers and instead reengage with stakeholders to make positive changes. Kansas self-advocates with disabilities, families and service providers expressed concerns about the current versions of the waivers and KDADS listened. They are to be commended for their prudent action to slow this process down to get this right and we look forward to working to improve these waiver submissions.”
These actions do not impact the Brain Injury (BI) waiver, which is set to include the expanded populations of adult and youth with acquired brain injuries.
In 2014, CMS published final regulations affecting 1915(c) waiver programs. The purpose of the regulations was to ensure individuals receive HCBS in settings that are integrated in and support full access to the greater community. The regulations also aimed to ensure that individuals have a free choice of where they live and who provides services to them, and that individual rights and freedoms are not restricted. CMS has moved away from defining HCBS settings based on specific locations, geography, or physical characteristics, to defining them by the nature and quality of the individual’s experiences. Fundamentally, the regulations set higher standards for HCBS settings in which it is permissible for states to pay for services using federal financial participation under Medicaid, known in Kansas as KanCare.