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Newspapers Cover Recent Mental Health Developments In Kansas

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The following summarizes recent news coverage of mental health developments in Kansas and Oregon.

  • Kansas: A dispute between the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services and the regional CMS office in Kansas City, Mo., has caused "millions of federal dollars earmarked for Medicaid patient services" to go unpaid, the AP/Wichita Eaglereports. At issue is $8 million in funding SRS already has receivedfrom the federal government. However, SRS will not distribute the fundsto state mental health centers until it is assured by CMS audits thatthe state will not have to repay overpayments, Ray Dalton, SRS deputysecretary for health care policy, said. At least six fiscal quartershave gone unpaid. The delay has resulted in roughly $16 million thatwill be owed to mental health centers in the state, according to the AP/Eagle.The delay also has caused at least two community mental health centersto close, lay off workers, consolidate or sell off property. Daltonsaid he anticipates that the situation will be resolved within the nextfew weeks (Hegeman, AP/Wichita Eagle, 10/3).
  • Oregon: Trillium Family Services,the state's largest provider of mental health services for children, onMonday announced that it will cut back on the number of children itserves and will lay off 20% of its staff in response to changes instate policy, the Oregonianreports. Trillium will provide residential and community-based care to3,500 children in 2008, compared to 8,600 beneficiaries last year.According to the Oregonian, in 2005 the state began toshift focus of the children's mental health system to home- andcommunity-based services instead of residential care. The state alsochanged the way in which it compensated providers, Trillium PresidentKim Scott said. "The massive reorganization was funded without newdollars," Scott said, adding that the state Department of Human Servicesis "taking limited resources and trying to spread them across anincreasing population of people with increasing problems." Roughlytwo-thirds of Trillium's beneficiaries in 2006 were enrolled inOregon's Medicaid program. Ralph Summers, the state's Medicaid policymanager for the addictions and mental health division, said he isconfident that other providers will pick up care for beneficiaries whowill lose coverage (Cole, Oregonian, 10/2).

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