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health care

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.

NBC11news.com

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.

Rural Blog

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.

Green MPS / Flickr Creative Commons

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.

fstop/Getty Images

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.

Mark Wilson / Getty Images

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.

NBC11news.com

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
istockphoto.com

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.

CDC / dailymail.co.uk

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%.

John Moore / Getty Images

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.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

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.

Justin Dehn / Texas Tribune

a new Texas law may lead more schools to set up nurse's offices equipped to handle remote doctor visits. The program could save parents time and money. According to The Texas Tribune, the remote visits could begin at school nurses’ offices as soon as September 1st. Doctors will be able to communicate with children via a sophisticated form of video chat.

Ohio Health Insuranc / flickr creative commons

A new study shows that rural Medicare patients are much less likely to receive follow-up care. They’re also more likely to end up in the emergency room, reports The Rural Blog. The study appeared in the September issue of the journal Medical Care. Researchers looked at the number of patients who had follow-up health care visits and emergency room visits within 30 days of hospitalization.

Dave Ranney / Kansas Health Institute

From the Kansas Health Institute:

For years, the state of Kansas has partnered with a network of regional prevention centers to alert and connect people to mental health programs and those that prevent substance abuse, suicide and problem gambling.

But that network appears to be unraveling as state officials work toward implementing what they call a more holistic, data-driven approach.

Mike Hoff / Creative Commons

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Kansas officials have decided against participating in the Excellence in Mental Health Act, a federal initiative that could have generated millions of dollars for behavioral health programs throughout the state.

Data Breach May Affect Thousands of Kansans

Jul 29, 2015
Jfcherry / Creative Commons

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Company that provides online patient portal says hackers gained access to electronic health records.

Thousands of Kansans soon will be receiving letters notifying them that their electronic health records may have been compromised.

Bryan Thompson / KHI News Service

From the Kansas Health Institute:

A new partnership in southwest Kansas aims to build mental health services and help strengthen a couple of rural hospitals at the same time.

The nonprofit United Methodist Health Ministry Fund is leading an effort to make the health system work better for people in rural Kansas. The fund’s president, Kim Moore, said the current structure based on small, low-volume hospitals isn’t likely to survive long-term.

Death and Dying: An Emerging Conversation

Jul 15, 2015
Bill Snead / KHI News Service

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Editor’s note: There is an emerging conversation about end-of-life issues and the policy changes needed to give people more control over what happens to them in their final days. This series of stories, and a video produced in partnership with Kansas City public television station KCPT, are about that conversation and the role that experts at two regional institutions are playing in it.

Alex Proimos / Flickr Creative Commons

From the Kansas Health Institute:

This week’s announcement that the federal government is proposing Medicare reimbursements for doctors who discuss end-of-life plans with their patients was one Christian Sinclair has been waiting for.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Texas Tribune

Texas is hoping to attract more mental health care workers, and now the state is putting its money where its mouth is. In recent years, clinics in underserved and rural areas of the Lone Star State have had to get creative—touting clean air and low crime rates to bring in mental health professionals.

Robert Deutsch / USA TODAY

USA TODAY reports that, not only are more Americans becoming eligible for Medicare, they are increasingly sicker than their predecessors. Diagnoses of kidney disease, depression and high cholesterol have seen double-digit increases since 2008. In addition, over half of all Medicare beneficiaries have been diagnosed with high blood pressure. Two-thirds of today’s Medicare beneficiaries have multiple chronic conditions, and 15% have at least six long-term ailments.

Rural hospitals struggle to stay afloat

Apr 23, 2015
Bryan Thompson / Kansas Health Institute

There are a lot of small, rural hospitals in Kansas. Without them, many Kansans would have to travel long distances for care. What’s more, in many small towns, the hospital is one of the largest employers — making it vital to the local economy.

But declining populations, combined with changes in the way hospitals are paid for their services, are making it more difficult for many small hospitals to survive.

A special enrollment period for health insurance through the federal marketplace started Sunday. But, not everyone's eligible.

According to a recent survey, Kansas is the only state with an increased number of uninsured.

According to the Kansas Insurance Department, members of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas and other Blue organizations were also affected by the security breach.

KU Medical Center recruiting the next generation of rural health workers

Nov 27, 2014
Andy Marso /KHI News Service

In the last two years Seth Nutt has traveled to nearly every corner of Kansas, introducing rural students to health care professionals.

Veterans Choice Cards arriving soon in Kansas

Nov 7, 2014
stripes.com

The V-A has begun mailing cards to veterans who may need medical care outside the V-A health care system. The cards are called Veterans Choice Cards.  They’re intended for veterans who live more than 40 miles from the nearest V-A health care facility—or who have faced excessive wait times for appointments reported Bryan Thompson for Kansas Public Radio.

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