New Light on the State’s Intent Regarding TCM Services
by Marla Flentje
Last week, an employee from the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services (KDADS), made clear that the Governor’s promise that families can keep their case managers is about to be abandoned.
At the annual Interhab Conference, KDADS representative Susan Fout led a workshop titled “Conflict-Free Case Management.” Based on the report of an agency attendee and Fout’s handouts and slides (which are available), the content of the session focused on how the Kansas TCM model is riddled with conflicts of interests and works against the interests of persons served. In other words, community agencies providing services such as residential or employment support cannot also effectively provide case management. The workshop materials suggest that these agencies have a built-in bias in favor of their bottom line and against the person served.
Strangely, this informal “announcement” making the case for a wholesale change in the I/DD case management system was not made by top state officials. What is that about?
Because choice in the Kansas I/DD system is available, self-advocates and families can make the determination as to whether a TCM conflict of interest exists and initiate a change if they wish. State limitations on the consumer’s choice of case managers is contrary to the free market ideology of the Governor and legislative leaders.
Make no mistake — a state regulation that I/DD direct service providers can no longer offer TCM services would massively destabilize the system and require thousands of families to find a new case manager. In the ensuing chaotic vacuum, families likely would be left at the mercy of the MCOs’ care coordinators — some of whom may be qualified, but some definitely not. And clearly, none of the MCOs’ case coordinators can provide conflict-free case management services.
Families and other I/DD advocates: It’s time to sound the alarm bell. This ominous TCM message, combined with the MCOs’ enormous financial losses and a growing state budget shortfall, foreshadow dramatic reductions in the services needed by our loves ones.
On November 4, you have the opportunity to express your approval or disapproval of the direction Governor Brownback is taking with I/DD services. BE SURE TO VOTE!