ORIGIN AND MISSION
The Kansas Health Policy Authority was established in 2005 with the passage of Senate Bill 272 in the Kansas Legislature. The bill established KHPA as a state agency within the executive branch of state government (KSA 75-7401, et seq.). Its general charge is to improve the health of Kansans and to develop and maintain a coordinated health policy agenda that combines effective purchasing and administration of health care with health promotion-oriented public health strategies.
Before 2005, the state of Kansas purchased health care and health coverage for state employees and various other populations through myriad programs and agencies. A primary reason for consolidating those programs into a single agency was to leverage the state’s combined purchasing power to achieve greater efficiency and cost savings. The Executive Director of KHPA has the responsibility and statutory authority to oversee the Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance (CHIP) programs, the State Employee Health Benefits Plan, and State Workers Compensation, as well as the health care data responsibilities of the former Health Care Data Governing Board.
The bill called for forming a 16-member board of directors to govern the agency, including nine voting members appointed by the governor, speaker of the house, and senate president, as well as seven non-voting, ex-officio members. The seven ex-officio members include the secretaries of Health and Environment, Social and Rehabilitation Services, Administration, and Aging; the director of the Department of Health and Environment; the state insurance commissioner; and the executive director. In 2008, the Kansas Legislature designated the state education commissioner as an eighth ex-officio member. The board provides independent oversight and policymaking decisions for the management and operation of KHPA.
ACTIVITIES AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS
In 2006, KHPA’s board chartered the Data Consortium, a public advisory group (to the Board) that makes recommendations regarding health data and policy (e.g. reporting standards and access to health information). The Data Consortium includes four workgroups (access, affordability and sustainability, quality and efficiency, and health and wellness) tasked with selecting measures, prioritizing measures for public reporting, identifying needed and available data for reports, coordinating initiatives across agencies, and determining how to develop and sustain routine reporting. Consensus measures are prioritized based on a tiered system that accounts for the availability and integrity of existing data. The Data Consortium has achieved agreement on quality indicators, and the baseline data on each indicator is posted for public viewing.
The governor and the 2007 legislature charged KHPA with developing a comprehensive health reform plan. That plan consisted of 21 policy recommendations. Legislation in 2008 (SB 81 2008) codified some but not all of the original 21 priority areas requested by KHPA. Current focus areas include medical home, a Community Health Record initiative, transparency, health literacy, and a crosscutting Medicaid transformation. KHPA is addressing all focus areas, but its priorities are driven by data trends. To address transparency, KHPA has created a website that enables consumers to compare the cost and quality of health care plans and providers. KHPA also has been involved in the process to define a Kansas medical home passed as part of health reform.