Task Force submits findings, makes recommendations to LRC
Removal of the Child Support Enforcement Program From Cabinet for Health and Family Services Among Legislative Recommendations
FRANKFORT—-Co-chairs Senator Steve Meredith, R-Leitchfield, House Speaker Pro Tempore David Meade, R-Stanford, and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services Organizational Structure, Operations and Administration Task Force have concluded their 2022 interim efforts. The task force’s findings and recommendations have been submitted to the Legislative Research Commission for consideration.
“I’m proud of this task force’s efforts over the interim period. We’ve been incredibly diligent and took time to hear from representatives of the many agencies in the cabinet,” Meredith said. “Improving the operations of the state’s largest executive agency will improve services for the people reliant on them and will ultimately lead to cost savings for the Kentucky taxpayer. I appreciate everyone’s dedicated work over the past few months and am hopeful our work can continue into 2023.”
“I appreciate the incredible effort put into this task force and the commitment symbolized by these findings,” Meade said. “Because it serves our most vulnerable Kentuckians and accounts for a significant part of state spending, we will continue our efforts to make the cabinet more effective and efficient.”
In a memorandum approved by the task force at its final meeting on Wednesday, Meredith, Meade, and fellow task force members outlined operations of the state’s largest executive branch cabinet, consisting of 93 agencies, branches and functions, and employing over 6,600 people. The committee entertained testimony from cabinet officials throughout its six 2022 Interim meetings. Guests included officials from the Department of Medicaid Services (DMS), the Department of Aging and Independent Living (DIAL), the Department for Community Based Services (DCBS), The Department of Income Support and more.
Notable findings resulting from the task force’s work include:
–The cabinet has 93 agencies and 6,618 employees who are responsible for administering various health and social services programs, including administration of many federal programs.
–Outstanding child support arrearages is $1.4 billion. Lack of adequate controls and oversights exist to ensure collection of unpaid child support.
–Workforce challenges hinder operations within the cabinet's largest agency, the Department for Community Based Services. As a result, services are often neglected. Additionally, the hiring process is long, and it takes months to bring an employee on board.
–To care for Kentucky’s growing aging population, Kentucky will need to increase geriatricians by 430 percent by 2050 and home health and personal aides by 37 percent by 2028.
–One-time American Rescue Plan Act funds are likely to impose financial challenges in the cabinet’s future operations as those federal dollars dissipate.
Legislative Recommendations Include:
–Continuing the task force into 2023 due to the size of the cabinet and scope of its jurisdiction to ensure a more thorough study.
–Moving the Child Support Enforcement Program from the cabinet to the Office of the Attorney General.
–To ensure independence and integrity, separating the offices of the ombudsman and inspector general from the Office of the Secretary.
–Requiring agencies to remove redundancies and barriers to administering Medicaid programs.
–Requiring the Office of Human Resource Management to work with the Kentucky Personnel Cabinet to identify and remedy barriers and redundancies in the hiring process.
–Re-evaluating legislative committee structure in order to better serve Kentuckians’ needs.
The Kentucky General Assembly’s 2023 Legislative Session is set to begin on Tuesday, January 3.