For Immediate Release
Miranda Myrick, 785-296-5795
Topeka – (July 1, 2011) Effective today, Kansas Health Policy Authority (KHPA) transitions into the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) as the Division of Health Care Finance (HCF). The merger is achieved through an executive reorganization order designed to create a more efficient state government and save Kansas taxpayers more than $1 million the first fiscal year.
KDHE Secretary Dr. Robert Moser said he looks forward to continuing the Agency’s work to promote healthy choices by Kansans while incorporating a new Division to enhance efforts aimed at improving Medicaid and other health care programs.
“The state health and environment department and the state Medicaid agency are a great fit due to the nature of the services provided by both. Governor Brownback’s vision for this merger was to produce new opportunities for innovation at a critical time, and I’m excited that KDHE can help improve the health of Kansans,” said Dr. Moser.
Created in 2005, KHPA has served as the state’s Medicaid agency by administering the medical portion of the Kansas Medicaid program, as well as the state Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP, also known as "HealthWave"); MediKan, which provides coverage for certain low-income, disabled Kansans; the State Employee Health Program; and the State Self-Insurance Fund (SSIF), which provides workers compensation coverage to state employees.
KHPA Executive Director Andy Allison, PhD, will move to KDHE as the Director of Health Care Finance. He and his staff will maintain acoordinated health policy agenda that combines the effective purchasing and administration of health care with prevention-oriented public health strategies.
“As the Division of Health Care Finance, we look forward to continuing our work with the Kansas Health Information Exchange to develop and use electronic health record technology and health information technology to implement the State Medicaid HIT Plan, which will not only improve patient care throughout the state but also give physicians and hospitals an opportunity to leverage federal funding,” said Allison.
Aside from the savings generated by the reorganization, Kansans will also see benefits from the state’s ongoing Medicaid reform efforts led by Lt. Governor Jeff Colyer. Under the new organizational structure, KDHE and its HCF will continue working with the Lieutenant Governor’s office, other state agencies and stakeholder groups to modernize the health care system in Kansas.
Medicaid reform in Kansas will involve public input. The first phase of the public input process this year allowed stakeholders to submit suggestions for reform to the Lieutenant Governor’s office. The second phase of this process began in Topeka on June 22 at the first of three public forums. The other forums are scheduled for July 7 in Wichita and July 8 in Dodge City. Other opportunities include an online survey tool and a Medicaid conference planned for early August in Kansas City.
“We’re fortunate to have this opportunity to work with Kansas consumers, advocates and other stakeholder groups to collaborate with us in improving health care for all Kansans,” said Dr. Moser. “This effort is not just about cost savings. We want to see improved outcomes for vulnerable Kansans. The ability to more effectively purchase and administer health care builds a better Kansas with stronger families and a growing economy.”
“The Governor and I are pleased so many Kansans are responding by offering ideas for remaking Medicaid the Kansas way,” Colyer said. “The process going forward will allow even more Kansans to make their voices heard as we work together to improve health outcomes and reduce costs.”
With about 220 KHPA staff members joining KDHE, the Agency now employs approximately 1,100.
Kansas Department Heath Environment www.kdheks.gov
Division of Health Care Finance www.kdheks.gov/hcf