budget cuts not just dangerous but mysterious. One clue: no providers of home- and community-based services serve as committee chairs in the legislature. Two or more nursing home owners/operators do.
“There have been no cuts proposed to institutional services,” according to Oxford.
The state will eliminate, for example, all optional medical services for adults. “Optional” services include oxygen.
Yes, you could still get oxygen — in a nursing home.
Also slated for elimination: wheelchairs, walkers, canes, and. other durable medical equipment. That old chair wearing a hole in your butt? Check into a nursing home to get it looked at.
Want out of a nursing home or other institution? No way. Access to all of the state’s home- and community-based programs is or will be frozen. And folks with terminal illnesses will no longer get Medicaid home services. Period.
State Medicaid will still pay for your doctor visits. They just won’t pay for you to get there. Payments for medical transportation will cease. (Move into a congregate setting and, legislators tell us, we will have the benefit of 24-hour medical attention.)
Can’t see? Can’t hear? Can’t bite? Too bad. The state will soon eliminate vision, audiology and dental services for adults.
Kansas will also, by the time you read this, preemptively double Medicaid co-pays on pharmaceuticals. Oxford’s CIL asked 400 people, a random sample of folks it serves as attendant payroll vendor, how many prescriptions they take per day. The average was seven. Some required as many as thirty. Many, Oxford says, already must decide whether to buy their drugs or their dinners. With income cut, they will be literally driven out of house and home, into captivity.
The unkindest cut
The state also
proposes to cut what’s
called “protected income
levels” [translation: the
increases) from $200 to
$800 per month below
poverty level. One
woman who uses state in-
home services, the single
mom of a three-year-old,
says she won’t be able to
meet even the small
mortgage payments on
her accessible home.
Losing her home, she THE TOWN HALL MEETING CONCLUDES WITH A would likely lose her son MARCH ON THE STATE CAPITOL.
PHOTO BY CAL GRANDY
The “senior nutrition program” became widely available in the — Meals on Wheels and meals at state, some of them allowing self-senior centers — will be cut by 55 directed rather than managed percent, as will all home services freedom. The popularity of such under the Frail and Elderly waiver. options created a spike in the
Parents who use another state budget while nursing homes, where Medicaid waiver to keep their kids budgets should have shrunk, won a with them, as opposed to dumping 38 percent larger piece of the them in institutions, will now be budget pie although they now serve required to “participate” finan-half as many people. cially. A wave of re-institutionalization will soon be upon us. The “T” word
Kansas legislators convene for Why the budget slash only 90 days annually, beginning in
Since 1995 the state has had a January. Disabled and elderly cumulative tax reduction of over Kansans, in coalition with social $3.6 billion, much of it to benefit justice groups and workers, are corporations. Tax cuts, while pressing lawmakers to “Do the popular in this predominantly right thing.” To do it, legislators Republican state, did not make must raise taxes, an unlikely Kansas the corporate mecca some prospect in this, an election year. had hoped, or spark an influx of Huddling in their homes, fearful, new citizens, as was also hoped. Its 20,000 Kansans today pray that coffers were merely drained. their state legislators will summon
In that same year, 1995, home-the courage to do the right — and and community-based services first very unpopular — thing.
PAGE 6 JANUARY -FEBRUARY 2002 MOUTH