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Kansas Medicaid Patients Struggle to Obtain Medical Equipment


TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) – Medical equipment – like wheelchairs, walkers or bath chairs – can make a big difference in the quality of life for people with disabilities. But Kansans who are on Medicaid often face red tape and that can cut them off from the equipment they need.

Doctors, therapists and advocacy groups say the delays and denials of prescriptions for medical equipment are happening much too often. Rocky Nichols, executive director of the Disability Rights Center of Kansas, says the issue got worse when Kansas privatized its Medicaid system 10 years ago and handed over management to insurance companies. “There’s been a lot more problems,” he said. “It’s a lot more difficult for people with disabilities or parents of kids with disabilities to get what they need under Medicaid. We don’t have the right incentives in the contract that the state controls, to ensure that things are provided promptly.”

Nichols says the state needs to force insurance companies to pay for necessary medical equipment more quickly.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says it is working to raise reimbursement rates through Medicaid. It did not respond to questions about long wait times and denials. (Read more.)