health care

Part 1 of a three-part series.

An alarming number of women die while pregnant or shortly after giving birth in Texas. According to national researchers who say the U.S. as a whole has a serious problem, Texas is an “outlier” when it comes to its high rate of maternal deaths.

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Health care costs for Coloradans are above average, according to a new study, and highest in the state’s eastern plains.

A study by the national Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement found that Colorado’s health care costs are 17 percent above average when compared to Maryland, Minnesota, Oregon and Utah. The cost of outpatient services in Colorado was even higher at 30 percent above average

Almost the same number of Texans who signed up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) during the last enrollment period signed up this time, according to the federal government. The figure took experts by surprise because there were federal cuts in funding for outreach and assistance.

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It’s no secret that rural Americans don’t have enough options when it comes to health care. In fact, life expectancies for rural Americans have been dropping. Meanwhile, rural Americans are at more likely to die from each of the five leading causes of death in America.

Health navigators are available in Wichita to help people complete applications for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplace before Friday's enrollment deadline.

One of the community sites offering free, in-person enrollment assistance is the La Familia Senior/Community Center north of downtown Wichita. A bilingual health navigator is taking appointments through Friday to help people get signed up for a health plan.

La Familia executive director Carla Lee says this is the third year the organization has offered the one-on-one assistance.

No one at the hospital in Fulton, Missouri (population 12,790) had ever heard of a management consultant named Jorge Perez until he showed up at its potluck in September.

Farmers, Ranchers Concerned About Health Care Costs

Jul 18, 2017

As the national debate on health care heats up, farmers and ranchers have a lot on the line.   

As Politico reports, farmers have been struggling with the economic challenges of sluggish crop prices and sharply lower farm income. And even though close to 90 percent of farmers have health insurance, their concerns over health care is more widespread than it may seem.

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In 2012 Ted Cruz was elected to the U.S. Senate from Texas, largely on a platform of demolishing the newly enacted Affordable Care Act.

Five years later, Cruz is doing his level best to fulfill that promise, despite the fact that the political landscape has shifted beneath his feet.

When evening falls, Brian Hunt makes his way to a comfortable chair in a sun room on the south side of his house near La Cygne, Kansas. But he’s not settling in to relax. He’s going to work.


On Wednesday, U.S. Senator Jerry Moran held a town hall meeting in Garden City, where health care and education were the primary topics of discussion.

As The Garden City Telegram reports, Moran said he that while he wants every American to have access to health care, he doesn’t believe it’s guaranteed by the federal government.

Dodge City Medical Center (DCMC ) will join clinics in Garden City and Ulysses as a partner of Colorado-based Centura Health.

A growing number of health care providers are recognizing the importance of incorporating spiritual care in medicine.

As The Huffington Post reports, health care professionals are often trained to disregard spirituality and religion when dealing with patients.

Dr. Christina Puchalski is one of a growing number of medical providers bucking that trend.

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A task force formed to address rural health care problems recently determined that keys to Kansas’ future in that arena include expanding telemedicine and addressing workforce shortages.

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In recent months Texas has launched itself into the center of the anti-vaxxer movement.

According to a new report by Science magazine, the Lone Star state is us quickly becoming a battlefield in the war between those who support childhood vaccinations and those who claim they’re dangerous.

Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

Federal officials expect over one million more people to sign up for Obamacare in 2017, according to the U.S. Health and Human Services Department. The feds estimate that almost 14 million people will sign up for coverage. That’s compared with fewer than 13 million this year.

As The Rural Blog notes, the agency estimated that “average monthly enrollment in 2017 is estimated at 11.4 million people, up from 10.5 million people in 2016.”

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In November, Colorado voters will decide on Amendment 69, which would institute a statewide health care system in the Centennial State.

Hewlett Packard Enterprises

Kansas has signed a deal to upgrade the Medicaid computer system that tracks patient claims and payments to providers.

As member station KCUR reports, Hewlett Packard Enterprises has entered into a $215 million contract with the state to provide the system.

Colorado has a proposed single-payer health plan on the ballot in November. Amendment 69 would create a state-run health-care system, funded both by taxes and by transferring money out of various federal programs.

As KDVR reports, the money would go directly into the coffers of ColoradoCare, the state’s health program. The government-run health insurer would be the first of its kind in the country. The proposal is expected to cost more than $30 billion.

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently drew criticism for releasing ratings of almost 4,000 hospitals nationwide. The hospital industry objected that the rankings were unfair and overly simplistic.

Texas Tribune

Last year advocates for the disabled in Texas became enraged when the state legislature instituted sweeping budget cuts to a state-funded children’s therapy program. Last week those advocates received some good news, reports KVUE.

On Friday the Texas Supreme Court delivered a temporary, last-minute victory to families of children with disabilities. The cuts were scheduled to take effect July 15, but the Supreme Court’s order will delay those cuts.

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From the Kansas Health Institute:

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 6 p.m. June 16.

Kansas health centers will receive more than $2.2 million to improve access to oral health care — funding that is desperately needed, according to a Kansas dental health advocate.

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From the Kansas Health Institute:

Doctors-in-training learn a lot about the workings of the human body during medical school and residency. But many are taught next to nothing about the workings of the health care system. One university in Washington, D.C., is trying to change that.

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Most Americans want the government to pay for health care, a new poll shows. According to KRMG Tulsa, 58 percent favor replacing the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, with a federally funded health care program.

A campaign recently began in Colorado to initiate the nation’s first single-payer health-care program. The proposal would provide universal coverage and replace insurance premiums with higher taxes. But almost before the effort had even begun, lobbying groups started raising money to defeat it.

Most doctors unsure how to discuss end-of-life care, survey says

Apr 22, 2016

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Doctors know it’s important to talk with their patients about end-of-life care.

But they’re finding it tough to start those conversations — and when they do, they’re not sure what to say, according to a national poll released Thursday.


The number of people dying from heart disease has been falling, according to a new study reported in The Daily Mail. Heart disease is the world’s leading killer. Rates have dropped significantly in many parts of the US since the 1970s. But the rates of decline vary dramatically according to geographical area. Counties in the North are seeing the fastest declines, sometimes dropping by as much as 84%.

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Colorado has been a trailblazer in the legalization of marijuana, and now the state is looking to break new ground in health care. Next year Coloradans will vote on whether to become the first state to set up a single-payer system similar to Medicare. The move would mean opting out of ObamaCare, reports The Guardian. No state currently has free statewide healthcare.

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Fall is here, and it’s time again for flu shots. Officials are making clear that they’ve tried to avoid a repeat of last year, when immunizations proved ineffectual against a surprise strain. 170 million doses of flu vaccine are expected this year, reports The Kansas City Star. Options range from traditional shots, a nasal spray, a high-dose version for seniors, and even a needle-free injection for squeamish patients.

New ER to Open in Texas Panhandle

Sep 10, 2015
The Canyon News

The Texas Panhandle is getting a new emergency room, reports The Canyon News. But this ER isn’t in a hospital—it will be located on the block between I-40 and Amarillo Boulevard. Having an emergency room outside of a hospital is not new to Texas, but it’s new to the Panhandle. The facility is being opened by four seasoned ER doctors, who have 60 years of combined ER experience. The new emergency room, known as ER/NOW, opened for business at 7 a.m. last Friday.