KanCare Ombudsman Satellite Office Finds New Ways to Thrive

The KanCare Ombudsman Satellite Office relies on the work of volunteers to operate, even during this time as we work from home. The office has not lost steam, though, while we weather staff shortages and transition to working from home. These uncertain months would be so much worse if not for our strong relationships with our Topeka and Johnson County Ombudsman partners. We remain committed to problem-solving with KanCare consumers, and we’ve had to apply our creativity to the task of training volunteers as well. We have new volunteers engaged in training online from their homes in Wichita, Salina, and the KC suburbs. This makes 4 volunteers we're training, in addition to training Anita, the current VISTA for the office. Josephine, the past VISTA for the office, has also moved into a new volunteer role as she answers consumer phone calls and assists with training.

Zoom has been an excellent resource for training, along with email, phone calls, or texting. Josephine has been holding training sessions by handling calls while volunteers watch and then discuss over Zoom. She first explains the arrangement to the consumer and then obtains their verbal permission, just as we do when we’re training in the office. This way, the volunteers are able to ask questions about specific cases, discuss follow-up options and Medicaid policy, and even observe her creating case notes in our tracking system. Working from home has presented a variety of challenges for our team – but we have found ways to make the best of the situation. It hasn’t been easy, but we are continuing to thrive and even grow.