KDADS agrees with the Disability Rights Center of Kansas to expand mental health care services
TOPEKA – Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) Secretary Laura Howard announced today that the agency has entered into a pre-trial agreement with the Disability Rights Center of Kansas (DRC) and Secretary Howard and Secretary of the Department of Health and Environment Kansas, Lee Norman.
In May 2019, the DRC released an investigative report of the 10 state-funded mental health care homes (NFMHs) in Kansas, titled “Stuck in Institutions: The Crisis of Mental Health Supports and Services in Kansas,” which highlighted the decline in state funding for community services for Mental Health from FY 2007 – FY 2018 and Institutional Care Funding in Kansas.
“KDADS, Governor Kelly and the Kansas Legislature have worked hard for the past three years to improve behavioral health services in Kansas. This agreement continues us on the path to strengthening the continuum of care for those in need of mental health services, with an emphasis on community-based options, “said Minister Howard. “We look forward to making progress now and in the future for those living in Kansas’ mental health care facilities.”
The report released by the DRC in 2019 was followed by a letter of formal notice dated June 18, 2020 alleging discrimination against people with mental illness in violation of Title II of the American’s with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Fair Housing Act will. and the requirements of the Medicaid Act for Pre-Screening and Resident Screening (PASRR). The letter was submitted by the DRC on behalf of the Topeka Independent Living Resource Center (TILRC) and, as stated in the letter, the “Hundreds of People with Mental Illness Needed in Homes” in the NFMHs of Kansas.
The DRC was joined by two national partners, the Center for Public Representation (CPR), a public interest law firm, and the AARP Foundation (AFL), the AARP’s not-for-profit arm, which works nationwide for vulnerable older adults. Shook, Hardy & Bacon, LLP served as local legal counsel.
The agreement reached by KDADS / KDHE and DRC / TILRC / CPR / AFL / Shook, Hardy & Bacon identifies eight practice improvements for the state to implement nationwide over the next eight years:
- Increase the number of NFMH residents receiving special services;
- NFMH residents receive information and informed choices about community options;
- NFMH residents receive information and support to help remove barriers to community transition;
- Expand supported housing options nationwide for the target population;
- Expand Supported Employment nationwide for the target population;
- The case manager develops a person-centered plan that includes specialized services and community transition upon admission to the NFMH;
- Increase Peer Support; and
- Developing flexible assertive community treatment teams (ACT) and mobile crisis intervention and stabilization services (MCIS) in conjunction with CMS approval of a condition plan change supporting nationwide providers of certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHC).
The agreement also foresees three outcomes with targeted targets for the next five years:
- Reduce the number of referrals for admission to risk groups and enrollment in NFMHs by 10 percent per year;
- Reduce the number of NFMH residents by a target number per year with an average length of stay of more than six months; and
- Each year, increase the number of residents discharged from an NFMH into community service and staying in the community for at least 12 months by 20 percent.
Much of the funding to support the agreed results has already been made available in the FY2022 budget approved by Governor Laura Kelly.
About the Center for Disability Rights
The Disability Rights Center of Kansas (DRC) is the federally mandated and funded protection and advocacy system for the state of Kansas empowered to advocate for the civil and legal rights of people with disabilities.