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KanCare providers give state an employment boost

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 28, 2012 at 12:16 pm •  Published: December 28, 2012

"The program is designed to address both the need for employment among persons with disabilities in Kansas as well as employer needs to grow their businesses and the Kansas economy," Stearns said.

Amerigroup has hired more than 250 employees with a goal of 274 in the state. The company has a new office in Overland Park, which includes a customer contact center.

"As we grow in Kansas, we expect to expand our workforce," said Laura Hopkins, Amerigroup Kansas chief executive officer.

The Sunflower State Health Plan is headquartered in Lenexa, but has staff located statewide. The company plans to hire more than 230 employees initially to manage their contract, but a spokeswoman said the number could increase after Jan. 1.

"Our approach to business is based on the core belief that quality health care is best delivered locally," said spokeswoman Monica Stoneking.

Kansas officials have put in place safeguards to ease the transition to the new system, including allowing recipients to keep their current physician for 90 days, even if the doctors are not in provider networks. In some areas, the MCOs haven't been able to get enough specialty physicians to join the networks initially.

Similar provisions cover care received at out-of-network nursing homes, hospitals and community-based services designed to keep residents in their homes.

Most Kansans who receive state medical assistance are covered by managed care through private contractors, but the Medicaid overhaul represents the first time the state has tried to include relatively expensive, long-term care for the disabled and the elderly, including those in nursing homes.

The three companies offer competing plans, giving KanCare participants choices of services, such as preventive dental care for adults. Participants have until April to switch plans and the contracts offer incentives to the companies to pay claims quickly and improve overall health of program participants.