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Minutes for SB173 - Committee on Ways and Means

Short Title

Department of health and environment-division of health care finance, appropriations for fiscal years 2018, 2019 and 2020 for 5% rate increase for providers under the home and community based services medicaid waivers.

Minutes Content for Tue, Mar 7, 2017

Chairperson McGinn opened the hearing on SB 173.  David Wiese provided an overview of the bill.  (Attachment 2)

Tim Graham spoke as a proponent of the bill.  We do not need a study or an economist to tell us that a rate increase is overdue as it has been almost ten years since HCBS providers have received a rate increase.  Quality of life is directly related to quality of support from the Direct Support Professionals (DSPs).  Stability is critical to this support and this bill would move towards making HCBS stable again.  (Attachment 3)

Dee Birch testified in support of the bill.  As a Direct Support Professional, she has a passion for her work and feels it is extremely rewarding but has to work two full time jobs to make ends meet.  An increase in rates would allow her to be able to spend more time with her family in the evenings.  (Attachment 4)

Colin McKenney stood as a proponent of the bill.  Our Direct Support Professionals serve thousands of Kansans through HCBS and do not receive the same wage as those who work at Parsons and KNI.  While the State Hospitals need help the HCBS Direct Support Professionals need even more help.  We have waited as long as possible for this increase.  Mr. McKenney responded to questions from Committee members.  (Attachment 5)

Deb Voth testified in support of the bill.  Her organization serves more than 3,500 children and youth in Sedgwick and Butler Counties.  The children in their program need more support than an average child and their parents need to work, go to school, etc.  Sedgewick County has only two providers of personal care services after two providers dropped out due to low reimbursement rates.  Her organization does not have the staff to provide services to all who need the support.  (Attachment 6)

Ron Fugate spoke in support of the bill as his son has lived at Lakemary Center for the last 15 months, which has resulted in him feeling safe and living as independently as possible.  The support staff is critical to his support but there has been a great deal of staff turnover for his son because people come and go in search of better pay.  He would like to see the support staff paid a decent wage and make a decent living so he will be able to trust that his son will receive quality care and support when he is no longer here to look after him.  (Attachment 7)

Chad VonAhnen testified as a proponent of the bill because the last HCBS rate increase was in 2008 and the rates have remained stagnate since.  Federal mandates would provide more independence but do not come with funding.  Additionally, providers are dropping out due to low rates and the system is at a crisis point.  (Attachment 8)

Lori Feldkamp spoke in support of the bill.  Her organization is having severe problems with staffing, particularly in the Manhattan area.  They level of pay reduces their ability to recruit and retain staff, which results in overtime issues.  This bill will not solve all the problems but is needed to show these people they are valued.  Ms. Feldkamp responded to questions from Committee members.  (Attachment 9)

Jerry Henry testified in support of the bill.  Kansas was looked upon favorably for years for the level of support to those who have intellectual and developmental disabilities.  That has changed.  HCBS providers provide a great deal of support to our communities and we do not have the option of cutting hours or increasing funding from other sources such as taxes.  (Attachment 10)

Jerry Michaud stood in support of the bill as the only funding they have comes through the Legislature.  Erosion of funding is taking place--static rates, funding reductions and inflation.  They also have unfunded mandates from the Federal level including Department of Labor rules relating to overtime and salaries and the Affordable Care Act.  Lack of funding makes it difficult to be in compliance with these mandates.  (Attachment 11)

Cammie Funston spoke as a proponent of the bill.  Her daughter has Downs Syndrome and staff turnover is very challenging for her.  She gets frustrated trying to communicate, which sometimes results in aggressiveness or uncontrollable crying.  She will never be independent and relies on a caring community of Direct Support Providers who deserve a fair and respectable wage.  (Attachment 12)

Mike Oxford testified in support of the bill.  His organization assists people to be as independent as possible and acts as a fiscal agent for individuals in HCBS.  In spite of the history of his organization and their loyalty to those they serve, they may not be able to continue to provide this service in the future due to lack of funding.  Fast food workers make a better starting wage than personal care attendants and that needs to change.  (Attachment 13)

Written testimony in support of the bill was submitted by:

Patty Huckaby, Arrowhead West, Inc.  (Attachment 14)

Linda Lock, Brown County Developmental Services, Inc.  (Attachment 15)

Cottonwood, Inc.  (Attachment 16)

Patrick Terick, Cerebral Palsy Research Foundation of Kansas  (Attachment 17)

Pattie Knauff, KETCH  (Attachment 18)

Kirk Davis, Lakemary Center  (Attachment 19)

Doug Wisby, Multi Community Diversified Services  (Attachment 20)

Alice Lackey, Nemaha County Training Center Inc.  (Attachment 21)

Shelia Nelson-Stout, OCCK, Inc.  (Attachment 22)

Mieke Hoeffner, Disability Planning Organization of Kansas  (Attachment  23)

Ron Pasmore, KETCH  (Attachment 24)

Karen Baker, Riverside Resources, Inc.  (Attachment 25)

Allison Lemons, Private Citizen  (Attachment 26)

Kay Soltz, Private Citizen  (Attachment 27)

Ladeska Makings, Sunflower Diversified Services  (Attachment 28)

Eileen Doran, TARC, Inc.  (Attachment 29)

Tim Cunningham, Tri-Valley Developmental Services, Inc.  (Attachment 30)

Lara McGrew, Twin Rivers Developmental Supports  (Attachment 31)

Ed Henry, Twin Valley Developmental Services, Inc.  (Attachment 32)

Janis DeBoer, Kansas Association of Area Agencies on Aging and Disabilities  (Attachment 33)

Steve Gieber testified as a neutral conferee.  In 2013, the average cost for HCBS I/DD services in Kansas was approximately $39,000 versus almost $46,000 nationally.  State per capita spending in this area falls well below the regional and national numbers.  (Attachment 34)

There being no further conferees, Chairperson McGinn closed the hearing on SB 173.