Brownback administration appoints new KDHE secretary

KANSAS - Jeff Andersen was appointed as new Acting Secretary Friday by the Brownback administration. 

“Andersen’s extensive and successful background on both the provider side of healthcare as well as with managed care makes him a great leader for this very important agency,” says Governor Brownback, “We are pleased he has chosen to join our team in this role.”

"I started out in the insurance manage care side of healthcare, but migrated over to the provider side working for the largest hospital organization in the country," Andersen said. 

Andersen officially starts his position on Tuesday, taking over for Interim Secretary Darin Dernovish. 

On Friday, Andersen sat down with Capitol Bureau Chief Courtney Ryan to talk about his priorities for the department.  

"I know the leaders in the department are already looking at ways to improve care coordination for the patience of Kansas, and really simplifying the benefit so it's simple for the patience to navigate the Medicaid system," Andersen said. "Ultimately the big picture goal would be to run a program that's really a model for other states."

When it comes to KanCare, the state's privatized Medicaid system, which is overseen by KDHE and the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Service, Andersen looks to improve the current model. 

"Whether you call it 2.0 or not, we know there are ways to improve what we currently have," Andersen said. 
The state is currently in the process of applying for a federal wavier to launch "KanCare 2.0" which would take effect in 2019. Under "KanCare 2.0" work requirements would be required for some people receiving Medicaid benefits.

"My understanding is we followed the CMS guild lines as it related to the work requirements, and incidentally of the 420,000 or so Medicaid recipients in our state only about 11,000 or two percent of the Medicaid population would be subjected, or potentially deal with those work requirements. So I think we're just following the success other states have had there, and trying to model and customize this for Kansans," Andersen explained.

Andersen said while he knows there is a lot of work to be done, he is excited for his new role.
"This department touches virtually every Kansans in some form or fashion. So it's not often that you can take a job and have that kind of impact."

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