It’s Why We Exist…

Even though the Kentucky General Assembly isn’t in session, I’ve learned that there is plenty of activity to keep Frankfort buzzing during the summer.

Work around the Government Nonprofit Contracting Task Force has kept me at the Capitol more than usual this summer.  The second Task Force meeting was held earlier this week and will have four more meetings before the Task Force must submit its recommendations for next steps to streamline nonprofit contracts with state government.  While the Task Force has much less time to explore the issues and form its recommendations than outlined in the legislation, members are engaged and committed to, at a minimum, determining how this important work to save government and nonprofits time and money should continue beyond the revised report due date of December 1, 2016.

I was also unexpectedly busy last week because of a letter KNN submitted during the open comment period for the Bevin administration’s waiver proposal to modify Kentucky’s Medicaid program.

If you haven’t read the letter – you can click here to read it.

Several news outlets reported on KNN’s letter and some opposed to the proposal have used member comments in the letter to fight for their cause. Sometimes things were quoted accurately.  Sometimes the quotes were not accurate.  Here are a few clarifications:

Why did KNN submit the letter to the Bevin Administration?

KNN was invited by Governor Bevin’s staff to meet on their proposed Medicaid waiver in June.  At that time, the proposal had already been released and meetings for comment had been scheduled around the state.  The community engagement piece was already included in their proposal, but the meeting provided KNN with an opportunity to share some of the often overlooked realities of running an effective volunteer program – the resources of staff and finances required for training, support, space, background checks when required, and more.  During the meeting, it was communicated that there would be some nonprofits who would not be impacted by this proposal at all because they do not utilize volunteers; there would be some nonprofits who are structured in such a way that they might be able to accommodate the potential influx of volunteers; and other nonprofits who would find great hardship in trying to help their fellow Kentuckians meet this requirement.  Concerns were also expressed about nonprofits located in rural communities.  Regardless of these realities and concerns, KNN committed to assist in whatever way we could if the requirement remains in the proposal and if the proposal is approved by the federal government.

Because members were also expressing concerns on this issue, KNN decided that formalizing the June conversation and directly sharing the member comments we were receiving was important to ensure these thoughts were “on the record” and submitted during the open comment period.

KNN submitted the letter because we exist to advance Kentucky’s nonprofit community.  Sharing the realities of volunteer management as a part of nonprofit management best practices and serving as a vehicle for member concerns is an example of what we do.  It’s our job.  It’s why we exist.

Is KNN opposed to or in favor of the Medicaid waiver proposal?

The letter is straightforward.  KNN does not have a position on the Medicaid waiver proposal or more specifically, we do not have a position on the proposed community engagement requirement. 

KNN’s letter included member comments received via Facebook and email. The only comments that were not included, were a handful from individuals who are not KNN members.  None of these comments were supportive of the proposal.  With the exception of a few grammatical and spelling corrections, the comments in our letter were not edited or condensed or rephrased because KNN’s letter served as a vehicle for our members – editing comments or choosing which to include or exclude would, in essence, be taking a position.

What happens next?

The Bevin Administration’s final Medicaid waiver proposal was submitted on 8/24/16.  If the waiver proposal is approved by the federal government, KNN is committed to helping connect our members who are interested in working on this initiative with state government. It is our hope that the letter was helpful to the administration and whatever the outcome, KNN is here as a resource.

In summary, I am so grateful to our KNN members who submitted comments via social media and email – it was my privilege to share their front-line experiences and I appreciate each taking time to comment.  I also want to thank those nonprofit professionals who took time to email, text and call me last week – 97% (yes, I counted) of these were in appreciation of their state association’s voice on the importance and realities of volunteer management.  Of course, we’ll keep you posted! And to those nonprofits who’ve not yet become a member of your state association – I urge you to join KNN and join the conversion.

Every day, I am reminded of the incredible opportunity I have as KNN’s executive director to work with such fine men and women leading outstanding organizations across this Commonwealth.  Advocating for you, for your vital work, for our sector – it’s why we exist…


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