2013 DSNWK News

PDC Receives Grant from 2nd Century Fund


Prairie Developmental Center in Atwood secured a grant for $1500 from the 2nd Century Fund for a variety of maintenance and updating projects in their Community Room. Some of the projects will include painting, carpet cleaning and new window treatments.

Over these 14 years, both PDC and various local organizations have utilized the room and enjoyed it’s benefits. DSNWK would like to thank the 2nd Century Fund for it’s continued support and generosity of PDC.

A Message from the President


The 2013 Kansas legislative session is once again upon us and it may well be one of the most challenging session we have ever faced. Millions of dollars in tax cuts from last year has resulted in fewer dollars available to pay for essential services and supports for our most vulnerable Kansas citizens. As you can imagine, less revenue means fewer dollars available to address the chronic under-funding of service providers like DSNWK all across Kansas. The lack of adequate funding comes as no surprise as this shortfall has been clearly called out by the community developmental disability service system and acknowledged by the Administration, most recently through their rate commission. Adequate funding remains a major challenge for us as we continue struggling to find and retain qualified staff.

Probably the most concerning issues today are those that surround the implementation of KanCare. KanCare is a new system of managed care where large, for-profit insurance companies are engaged to manage Medicaid dollars for Kansas. Beginning January 1st, 2013, all medical services and behavioral health services under Medicaid have been off-loaded to one of three Managed Care Organizations now operating in Kansas. Attempting to make a complex situation, less so, for the majority of persons we support, their supports could be viewed in two aspects. The first would be the “Medical side”, or their medical services. These services have long been paid for under the Medicaid program to address the person’s medical needs paid to the persons local hospital, doctors, pharmacists and other health care providers.

The second aspect would be the person’s ‘Lifelong supports’, or the daily help they receive from support staff. These Lifelong supports would be the community services and supports provided by DSNWK to help the person with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) live, learn and work in their community and have a ‘real life’. These community services are generally life-long services, which happen to also be funded with Medicaid dollars through a partnership between Kansas and the Federal government, through what is called a Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Medicaid Waiver. It is vital to understand these two aspects of the person’s life because they are very different from each other, with the common thread - the funding stream Medicaid. As you may recall, it was our advocacy position during the 2012 legislative session that the long term services and supports for persons with I/DD did not fit the KanCare model. Through education efforts along with resounding concerns from parents, families and advocates, the decision of the Governor called for most of the long term services DSNWK provides to be ‘delayed’ for one year, until January 2014. That was a good decision, at that moment.

Today, we have been supporting individuals and their families (on the ‘medical side’ - which is included in KanCare) and it has been anything but smooth. There have been bumps in the road, and some of that is to be expected with any system roll out, however, some fundamental ‘bumps’ give indication of the lack of knowledge and understanding of the persons with I/DD we support. There are many illustrations, however, denying payment for a liquid medicine for a person who used a “G-tube” because there is an ‘oral’ (less expensive) version of the medication tells the real motivation behind the Managed Care decisions — cost savings / the person’s unique needs. We have experienced many concerns and with the experience we have had so far with the KanCare roll-out process, we believe now, more than ever, that our temporary (one year) ‘delayed carve in’ of Long Term I/DD Services and Supports should be made a ‘permanent carve out’ of KanCare. The fears and concerns we believed would happen under Managed Care, have been happening. Our motivations emerge from decades of proven commitment to individuals and their families, through our mission. A mission, forged out by families and advocates who sought local solutions and services, which were designed to understand and meet the unique needs of their sons, daughters and friends with I/DD. This is contrasted by the actions of profit-seeking MCOs. The KanCare effort is touted as ‘bending the cost curve’ for the state, and perhaps some savings can be found. Savings found by complicating processes and creating obstacles for people and providers in the community services system, already resulting in pended payments and, worse yet, denials of continuing common sense medicine, prescribed by Doctors who know and understand the situation, is deeply troubling. If we do not advocate for people, recognizing KanCare and it’s negative implications on people, who will?

The measure of a society can be determined by the ways in which it treats its weakest members. We should not go down a road that puts at risk the health and safety of our most vulnerable citizens, masked as coverage reductions and/or denials, and we certainly should not disguise such efforts as efficient and cost saving - not at the expense of our vulnerable sons, daughters and friends with I/DD. Because of the great risks to individuals with I/DD and the community service system, we will continue to address our concerns, bringing them before our state leaders and legislators. Educating our northwest Kansas legislators on this issue, as well as the many other funding challenges we face, will require vigilance and courage. It will also take you and people like you to talk to your legislators and tell them of your support of the community services system that have proven itself as cost effective and talk about the importance of the services we provide and how funding restrictions negatively impact the lives of persons with I/DD we serve. This year, it will be vital for all of us to take the time to educate our legislators. Some are aware and are supportive, however, more than a third of the legislators at the Capitol are new.

My plea to all of us is this, let us not sit back quietly, watching and hoping for the best. If you are so inclined, I would ask you to join me and get involved. Stand up and make your voice heard. Join us as we advocate for the preservation of the community I/DD service system that is not broke and to dedicate the overdue funding increases needed to sustain quality services for people with disabilities. Together we are stronger. Together we can be heard, and the lives of persons with I/ DD all across Kansas will be shielded from the scheduled inclusion of their long term services into KanCare, a gamble that is slated to occur in January 2014.


Gerard L. Michaud President

Advocates: KanCare concerns clear

By Kaley Conner, Hays Daily News


With the clock ticking on implementation of the state’s new Medicaid program, advocates in northwest Kansas are saying it is not right for facilities providing long-term care to clients with intellectual and developmental disabilities. A bill introduced in the House seeks a permanent carve-out for community services, meaning organizations such as Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas would not transfer to the new KanCare program.

“We’ve had concerns over the last 18 months where we have said, ‘This is not a good fit,’ “ said Jerry Michaud, DSNWK president. “We’re trying to make it work. ... Try as we might, it appears it doesn’t fit and we have real concerns about that.” While most aspects of developmental disability services will not be covered by KanCare until Jan. 1, a few facilities in Kansas have gone live with the program for intermediate-care facilities offered through the ICFMR program.

DSNWK offers the services in Norton and has had difficulties making the transition, Michaud said. The organization has not yet reached contracts with any of the three private managed care companies now administering state Medicaid claims. Negotiations are ongoing, but DSNWK staff is concerned the proposed contracts do not reflect the service’s mission, he said. DSNWK, as of last week, had not received payment for ICFMR services provided during the last month and a half, Michaud said, noting a sum in excess of $125,000. “We’re working with the state, and we believe they’re going to try to resolve this,” Michaud said. “But this is, out of the box, a process that was supposed to be ready and operational. “If this is the test drive, why would you want to buy the car?”

When KanCare was implemented Jan. 1, providers were given a 90-day “continuity of care” period to continue contract negotiations. Payments during this time were supposed to continue as normal, Michaud said. Michaud acknowledged some bumps are to be expected with a new system but said staff does not believe KanCare is the best option for developmental and intellectual disability care. DSNWK is not alone. Many care providers throughout the state, as well as consumers and their families, object to the new system, said Matt Fletcher, associate executive director of Interhab, a Kansas advocacy group. The possibility of carving developmental services out of KanCare first was introduced during last year’s legislative session. More than 20,000 Kansans contacted their representatives regarding the issue and 57 counties — including all 18 counties in northwest Kansas — passed resolutions of support, Fletcher said. A hearing on the bill, HB 2029, was last week. A concern often expressed during the past year has been whether the contracted managed care organizations understand the types of facilities or have adequate experience working with them, Fletcher said. “A number of parents spoke in favor of the bill at the hearing and indicated there are concerns with services for their sons or daughters being managed in these companies that have very little experience nationally with something like this and almost no experience with the Kansas system of services for this population,” he said.

Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration has predicted KanCare will save the state $1 billion in five years by curbing increasing Medicaid costs. There is concern, however, additional administrative requirements associated with KanCare could increase costs absorbed by local facilities. At DSNWK, Michaud said employees are “spending hours” on the phone to get approval for Medicaid payments. “Our programs are becoming more expensive solely to pay for new administrative layers at the expense of services which are already underfunded,” Michaud said in his testimony at the Feb. 20 hearing.

Meanwhile, the state of Kansas recently launched a pilot program to give service providers an opportunity to experience KanCare before full inclusion in the program next year. Fifteen providers and 85 consumers throughout the state have expressed interest in participating, said Angela de Rocha, spokeswoman for the Kansas Department for Aging & Disability Services. Others are hesitant to sign up for the pilot. Many providers had hoped the pilot would be a test of the new program’s effectiveness, Fletcher said. “It’s certainly not going to be a true test of whether this type of managed care should be applied to these services, and so we’re disappointed with the outcome,” he said.

Government officials are confident inclusion in KanCare will enhance care for consumers, de Rocha said. The program is intended to coordinate all aspects of care, she said, noting patients with developmental disabilities often require medical and behavioral health care in addition to home-based support. “We think the people who are receiving these services will get better care under a managed care organization. Their care will be coordinated,” she said. “Someone will be paying specific attention to whether their three kinds of care mesh and work for them.” The state’s other Medicaid waivers, such as care for the frail elderly and people with physical disabilities, were incorporated into KanCare at the beginning of this year. “Nothing is perfect, but all in all, it’s worked fine for them,” she said. “So we have reason to believe that it would also work out for the DD population.”

Sander’s Actions Speak Loud and Clear


Don’t let Shannon Sander’s shy demeanor fool you. The goals she has set to work and live independently speak out loud and clear. Shannon works two part-time jobs, one as an independent contractor to clean the Highway Patrol offices and the other as a dishwasher at JD’s Chicken. Both of Shannon’s employers are happy with her work and feel she does an excellent job.

“She is really the ideal employee. She comes to work everyday, does her job well, is always punctual and rarely sick,” expressed Dawn Marlett, owner of JD’s Chicken. And Shannon loves her job. Each day, she gets up and drives herself to each of her jobs. “I really like my co-workers and my bosses are great at working around my schedule,” stated Sanders.

Both jobs were obtained through the support she receives from the Job Placement Followalong program at Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas. Shannon utilized the support of her Employment Specialist, Marlene Irwin who helped her to find employment after being out of the workforce for a few years and maintain it by supporting her throughout the following weeks. “Shannon needed some help getting back into the workforce. We assisted her in finding work by helping her with applications, interviews and we continue to support her at her work site,” expressed Irwin. Shannon’s desire to work has also allowed her to purchase her own home. In 2011, Shannon bought a home for herself through the Rural Development program and lives there with her new dog Bentley.

The Follow-along program, which receives funding by the United Way of Ellis County, can be looked to as one of the key components of the success that Shannon has experienced. Irwin believes that without the support of the program, Shannon would not be where she is today. “Because Shannon has a shy personality, she needs that extra support from us to be successful”, stated Irwin. “With the Job Placement Follow-along program, she does an excellent job and is very appreciated by her employers.” Shannon also believes she owes a lot of thanks to Irwin and the support she has received. “Marlene has helped me a lot. She has helped me to get to where I want to be,” said Sander.

Legislative Update/Summary — 3-10-13:


Dear Parent/Guardian/family member, It has been my desire to update you on KanCare and DSNWK. I apologize in advance for the length, though I thought you would want to know. I have included reference information regarding: • KANCARE OVERVIEW/BACKGROUND: • KANCARE ROLL OUT and CONCERNS: • HEARINGS — GOVERNOR’S BUDGET for Community I/DD Services and KANCARE - CARVE OUT: • HEARING CARVED IN or CARVED OUT OF KANCARE

STATUS REPORT: • The Latest Threat — SB 194 (Hearing set for 3/12/13 — Committee on Public Health and Welfare) This walk with KanCare has been filled with twists and turns and the latest is just one more. As family members you likely have felt this directly with the all the questions tied to the Auto assignment to the MCO, the PCP, etc. I am including some history/background information below. The key purpose of this letter is to provide information to help all of us to understand the importance of speaking up with the real issues we are facing under KanCare. Those experiences today are indicative of what we will face in the future. IMPORTANCE OF GETTING INVOLVED: • Easy to Use Communication Tool to Tell your Story — Share your concerns and experience under KanCare — • www.InvisibleKansans.com website There are strong points made in the referenced testimony - perhaps some aspect resonates with you.

As community leaders, good citizens and advocates for persons with I/DD, we have an obligation to share our concerns. Engaged legislators desire to hear your concerns directly from you, their constituents, (via calling, visiting or sending emails) for this is how the representation process works. For those interested in a useful tool, an attached quick link to the • www.InvisibleKansans.com website may be of help. You will find a ready-written message to use as a starting place. Personalize the message or discard it and create your own personalized message. Such messages, of course would be coming from individuals as citizens, from home addresses. It is important to speak up for what is best for Kansas citizens with I/DD. We have a unique perspective of their needs and a grass-roots commitment to serve them. The community service system is ‘about the people’ and we have always had the desire to work collaboratively with the Administration, including how we might improve how things work on the medical side of Medicaid for these citizens. We have an uphill challenge as we have experienced a number of concerning ‘bumps in the road’ in these first couple of months under KanCare.

With the latest bill proposing to change the DDRA, there appears more pressure to change this community system that is not broken, and which has not been able to sit by silently and watch the harm brewing on the horizon under KanCare. CDDOs and community services for individuals have been effectively managing the care of persons with I/DD. Historically, the cost per/person today is roughly the same as it was 15 years ago. From our personal experience, the inclusion of long term services and supports into KanCare, via our ICF/MR services, has been complex, time consuming, costly and anything but smooth. • The Current Community Service System is locally managed, Cost Effective and Certainly Not Broken: The journey we take each day is filled with decisions at every juncture. The State is also on a journey and the stakes are high. I believe we all want to choose the best path, to avoid wrong turns and to bypass costly mistakes. The application of KanCare, on the ICF/MR services (not delayed in the Governor’s action last session) provides a clear window to see just how inappropriate these community LTSS fit the KanCare model.

The test drive of KanCare in the community I/DD system demonstrates a burden shifted upon an unbroken and efficient system, adding an unnecessary layer of complexity to be managed by unfamiliar organizations - MCOs. The MCOs stand to benefit financially from inclusion and yet they are unfamiliar with what long term I/DD services are really about. Adding a costly layer of oversight, by unfamiliar entities, proves only to complicate services. Why would we choose such a path that distracts the focus and energy away from essential services without factual benefit? These and others are good questions to ask. Thank you for getting involved - it is vital. I would appreciate receiving a copy of any communication you send. This will enable me to be aware and able to better answer questions that may emerge in the process. We are continuing to educate and advocate. Sincerely yours, Jerry Michaud DSNWK President ((Each person is encouraged to read the information below as it is important and provides insights about the real experience of KanCare.))

KANCARE OVERVIEW/BACKGROUND: KanCare is an overhaul of the Medicaid system into a managed care model. It’s a hot topic issue due to the number of people it affects and the massive amount of money that will go into the program to be managed by out-of-state insurance companies. This remains a hot topic issue because providers, advocates and individuals have continued to sound in and share concerns about Managed Care for persons with Intellectual / Developmental Disability (I/ DD), and their Long Term Care Services and Supports. KanCare is among the key topics and from the outcome of the 2012 Legislative Session, we know I/DD waiver services were delayed for an extra year, or until January 2014. Involved families and guardians, and support staff know well that KanCare rolled out on the ‘medical side’ of I/DD services — with its autoassignment to Managed Care Organizations and Primary Care Providers (PCP) i.e. Doctors; and other Medicaid providers (pharmacy/Rx elements).

KANCARE ROLL OUT and CONCERNS: Most are unaware that some services we provide (Long Term services for people with I/DD) were NOT delayed, and in fact they began on January 1, 2013 - they include individuals served in the ICFs/MR, in the Working Healthy/WORK program, or through the Autism Waiver. The messages from the State conveys that KanCare is saving millions of dollars already and is working as intended. The community experience of this implementation is very different. To mention a few, there have been billing and contracting nightmares already and the experiences of people with disabilities on the medical side under KanCare have been challenging. These experiences include decisions made by MCOs which have resulted in such things as denying appropriate medication. It is important to be engaged in the process and share your story and your concerns. Doing so takes courageous, caring and involved citizens. Now, more than ever, it is important for sensible people to become involved.

HEARINGS — GOVERNOR’S BUDGET for Community I/DD Services and KANCARE - CARVE OUT: On February 7th a hearings occurred in the House Social Service Budget Committee. During the hearing, testimony was provided relating to the Governor’s FY 2014 and FY 2015 budgets - inclusive of I/DD services. Testimony included stories of families touched by community services and those that are still waiting for services. (I have included a quick link to DSNWK’s electronic bulletin board with this information).

Link HEARINGS (2/6-7/13)— GOVERNOR’S BUDGET for Community I/DD Services and KANCARE - CARVE OUT CARVED IN or CARVED OUT OF KANCARE — STATUS REPORT: On February 20, 2013 - in the House Social Service Budget Committee - testimony was provided on HB 2029, a bill which called for the “carving out” or exclusion of our services (I/ DD - Long Term Care services) from KanCare. The testimony tells of the actual experiences of KanCare hitting the I/DD system. DSNWK submitted supportive testimony on this. The content is helpful and for that reason I have included the documents below.- FYI.

Link February 20th Hearings — Testimony on Carve Out Bill (HB 2029) As you know, we heard last year, how inevitable it was that the Community I/DD service system would be carved ‘in’ to KanCare. We know that many people sounded in with their concerns at that time and the Governor heard the voices and delayed the inclusion of their Long Term Services and Supports (LTSS) for one year. The concerns and fears regarding our services included into the KanCare model have not diminished, in fact, they are being realized today. Seeing this unfold emboldens concerned people to call for the permanent exclusion of I/DD, LTSS from KanCare. In this model, the gamble taken by the administration is one that touches Kansans’ most vulnerable population. Concerns for this massive overhaul and a redirection of funds to out-of-state insurance companies has caught the attention of many. Concerned individuals and passionate family members of persons with disabilities have put a spotlight on this. The media remains interested as well (see attached Hays Daily News Article).

Link 2-27-13 HD News Article “Advocates KanCare concerns clear Legislators who recognize the unnecessary risks of such a model for persons with I/DD and their families, are also concerned, though the pressure is clearly there from the Administration to support KanCare. On February 25th, the Social Service Budget Committee voted to NOT advance HB 2029. This means the bill is now on the inactive agenda of the committee. Not dead, but not exactly alive. There is certainly disappointment in learning this news, perhaps, but as long as we have voices willing to speak up for and with us, we are not defeated. The Latest Threat — SB 194 (Hearing set for 3/12/13 — Committee on Public Health and Welfare): SB 194 poses to change the Developmental Disability Reform Act by altering CDDO responsibilities and limiting service options for organizations like DSNWK. It attacks the community I/DD system which has been working effectively for many years, in cooperation with Counties as the CDDO.

DSNWK has been the CDDO for the 18 Northwest Kansas Counties and has continued to operate since the DDRA was made Law in the mid 1990s. The CDDO Peer review process has yielded no evidence necessitating any such action at DSNWK. The general assertions are simply not supported by fact. The fiscal note for this bill reads in short, “The passage of SB 194 would have no fiscal effect on the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services; however, the bill would substantially change the operations of CDDOs that currently perform functional assessments and provide services for these same individuals”.

For quick access, the Web address is included just below: http:// www.kslegislature.org/li/b2013_14/measures/sb194.

Donations Needed for Benefit Sale


DSNWK’s Employment Connections will be holding a benefit sale in April 27 and is in need of donations. This is a great way to clean out your storage closet and support people with disabilities at the same time! Contact Employment Connections at (785) 626-2018 if you have something to donate and to arrange a pick up time.

Bill has disability advocates worried

By Kaley Conner Hays Daily News


Advocates for developmentally disabled Kansans flocked to the Statehouse this week, concerned by proposed amendments that would strip Community Developmental Disability Organizations of some authority. If passed, Senate Bill 194 would make it illegal for the same organization to provide services if it also conducts needs assessments or eligibility determinations. It also would prohibit CDDO employees from providing case management services if their organization offers supportive services.

“The bill is very controversial, and it’s very personal to the people that it affects,” said Kansas Sen. Elaine Bowers, R-Concordia. “We’ve had a lot of conversations from people all over the state on this bill. The case managers are very important and personal to these residents.” Bowers said she expects the bill, which the Senate substituted for a House bill regarding cosmetology licensing, to stall this session. “I don’t know if there’s support to change that right now,” she said. The issues raised particularly are concerning for residents of rural Kansas, where there might not be other service or assessment options readily available.

The community-based system was established by the state in 1995 to offer those with disabilities a better quality of life. At that time, it was understood some facilities would need to fulfill multiple roles, said Jerry Michaud, president of Hays-based Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas. “As far as the part of the case management and if we start pulling things out and creating unnecessary obstacles ... I think the end result is the people with developmental disabilities and their families would be the losers in all of this,” he said. “Which is why I believe there’s fervor in their concern.”

The debate was spurred by concern about possible conflicts of interests. Bowers said some were concerned a CDDO possibly could diagnose and provide services without giving other qualified providers the opportunity. That does not seem to be an issue in western Kansas, she said. “I do see this as urban/rural (issue) even. They might be addressing a problem in eastern Kansas,” Bowers said. “Our (CDDOs) might be, in some cases, the only ones to provide the service, so we don’t have that conflict.” Michaud said concern is addressed by a peer-review process established by the state in 2007. Reviews compiled by the state since 2009 indicate the system is scoring more than 90 percent on its peer-review outcome measures.

“It’s not broken,” Michaud said of the current system. Some are concerned the proposal might have political motives. Many developmental disability service providers have opposed the state’s new Medicaid program, KanCare, and have asked to be excluded. The program went live Jan. 1, and DD services are set to join it Jan. 1 unless the Legislature approves the exclusion. “I think the ulterior motive has to do with KanCare and controlling what we do with Medicaid in Kansas,” said Bart Betzen, who was among the advocates lobbying in Topeka this week. Betzen’s brother has been receiving home-based services in Hill City since 1988. Before that, he was housed in three different state institutions, he said. “Since he’s been in the community, it’s like he’s living with family, and I can’t say enough good things about the people who work at DSNWK. They treat him like a family member,” Betzen said. “That’s really why I got involved in this process.”

For now, Betzen said he and others are “cautiously hopeful” their advocacy efforts might have tipped the scales. “I was pessimistic going in, thinking we wouldn’t make any difference in what we were saying because the Legislature knew what they were going to do,” he said. “It was really a good feeling to see our grassroots approach and just telling people we were concerned make a difference.”

2013 InterHab Push Day Rally May 8 10:30 AM to 2:00 PM Capitol South Lawn


You are invited to come to the Capitol for InterHab’s Push Day 2013! Join people from all across Kansas Push Day for a rally to permanently carve out long-term DD care from Governor Brownback’s “KanCare” proposal to reform Medicaid managed care. We want to send a strong message to our legislators that our concerns have NOT been addressed and that they MUST take action to remove long-term care services from KanCare.

Schedule of Events: Overview 10:30 AM: Welcome Address 11:30 AM: Rally Address 12:00 PM: Lunch 1:00 PM: Visit Legislators, Deliver Advocacy Material and Fill the House & Senate Galleries Please contact Steve Keil at DSNWK (785) 625-5678 if you would like to attend. With your help, we could make this the most powerful advocacy event of the session.

The KanCare Puzzle: Evaluating the Pieces – One clearly does not fit


On April 11, the Hays Daily printed an editorial on KanCare (the overhaul of Kansas’ Medicaid system affecting 380,000 people). The author understood the gravity and complexity and gave insight about the stories of those who have rubbed shoulders directly with KanCare, providing a common sense call to action for Community Services for people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) and their Long Term Services and Supports (LTSS). I’ll use the acronym (I/DD—LTSS) for easier reference to these services. As a general reference, these are the residential, day and other services provided by Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas, Inc. (DSNWK) each and every day of the year. With gratitude to the Governor’s Administration for delaying inclusion of these services in to KanCare, the delay expires December 31, 2013.

The plea for permanent ‘Carve Out’ of I/DD—LTSS from KanCare has not lessened. Most people may not realize that DSNWK’s Intermediate Care Facilities/Mentally Retarded (ICF/MRs) and our WORK/Working Healthy programs were NOT delayed and DSNWK was among the I/DD—LTSS providers expected to ‘report for duty’ under KanCare in January, 2013. Since the late 80’s, partnering with the State in the closure of Norton State Hospital, DSNWK has been providing and billing for ICF/MR services ever since. In anticipation of the shift to KanCare, ICF/MR providers met in December to talk about the details. During the meeting, our jaws dropped at the question from a representative within the new KanCare model. The question, ‘What does the acronym ICF/MR stand for?’, was a deep and concerning early indication of the unfamiliarity of the KanCare model and the I/DD—LTSS system slated to begin in a few weeks. As an experienced provider, we went from ‘straight-forward’ to ‘complex and confusing’ and from a billing process taking mere minutes a week to complete, to a continuous process requiring perseverance and hours each day under KanCare. Delayed payments from MCOs surpassed $130,000 for us in early March. I/DD—LTSS providers in the state have had to borrow money to cover payroll. Seeking remedy, we contacted legislators and the administration.

Although we are appreciative of their support, getting paid should not require such ‘acts of congress’. As for the contracting process with the three MCOs, this has been a frustrating and costly process and we remain without contracts. Below are additional pieces of the KanCare puzzle:

o A perplexing price tag or “Fiscal Note” of nearly $100 million to “Carve Out” I/DD—LTSS from KanCare. Carving out - providers like DSNWK would continue doing what they have been doing. With no rate adjustments since 2008 and a flat funded Governor’s budget for FY 2014 and FY 2015, this is a puzzling equation to understand. ($100 Million represents the Administration’s budgeted savings, or anticipated cost cutting, within the I/DD-LTSS Carved In).

o Savings are touted to be the result of ‘better care and outcomes’. This is difficult to understand when the cost of providing community services has been held nearly flat for almost two decades, is underfunded by the State’s own rate studies. The I/DD State Institutions are ICF/MR services and have been permanently carved out of KanCare by the Administration from the very beginning.

o A consultant with NewPoint, a pro-managed care healthcare advisor, revealed troubling insights regarding inclusion of I/DD—LTSS into KanCare on 3/20/13. The consultant report identified that savings for I/DD services under managed care (in Kansas that is “KanCare”) come by way of deinstitutionalization. Kansas’ has by and large already ‘been there and done that’ with its community partner organizations, like DSNWK, all across Kansas.

o Finally, if you were not aware, there has been an effort from within the legislature this session to make radical changes to the Developmental Disability Reform Act, landmark law established to manage this community I/DD—LTSS system in Kansas.

Many community advocates have expressed the desire to work with the Administration on the implementation of KanCare for the medical and behavioral health side of the lives of the people we support. We have repeatedly expressed deep concerns with I/DD—LTSS being included into KanCare, overseen by for-profit insurance companies, an idea with a mismatch of expectations, experience and philosophy. I believe there are sensible thinkers in Topeka who see the clear warning signs.

The majority view of the community service system has untiringly advocated and educated the Administration not to gamble by force-fitting I/DD—LTSS into KanCare. Decades ago, parents of individuals with I/DD, families and community leaders and advocates wanted better results and outcomes for their children and friends with I/DD. From this, the community service system was born. These desires and dreams evolved into the strong mission-focused organizations in Kansas today. I am proud to say, DSNWK is one of them. Now the next generation of parents, families and advocates are joining these pioneers in crying out again to our Legislators and the Administration, to protect the community service system.

The I/DD—LTSS is a piece that does not belong in the KanCare puzzle. The actual test drive of KanCare for I/DD—LTSS, along with peripheral points noted here, is enough to convince sensible minded people everywhere to politely hand the keys back to the sales person with a clear, ‘No thank you – this is not the right vehicle for our most vulnerable Kansans’. The Community service system urges you to do the right thing and protect the I/DD-LTSS system by Carving It permanently out of KanCare.


Jerry Michaud

President/CEO - Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas (DSNWK)

Advocates rally for Kansas disabled services


More than 1,000 people gathered on the South Lawn at the Capitol in Topeka to advocate for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and urge officials at the statehouse to maintain the current system for providing services. DSNWK took it’s largest group ever for Push Day with a total of 60 people making the trip to Topeka

. Many of those gathered Wednesday wrote messages on a 65-foot canvass banner addressed to Governor Brownback. Their messages asked the Governor to carve out services for I/DD from KanCare. Advocates voiced their concerns that the KanCare system will hurt Kansas’ most vulnerable citizens. KanCare is slated to start providing services to the I/DD population through three private health insurance companies in January of 2014.

A Homerun for Unified Softball!


DSNWK’s Unified Softball raised more money in 2013 than in any other time during its existence. More than $6000 was contributed by supporters of this inspirational event. Donations help offset the costs of the event with all additional money going into the DSNWK’s Children’s Special Needs Fund. This special fund helps families who have limited resources and who have children with disabilities.

Funds can be accessed to help pay for the high costs of equipment and other needs associated with their child’s disability. Unified Softball takes place during the months of April and May and allows all children regardless of their differing abilities to play softball together.


Legislators adopt budget: carve-out not included


The story is long, but it can be summed up simply: The issues of KanCare and IDD services were among the most strongly debated and contested items of the 2012 and 2013 sessions, but on Saturday night, in the closing hours of the 2013 legislative session, we did not prevail.

Unless the Governor and the Administration for some reason change their direction, the IDD system will become a part of the KanCare managed care program effective January 1, 2014. Advocacy among persons-served, their families, and their community service providers was tireless and courageous, and for nearly 17 months IDD advocates held off the managed care carve-in advocates, the Administration, the insurance industry, the elected leaders of both houses, the chairs of both budget committees and so on.

Up until the last half of the last day of the session, the outcome was in doubt, but in the end, the Administration’s influence outlasted the exhausted Legislature, and our supporters in the Legislature could not prevent the passage of the final budget bill of the session – the conference committee report on SB 171 – which did NOT include the carve- out of IDD services from KanCare. In a vote later Saturday night, which was somewhat anticlimactic, the Senate also adopted the report.

Much credit is owed to those legislators who stuck with us in both houses and in both parties. Special thanks to Representatives Becker, Henry, Lusk, Rubin and Ward. Thank you also to those who provided powerful commentary on the House floor such as Representatives Ballard, Bideau, Hibbard, Rubin and Ward. And much credit is owed to all of you who made tireless efforts to voice your concerns to educate your elected leaders and to advocate with great heart and tenacity on behalf of Kansans with intellectual/developmental disabilities.

There, of course, is still much work to be done. We know we can rely on powerful advocates like to you to continue all efforts to support Kansans with I/DD in leading indpendent and fulfilling lives.

Students learn different perspective

By Kaley Conner, Hays Daily News


Friday afternoon, Stormy Boisvert’s classroom was transformed into a gallery. Black and white photography adorned the walls, and spectators sipped punch while admiring the works of art. More than 100 images on display were captured by a class of students at Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas’ Reed Development Center in Hays.

”They get so excited to show off their stuff and have a big group event,” Boisvert said. The center’s College for Living offers various classes to Hays residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Boisvert’s students also displayed their artwork last year, but this was the first time for a photography class.

The students took long walks together, capturing images near Fort Hays State University, the old Frontier City attraction near Interstate 70 and in neighborhoods around the Reed Center. The result was hundreds of images, and the artistry of some of the pictures surprised spectators.

“When you tap into their creativity, it just amazes me,” she said. “It makes me so proud of them.” The students took the photos and named their creations; Boisvert simply changed them to black and white and framed them, she said. One of her personal favorites was a photo of a small wooden building at Frontier City. “They named it Abe’s House because it looked like a log cabin,” she said. Some students never had used a camera before. Others, such as Nan Ames, are hobbyist photographers. “I have my own camera,” Ames said. “I like to go out and take pictures myself. I liked this class.”

Perspective was the class’ central focus, and also the name of the art show. Boisvert encouraged her students to look at the world in a different way. Besides walks through the community, students did several exercises in the classroom. “I just encouraged them to look around and see what they could see,” Boisvert said. “You can tell they get excited. They get a sense of pride, and that’s what it’s all about.”

A Message from the President The 2013 Legislative Session ... Where we ended up.


As you all likely know, the legislative session has wrapped up and I am sure you are all desiring to know the outcome. I have received several summaries of the wrap up session and for convenience sake, and because the words captured are so well written, I’m choosing to share my rendition of them with you for this update So here’s the scoop:

The story is long, but it can be summed up simply: The issues of KanCare and I/DD services were among the most strongly debated and contested items of the 2012 and 2013 sessions, but in the closing hours of the 2013 legislative session, we did not prevail. Unless the Governor and the Administration for some reason change their direction, the I/DD system will become a part of the KanCare managed care program effective January 1, 2014. Up until the last half of the last day of the session, the outcome was in doubt, but in the end, the Administration’s influence outlasted the exhausted Legislature, and our supporters in the Legislature could not prevent the passage of the final budget bill of the session – the conference committee report on SB 171 – which did NOT include the carve- out of I/DD services from KanCare. The final debate over the entire state budget lasted only about two hours, and over half of the conversation was about services for people with I/DD. This alone is a remarkable testament to the effectiveness of your advocacy.

Amazingly, the initial vote on Saturday was stuck at a tie, and was only resolved against us after some back door arm twisting. The political environment is more complicated than most of us realize, and I say this not to let Legislators off the hook for their votes, there were many elements in the Budget bill that most certainly created a clash with voting for and against. Advocacy among persons served, their families, and their community service providers was tireless and courageous, and for nearly 17 months I/DD advocates held off the managed care carve-in advocates, the Administration, the insurance industry, the elected leaders of both houses, the chairs of both budget committees and so on.

In a vote later Saturday night, which was somewhat anticlimactic, the Senate also adopted the report. This was largely a foregone conclusion since this session became a showdown: the Governor and the Senate, versus the House. The roll call in the House showed that it was tied for a while at 57 votes apiece (with 63 required to win). However, six House members changed their vote from NO to YES (which moved the bill onto the Senate without our proviso included). The vote was not cast in a vacuum as regards our issue, the I/DD carve out issue was the most commonly referred to item. Several members of the House gave great speeches for I/DD. If they didn’t know already, before the debate was over every legislator understood that the vote was not a routine budget vote but was a vote to decide the short term fate of the I/DD system.

Much credit is owed to those who stuck with us, in both houses, in both parties and in the varying philosophical camps, especially in the House where the major battle was fought. From our perspective, we certainly share in the disappointment, but as powerful as that emotion is, more powerful is the degree to which we admire and respect each of you: For your advocacy, For your commitment to take on the toughest challenges, For your willingness to stand tall and unwavering when so many others who should have stood with you were hiding out, For your great spirit and good cheer in the face of long odds, and For your determination to awaken the hearts, minds and consciences of those who failed to recognize the value of your voices, and allow it to influence their decision-making.

Statewide observers have commented throughout this period at the sterling nature of your efforts. Thank you again for your great work. Thank you to each of you who went above and beyond, to communicate, to travel. Who gave of your time, using your talents and supporting the advocacy efforts with your treasures. Much work lies ahead of us still, work which can have a positive effect on how all things transpire for the futures of the persons we serve and their families. We cannot imagine any finer group of people with whom we could engage to take on the future ahead of us, in which we believe we can and will succeed. As family members, friends, advocates, and service providers for these most precious Kansans, our job going forward is no different than it has been in the past: to give individuals we serve a voice that is heard, a life that is filled with meaning and respect, love and accomplishment - Our Vision of Hope.

Your efforts on this issue the past two years have secured a level of credibility that I/DD advocacy has not previously held. As we go about the business of holding the state, and their partners, accountable for the promises they have made, we do so from a position of strength and confidence. Thank you for making that possible!

DSNWK to Co-Sponsor Gnarly Neon 5K


The Gnarly Neon 5K is coming to Hays! Hays’ most fun 5k is a run for all speeds and ages. Runners rock out to the sounds of a live, local DJ and get their gnarly on while being showered in neon colors throughout the course, finishing up at the after party where the colorful chaos erupts! The color starts flying at 9am on August 17th, 2013 at the Bickle Schmidt Sports Complex. Gnarly sunglasses, temp tattoos and headbands will be handed out prior to the fun. Additional color packets will be available for purchase at the packet pickup. Early registration guarantees an event t-shirt. Just show up in your whitest whites; run, skip, hop or dance through the colorful chaos; then party your face off at the Gnarly Neon after party!

Proceeds will benefit the Hays Recreation Commission and Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas as they create activities for those with disabilities. Activities and programs are designed for any individual, youth or adult, with a mental or physical disability to develop, enhance, and/or maintain leisure skills, motor skills, socialization, and overall well-being as well as to promote fun and enjoyment. To register, go on-line at www.gnarlyneon5k.com.

DSNWK Receives United Way Grants


Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas is proud to announce that The United Way of Ellis County has allocated $21,212 for the Job Placement Follow-along program for next year. An allocation of $76,935 has also been awarded by the CARE Council for ACCESS Transportation. These allocations are contingent upon The United Way reaching their 2013 campaign goal of $490,000. DSNWK would like to thank the United Way of Ellis County and the CARE Council for their continuous support.

KanCare changes loom for disability services

By KALEY CONNER, Hays Daily News


Long-term support for Kansans with intellectual and developmental disabilities will be carved into KanCare on Jan. 1, despite public opposition from service providers and people with disabilities throughout the state. Advocates asked the Legislature to permanently exclude long-term, home-based supports from the state’s revamped Medicaid program, administered by three for-profit companies. When the legislature adjourned June 2, no such action had been taken.

“I wouldn’t say our cautions are diminished, but they’ve changed,” said Jerry Michaud, president of Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas. “We know we’re on this path, so we’re kind of rolling up the sleeves and saying OK to ... the administration. Let’s use this time proactively to problem-solve and anticipate where we may have some hiccups and try to get those resolved before you go live.” Medical services for the developmentally disabled and long-term supports for other populations — such as the physically disabled and elderly — were folded into KanCare earlier this year.

The Legislature opted to give IDD services an extra year. Annual contract negotiations between service providers and the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services also have wrapped up. As part of those negotiations, Michaud said state officials have agreed to work with providers through the transition process. The state also launched an optional pilot program, which gave providers and consumers the opportunity to experience the new system before Jan. 1. Approximately 500 people and 25 service providers are participating in the pilot, said Angela de Rocha, KDADS spokeswoman. “A lot of the work we’re doing on the pilot project is focusing on the providers and billing system,” she said. “We’re hoping that by the time Jan. 1 rolls around, that we will have confronted all of what might turn out to be problems and challenges, and resolve them when the entire population in the IDD waiver is included in KanCare.”

Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration maintains the KanCare program will save money and lead to better outcomes. “The big thing to remember here is what we’re doing is paying for outcomes. Under the (old) system, we’re just paying for volume of services,” she said. “Under KanCare, we’re paying for these people to have better mental health and developmental disability health and overall health to better outcomes for all those three areas of their care they’re receiving from the state.” Approximately 82 percent of DSNWK’s revenue comes through the state Medicaid waiver.

A small percent of DSNWK’s services was incorporated into KanCare this year. The experience thus far has not necessarily been positive, Michaud said. Early this year, the local organization experienced delayed Medicaid payments of a sum exceeding $125,000. Payment issues seem to be diminishing, he said, but DSNWK has not yet reached contracts with any of the Medicaid providers for the covered services. Providers were given 90 days after Jan. 1 to finish contract negotiations. Though DSNWK was not able to meet that deadline, the administration has assured full payments will continue as long as the organization is working to establish contracts, Michaud said. Despite those assurances, one of the managed care organizations recently sent DSNWK a letter advising payments would cease after 180 days, or after June 30.

Administrators are working to resolve the issue, he said. “It’s a bit of a roller coaster ride in trying to say this shouldn’t be so complicated, but it is and it’s been that way,” Michaud said. “We’re trying to weather that as best we can, but the reality is we still don’t have contracts, and we’re working to get there.”

Golf Tourney Date Set


The date has been officially set for the Esther McMurtrie Memorial Golf Tournament. Friends of DSNWK are sponsoring and coordinating the tournament to be held on Friday, September 27th at the Ellis Golf Course. The golf tournament is a four person scramble beginning at 10:00 a.m. and will once again benefit Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas. More details to come!

Gnarly Neon 5 K Draws a Crowd


DSNWK teamed up with the Hays Recreation Commission for the Gnarly Neon 5K at Bickle-Schmidt Sports Complex on Saturday. The first ever event was put on by Mobile Game Den of Wichita and drew 330 participants. There was a live DJ and runners were showered in neon colors throughout the course before finishing up at the “Gnarly Neon” after party. A portion of the proceeds go to HRC and DSNWK. “This was a great event with a terrific turnout. We are looking forward to doing it again next year!”, stated Steve Keil, DSNWK Director of Development



The date has been officially set for the Esther McMurtrie Memorial Golf Tournament. Friends of DSNWK are sponsoring and coordinating the tournament to held on Friday, September 27th at the Ellis Golf Course. The golf tournament is a four person scramble beginning at 10:00 a.m. and will once again benefit Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas. The event will include a chance to win a 2014 EZ-GO Golf Cart with a hole in one. Other activities taking place during and after the tournament include a hot dog lunch on the course, auction following the tournament, flight prizes for the top three teams, dinner in the club house with entertainment provided. If you would like to form a team, be a hole sponsor or support the tournament with a prize or contribution, contact Belinda DeWerff at 785-621-2230

Fallfest Set for October 29th! DSNWK’s Fallfest event has been officially set for October 29th.


Thanks to the generosity of several donors including Conrade Insurance and Hays T’s, Fallfest returns to the Ellis County Fairgrounds in Hays. Fallfest will begin at 10:00 am. and will include carnival games, a dance, and barbecue lunch. “We are truly grateful to Conrade Insurance and Hays T’s for their support of this special event. Fallfest always proves to be an fun and exciting event for everyone” stated Steve Keil, DSNWK Director of Development

DSNWK Awards Luncheon Set


Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas will host its annual Awards Luncheon on Tuesday, September 24, 2013 at 12:00 p.m. The event will take place at the Ellis County Fairgrounds in Hays. Awards will be presented to DSNWK employees for years of service with five receiving Employee of the Year honors. Recognition will also be made for the achievements made by men and women in DSNWK services. These awards will be for employment and independent living accomplishments, with special awards giving for individual achievement. DSNWK will also present awards to several community members for their support of people with disabilities through opportunities in employment and other community support.

New PSA Shows Support of DSP’s


The New York State Association of Community and Residential Agencies (NYSACRA) created this oneminute public service announcement (PSA) in recognition of National Direct Support Professional Recognition Week. It was created generically enough that organizations from any state can use with local media outlets and public access channels - basically asking your community to “Thank a Direct Support Professional”. You can also use it in your agency, with your board, leadership, parents and various programs to celebrate direct support professionals and their importance in your organization and communities.

DSNWK Receives Grant from Dane G. Hansen Foundation


Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas was recently announced as the recipient of a $80,000 grant from the Dane G. Hansen Foundation. The grant award will be used to replace the roof at Pioneer Developmental Center in Russell. “We are forever grateful to the Hansen Foundation for their tremendous support of DSNWK and other organizations throughout northwest Kansas. This grant award is a great support to our efforts to continue to provide the highest in quality services for northwest Kansans with developmental disabilities,” stated Jerry Michaud, DSNWK President. Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas is a private, not for profit organization serving more than 500 individuals with developmental disabilities in the 18 counties of northwest Kansas. DSNWK has been providing quality services and programs to the area for over 45 years.

DSNWK Celebrates Successes at Awards Luncheon


Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas hosted its annual awards luncheon in Hays on September 24th. Awards were given throughout the afternoon to staff, persons served, and community members. The first awards of the afternoon were given to employees of DSNWK for their years of service. Those staff recognized and listed by location, were: Atwood - Earla Connell, Jane Griffith, Lynette Kanek, Zelda Merz Hays - Kellie Begler, Roseanne Benabdallah, Matthew Binder, Starla Conner, Michael Cox, Norma Dorzweiler, Nancy Duffy, Trevor Engel, LaVonne Giess, Robert Hageman, Alaina Hughes, Kyle Kreutzer, Ruth Lang, Jacqueline Lattin, Richard Lovin, Dawn Marlett, Gracemary Melvin, Edith Murguia, Mark Nebel, Jan Nosekabel, Dustin Olsen, Monica Roe, Rebecca Rupp, Jason Schmidt, Cheryl Snyder, Jim Strobel, Ronnie Welch, Anne Werth, David Whalen Hill City - Marla Baker, Carolyn Bell, Katherine Bell, Marva Boyd, Gertrude Deges, Sherri Jackson, Barbara Kinderknecht, Nannette Kohart, Gina Nichol, Norton - Larry Fletchall, Rene Readle, Laquita Smith Oakley - Pamela Sager Russell - Mellissa Holloway

DSNWK gave special recognition to three staff members who made successful efforts in coming to the aid of persons served by DSNWK in need and providing emergency assistance. Those recognized were: Monica Roe of Hays, Charles Bowker and Marsha Niehoff of Russell.

Special recognition was also paid to five staff members for their outstanding work with persons with disabilities. Stormy Boisvert and LeeAnn Schmidtberger of Hays, Raenette Martin of Oberlin, Tammy Morton of Hoxie and Virginia Carver of Atwood were presented with the Employee of the Year Awards.

Two $100 scholarship awards were presented to Edith Murguia and Shaunna Ruder of Hays. These awards were given from the Jerelyn Becker Memorial Scholarship Fund for employees studying in higher education in a field related to serving people with developmental disabilities.

Several awards were given to individuals served by DSNWK for achievement through employment and independence. Those receiving awards and listed by location were: Atwood - Barbara Bieker and Betty Bieker Hays - Duane Basgall, Guy French, Gary Harbers, Raylynn Lumpkin, James Lynn, Melisa Mong, Ross Mowry, Jeff Saindon, Robert Skeers, Scott Wiglesworth Hill City - Ray Dean Dancer and Rosemary Dancer Oakley - Chad Ostmeyer and Jessica Soderlund Goodland - Shelby Estes

DSNWK presented two Individual Achievement Awards to individuals served by DSNWK. Bailey Thompson of Norton and Tim Speier of Hill City were presented these awards which go each year to one youth and one adult who have shown tremendous individual progress throughout the year.

Several awards were presented to members of area communities during the afternoon. They were: Fort Hays State University, who received DSNWK’s Employer of the Year Award for their outstanding support of people with disabilities in the workforce. The Community Support Award, which was presented to an entity who has shown DSNWK outstanding support, was given to the Hays High School.

DSNWK’s Good Neighbor Awards were presented to Mark Richardson an individual served by DSNWK in Hoxie for his outstanding community volunteerism.and Harriet Richardson of Hoxie who has shown great support to the individuals served by DSNWK and the program in Hoxie.

Fall Fest Reunites Friends Across the Area


A cool and misty day welcomed over 350 people to the Ellis County Fairgrounds for one of DSNWK’s most anticipated days of the year, Fall Fest. Individuals served by DSNWK, their staff, parents and guardians gathered to participate in a day of fun and friendship the morning of October 29th.

Fall Fest, which was made possible through the generosity of Conrade Insurance, Hays Tees and Nex-Tech included a dance, a variety of carnival games and a barbecue lunch. “We are very appreciative that our sponsors were able to bring Fall Fest back for another year, stated Steve Keil, Director of Development. “This event continues to be one that the individuals we serve look forward to each year.”

Golf Tournament Raises $17,000 for DSNWK


Organizers of the Esther McMurtrie Memorial Golf Tournament are pleased to announce that over $17,000 was raised from the event. The 4 person scramble tournament was held on Saturday, September 27th at the Ellis Golf Club and organized by “Friends of DSNWK”. The event also included a prime rib dinner, auction and dance following the tournament. Proceeds are being used to benefit Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas. DSNWK serves people with developmental disabilities in the 18 counties of northwest Kansas.




DSNWK would like to invite you to view the annual art exhibition “Art Abilities ... Natural Talents 7” on display in the gallery at the Hays Public Library. Come out and see some of the exceptional talent on display from both staff and individuals served by DSNWK. The exhibit will held until December 31st.

DSNWK Holds Chamber After Hours


Norton community members gathered on December 5th at Frontier Developmental Center during a special Chamber After Hours to learn more about the newest group living arrangement for people served by Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas. The home, which will be called, Our Place will meet the changing needs of six individual with developmental disabilities.

This special home, will be fully accessible, and will provide each person their own bedroom and will be a place that anyone would be proud to live in. “Our Place” blends into the fabric of the neighborhood located at 1113 Eisenhower Street. Attendees had the opportunity to listen to a special presentation by Jerry Michaud, DSNWK President, ask questions and enjoy refreshments The event was sponsored by the Norton Area Chamber of Commerce.

ARC and TMP-Marian Make Holidays Bright for Individuals Served by DSNWK


Developmental Services would like to thank the ARC of Central Plains and Thomas More Prep-Marian High School for generously supporting the people we serve at Christmas. The ARC and TMP-Marian students purchased gifts for individuals to be able to open at Christmas. Their kindness will make the holiday season for those benefiting from this project.

The focus of the project is for those who have limited family contact and get little for Christmas. In some cases, ornaments are made and placed on Christmas trees with a list of the items that each person would enjoy receiving. “This is a project that has been going on for several years and the individuals we serve really appreciate their kindness at Christmas time,” stated Steve Keil, Director of Development.