Local mom advocates for Medicaid nurses at KanCare meeting

Capitol Bureau

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The topic of Medicaid at the capitol usually turns into a debate over whether to expand it. But on Monday, lawmakers focused on how to fix what the state has now.

Legislators came to Topeka for the Joint Committee on Home and Community Based Services and KanCare Oversight.

Advocates for better care, government officials, Medicaid contractors, and those directly impacted by services spoke to the group.

Kathy Keck is a foster mom and has adopted children with developmental disabilities. Two years ago, she quit her job to help take care of her daughter who has various medical needs.

“She is beautiful and amazing and doing things that we were told she would never do, but the frustrating part with the system as far as not being able to get adequate nursing coverage to really support her and our family is frustrating, Keck said.

She said one problem she sees is that it’s hard for her family to keep a nurse that they like in the state’s Medicaid system.

“Six months to a year later, they’re leaving to go to other opportunities because they can get more money and they have better benefits,” Keck said.

Keck wants legislators to push for higher pay for nurses as well as getting better oversight on Medicaid contractors’ expenses.

She said it’s important for her to be here speaking on the issue.

“If some families aren’t able to speak up to have a systems change, the system is never going to change, and I know I’m not the only family suffering,” Keck said.

Lawmakers heard from dozens of people in the packed meeting.

“Find out what’s going right, what’s going wrong, and what action do we need to take to help make it better,” said Wichita Representative Brenda Landwehr, vice-chair of the committee.

She said it’s important to hear from all sides.

“They’re all impacted with what we do on KanCare, what we do with our rates, how much they get reimbursed and those types of things, and when we do that, that impacts the clients that they serve,” Landwehr said.

The committee will have another all-day session on Tuesday.

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