The year 2000 marked the beginning of a decade focused on efficiency and effectiveness in public service delivery.
Early in her first term, Governor Kathleen Sebelius implemented Budget Efficiency Savings Teams, or “BEST” Teams, to review state expenditures and recommend ways to increase efficiency in public services. In 2003 a BEST team recommendation was implemented to consolidate SRS regions from eleven to six. In addition, some county offices were closed. These changes were made to save money and improve services, allowing the agency to do more with less.
Many SRS regions began utilizing Integrated Service Teams, co-locating staff so that individual cases are worked from a holistic approach, focusing on all the needs an individual or family may have, rather than a narrow program based approach. Customer needs are often crisis driven, and staff meeting together as an Integrated Service Team can quickly identify an array of services for families that have the potential to move them towards self-sufficiency and prevent a similar crisis situation in the future.
In 2004, Governor Sebelius appointed Dr. Gary Daniels as Secretary of SRS. Secretary Daniels served during yet another time of significant change. The Kansas Health Policy Authority was created through legislation effective July 1, 2005 and became the state agency responsible for coordinating a statewide health policy agenda that incorporates effective purchasing and administration, including the publicly funded programs Medicaid State Children’s Health Insurance Program and Medikan. As Medicaid was transferred out of SRS, the Authority assumed the role of the single state Medicaid authority. SRS maintained the responsibility for determining eligibility for Medicaid programs and administration of Medicaid home and community based services waivers, along with Medicaid mental health and substance abuse services.
The following year, Secretary Daniels retired and the governor appointed Don Jordan Secretary of SRS.
Beginning in state fiscal year 2007, public mental health services changed dramatically as both the mental health and substance abuse treatment systems were successfully transitioned to managed care.
Effective July 1, 2007, the Mental Health Prepaid Ambulatory Health Plan was launched in Kansas. SRS contracted with Kansas Health Solutions, who is responsible for managing mental health services funded by either Medicaid or Medikan dollars. This program is designed to enhance accountability and efficiency in the public mental health service system, increase the network of qualified providers and expand our capacity to serve those in need of mental health services.
At the same time, Value Options was selected to manage outpatient and inpatient substance abuse treatment services under the direction of SRS, creating a seamless system of care by including Substance Abuse Prevention Treatment block grant funds in the management system to ensure enhanced consumer access, choice and care.
In response to changes in the Medicaid program at the federal level, SRS and the Juvenile Justice Authority in cooperation with the Kansas Health Policy Authority providers and key stakeholders established a new State Medicaid Plan Amendment for Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities to replace what had been known as Level V and VI facilities. Youth Residential Centers provide services to youth who do not need the intensity of PRTF services.
Beginning in 2006, the Kansas Child Support Enforcement program also began to look for ways to increase workforce efficiency and by 2007 had completed a contract for a statewide customer service call center in Halstead, Kansas. The call center provides customer access to trained service representatives who can answer their basic questions, allowing SRS staff more time to concentrate on locating missing parents, establishing paternity, and establishing and enforcing support orders.
After more than a year’s planning and work with parents, stakeholders, providers and partner state agencies, SRS implemented a home and community based services waiver to provide early intensive intervention services for young children with autism in January 2008. Funding was allocated to provide services to 25 children the first year and an additional 20 in state fiscal year 09.
Also in 2008, SRS launched a new, agency-wide strategic plan that aligns staff priorities, program delivery, customer service and policy development. The two overarching philosophies of the plan, which have evolved from a multitude of prior agency initiatives are being customer centered and creating workforce efficiencies.
SRS anticipated the business environment in which it operated to experience significant change. These environmental factors required the agency to consider the capabilities and resources needed to position it to meet the future needs of its customers. Some foreseeable challenges included: changing demographics, unpredictable social service environment; limited resources; and significant loss of experienced and skilled staff due to retirement.
SRS knew that with those challenges came opportunities to realign resources to effectively position the agency for future success. The Strategic Plan provided the framework to build toward such successful realignment.