Audit will examine Kansas services for disabled people

A Kansas legislative committee has launched an audit into potential problems in the state’s delivery of services to the developmentally disabled, but a Democratic leader sees the review as retaliation against groups that have criticized Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration.

The audit approved Tuesday by the Post Audit Committee will examine whether conflicts of interest exist in having 27 regional community developmental disability organizations, or CDDOs, act as gatekeepers for developmentally disabled Kansans seeking state-funded services. Some critics have noted that CDDOs can compete with local service providers.

The audit was sought by Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce, a Hutchinson Republican.

Some CDDOs have been vocal critics of Brownback’s decision to turn the administration of the state’s Medicaid program over to three private health insurance companies, renaming it KanCare.

Long-term services for the developmentally disabled won’t be included until next year, but some advocates want to leave those services out of KanCare. They are afraid that for-profit companies will be stingy about in-home assistance designed to allow people to live as independently as possible.

“This audit is the Brownback administration’s political payback for community opposition,” Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley said.

But the Post Audit Committee chairman, Sen. Jeff Longbine, an Emporia Republican, said the latest audit will follow up on reports in 1999 and 2003 that identified problems in how Kansas provides services for people with intellectual disabilities, including how clients are referred to providers and how funding is distributed.

Bruce said the claim that the audit is politically motivated “is simply not true.”

“The goal of the audit is to explore a potentially serious problem and ensure the most vulnerable Kansans are receiving the best possible care,” Bruce said.