Research Matters

Research Matters

Medicaid in Kansas

Better access to preventive screenings and care for people with physical disabilities and cognitive limitations could help avert and prevent worsening of many chronic diseases that result in higher costs to the state¹s Medicaid program, according to a University of Kansas researcher.

Episode #95

2 minutes (3.7 MB) | Download mp3


Preventive care can boost results and shrink the price tag for Kansas Medicaid. From the University of Kansas, this is Research Matters. I’m Brendan Lynch.

Kansas soon may trim its contribution to Medicaid, the program that provides health insurance to groups including people with disabilities. Amanda Reichard, who mines the state’s Medicaid data at KU’s Research and Training Center on Measurement and Interdependence in Community Living, says Kansans on Medicaid with physical and cognitive disabilities often suffer chronic conditions, like diabetes, that boost the cost of the program.

Reichard: They have chronic conditions at a higher prevalence rate that people in the general populations. They also are also far more likely to experience barriers in accessing the health care they need.

For instance, the KU researcher found that more than 70 percent of Medicaid recipients with physical disabilities also are overweight and at a high risk for diabetes.

Reichard: We believe that if we can help people to lose weight, it will improve their success with managing their diabetes. Medicaid could cover diabetes education, which it doesn’t currently. It could help them understand what they should be eating, and the relationship between managing their blood sugar and losing weight. That would help people to have better quality of life and result in cost savings.

Yet, this same population is much less likely to receive preventive services than people with no disabilities, and thus prone to costlier hospitalizations.

Reichard: Current Medicaid reimbursement rates for health care providers discourage them from providing care to people with disabilities who have Medicaid as their primary insurance. Physicians don’t feel that Medicaid reimburses them at an adequate rate — and rightly so. In addition, many people supported by Medicaid lack reliable transportation and, as a result, are more likely to miss an appointment or be late. Plus, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities frequently require extra time at an appointment.

For more on Medicaid in Kansas, log on to Research Matters dot KU dot EDU. For the University of Kansas, I’m Brendan Lynch.

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