Government & Politics

Health authority will keep call center open

TOPEKA — The Kansas Health Policy Authority has negotiated a deal with its contractor to keep a call center open so people can call with questions about Medicaid and HealthWave programs.

In November, the authority said it planned to suspend the toll-free number as part of $1.13 million in cuts ordered by Gov. Mark Parkinson. Eliminating the support line was estimated to save about $250,000.

The call center, managed by HP Enterprise Services, handles about 250,000 calls annually. The calls include calls from beneficiaries, doctors' offices and pharmacists.

The company accepted a 10 percent cut in the price paid for each enrollee in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program and reduced its claims processing fee 5 percent.

"This call center is vitally important, both to the health care providers who serve Medicaid patients as well as Medicaid beneficiaries," said Barb Langner, the authority's acting Medicaid director.

"Just as one example, when a pharmacist has a patient at the counter who's trying to get a prescription filled and, for whatever reason, the claim doesn't go through, that situation needs to get resolved right away. You don't want to send that person home without their medications."