Legislative Update February 20, 2012

February 20, 2012

Your Monday Morning Update:

What do KanCare, I/DD and a headboard have in common? Grab a cup of coffee and sit back while I tell you.

A couple of weeks ago I decided that I needed a new headboard for my guest room. Wanting to save money, I went to my local thrift store and found a semi attractive wooden headboard that was painted white. I was feeling optimistic and thought it had potential so I paid $9.99 for it.

On my way home from the thrift store I stopped at the hardware store and bought a paint sponge, sandpaper, steel wool, a scrapper and some paint stripper. I went home and began my work. After putting on my layer of stripper and watching the old paint bubble, I got excited and started scraping. I soon discovered that there was more than one layer of paint. In fact, I soon realized that there were three layers of paint and each layer was separated by a layer of thick varnish. After 6 hours of work, I ran out of stripper.

The next day I went back to the hardware store and bought more paint stripper and another paint sponge. I spent another 4 hours scouring the headboard hoping to soon see the beautiful wood underneath all those finishes. When I finally got down to the bare wood, I discovered that the wood was far from beautiful. Some of the wood was a nice hardwood, some was pine and some of the wood was cheap and flimsy plywood. I thought that if I sanded the wood, the different qualities would blend into each other so I carefully sanded for about an hour. When I was done, it still looked appalling.

I went to the hardware store and bought some wood stain, a paint brush, gloves and paint thinner. I went home and stained the headboard. Each of the types of wood stained differently. It was a masterpiece when I finished…a masterpiece of ugliness.

Not willing to give up, I went to the hardware store again and bought a can of deglosser and a can of white paint. I went home and prepared the headboard and gave it a coat of paint. One coat wasn’t enough, so I had to give it another.

Now that my headboard is finished, I really don’t like it. It looks the same as it did when I bought it. My back is a little stiff and my wallet is lighter.

The moral of the story-

Sometimes good intentions end up costing much more in time and money than it’s worth. If you do your homework and know the outcome ahead of time, then why do it?

Our message-
We have done our homework. We’ve been told by the Administration that nothing will change for us (except our folks will be healthier and live longer by addressing their medical/mental health needs.) We don’t disagree with that. However, if nothing is going to change to our HCBS/DD services, then why include them? Why put forth the effort?

Do you trust that you will get a beautifully stained headboard when it’s all said and done? I think you know my answer.

Your TO DO List:

One simple request this week-

When you send an email to the Administration about KanCare, you get back a “one size fits all” letter. The letter is full of bureaucratic rhetoric which you are supposed you interpret as “we’re good guys doing good things for our state and your people.” I say “pshaw”. Your assignment is to send a letter back to the Administration thanking them for their letter. Then ask for clarification of something mentioned in their letter.
You mention in your letter individuals with I/DD won’t see any change in services. Why are you adding another layer of expense to an already streamlined system?
Your letter mentions a great deal about improving health outcomes. My son/daughter will still be covered by KanCare for their medical care, so what is the benefit of having an insurance company manage their day or residential service?
You discuss KanCare bidders as experts “at identifying complex needs of individuals and coordinating and integrating their care to improve health outcomes.” Do any of the bidders have experience in services for folks with I/DD?
You mention that KanCare will only produce savings once care coordination and health outcomes are improved. What does that look like for an individual receiving a day service?

You catch my drift? Take a piece from the extremely well written yet garbled rhetoric and ask a question back. Administrative staff will be busy trying to dig up a response to your inquiry. I hope they get tired of us.

In the meantime, does anyone want to buy a headboard?

Warm Regards,

Lurena Mead

JCDS Community Relations Manager

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