Friday, April 24, 2009

Grades for KS Health Care

I have been approaching this issue with a sense of humor, often laced with a little sarcasm, but tonight I'm just weary. It's been an exceptionally long day and I think I'm not only tired but terribly disappointed with bureaucrats, administrators, senators, commissioners, governors and just people in general.

The second appeal is final. It took 69 days for them to say "no," employing the same rationale, that is, electronic components (the C-leg and anything with a battery) are excluded. No explanation why, no explanation why amputees are the only group singled out with an "electronic exclusion" just, "Because we said so." That worked with me when I was 2 years old. It doesn't now. Decisions are based on reasoning.

Despite all the BS I was fed when they got wind of the Call for Action Report, the discriminatory and insulting language regarding insurance coverage for amputees will be left in the 2010 State Employee Health Care contract. The state will continue to practice disparity by providing proper care for amputees who are State Medicaid recipients, but not for their State Employees.

We did what we were told. We contacted the benefits office, BCBS of KS, then KHPA, then the KS Health Care Commission and the Governor. We talked to Senators and Representatives. Here's the breakdown:

Congressman Dennis Moore: They gave it a good run but got nowhere. Congressman Moore has yet to co-sponsor the federal prosthetic parity bill. I'll give him an A for effort and a C for not co-sponsoring the bill. Come on - step up to the plate and make a statement!

Former Governor Sebelius: Never responded to a single letter. She is now Secretary of Health and Human Services. She gets an F for failing to respond. I thought health care was a priority of the Democrats?

BCBS of KS: Please... they just wave their hands around and say they're not responsible for anything, they just administer the contract, take your questions to KHPA, it's not us, there's nothing we can do, we just handle the paperwork. They really are "just the messenger" so it's not fair to grade them on anything except their handling of the paperwork and communication which is, frankly, dismal. They get an F for communication in writing and a B for phone communication. There are some compassionate individuals there who clearly grasp the situation, but there's nothing they can do.

KS Health Care Commission: Never responded to a single letter. They get a resounding F for not recognizing the disparity, for not being outraged that State Employees aren't getting the standard of care and for lack of simple common courtesy.

KS Health Policy Authority: Responded immediately and favorably only when there was media pressure. Presented a good case to the HCC in February to change the contract language. I'll give them a B for their effort and understanding the disparity between State Employee benefits and State Medicaid Benefits but an F for not telling me about the Employee Advisory Committee.

EAC - who is the EAC? Good question. I'm just now hearing about them. Apparently, they are responsible (according to KHPA) for recently advising HCC not to change the State Employee contract language. I can't grade them because I don't even know who they are or how they based their decision.

When it comes to health care for working amputees, the State gets an F. There is so much finger pointing and lack of accountability that it becomes impossible to sort out why they choose to neglect their State employees and who is responsible. Maybe the new governor will be more responsive.

If are a KS State employee, or an amputee that has faced similar discrimination, contact me at I'm not giving up until we end this disparity.