InterHab is dedicated to bringing about bold change for Kansans with developmental disabilities

Our staff and membership take seriously the responsibility to work with local, state, and federal policymakers to ensure that all Kansans with developmental disabilities have the opportunities to live inclusive lives as independently as possible.
Much has been accomplished over the last 50+ years, but with each new political era comes new challenges. We are focused on ensuring that community supports and services providers have the necessary tools and funding to provide quality life experiences and outcomes for the Kansas I/DD community. And, we are focused on holding the State accountable to its requirements under state and federal law.


The 2019 InterHab Big Three:

Number One: Direct Support Professional Workforce

Organizations that provide community-based services to Kansans with intellectual and developmental disabilities are facing a workforce crisis in their most vital positions – direct support professionals who provide critical care on a daily basis.  Without legislative action, this crisis will grow to impact the I/DD network’s ability to provide services.

  • I/DD providers are hard pressed to offer competitive wages that are even comparable to entry-level fast food restaurants in their communities. The state’s unemployment rate currently hovers around 3% meaning that a tight job market only exacerbates this issue. Nationally, the DSP starting wage averages about $10.79.  

  • The current DSP workforce is aging, and I/DD service providers face a double hit in the next few years as baby boomers leave the workforce and also begin to need human service supports themselves.

  • The I/DD population continues to grow, which requires a growing workforce to match. Further, federal initiatives such as the Medicaid HCBS “Final Rule” may require more individualized services that will greatly increase the need for DSP’s.

 

Number Two: Provider Capacity

Kansas I/DD service providers are struggling to maintain the capacity to serve the existing population of Kansans with I/DD who receive HCBS and case management services.

  • In spite of recent reimbursement rate increases, I/DD service providers have remained significantly underfunded for the past two decades. That underfunding impacts every aspect of providers’ business operations.
  • DSP worker shortages seriously impact capacity. I/DD service provision is a 24/7 job, which is labor intensive. Providers already struggle with costs associated with high turnover of DSP positions, including overtime hours as well as investments in recruitment and training of new workers.
  • I/DD service providers also face increasing administrative burdens that threaten capacity. Punitive licensing measures, state background check bottlenecks and State Fire Marshal overreach have combined to cause a number of smaller providers to shutter their doors.

 

Number Three: HCBS Reimbursement Rates

Kansas I/DD service providers need continuing adjustments to their funding in order to catch up for decades of underfunding as well as keep pace with rising costs.

  • Rate increases of 3% in 2017 and 4% in 2018 were greatly appreciated, but largely equated to the inflationary increases providers experienced during those two years. Before those rate increases, providers had gone almost a decade without any increase in funding.  
  • Administrative and legislative leadership is required in order to ensure that I/DD service providers continue the progress made in 2017 and 2018.

  • A long-term solution akin to a “cost of living adjustment” process is needed to ensure that I/DD service providers receive annual adjustments in their reimbursement rates. Such a process would help providers recover from decades of underfunding, and build needed capacity to not only support the existing I/DD population but also begin to serve those Kansans with I/DD who currently wait for service.