health care

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.

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.

Obamacare could be a tough sell in rural America

Sep 20, 2013
Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

The Affordable Care Act, often called “Obamacare,” takes a big step forward Oct. 1 when new health insurance marketplaces open for enrollment. Rural families are more likely to qualify for subsidized coverage, but reaching them to sign up will be part of the challenge.

So, will farm country take advantage of new health insurance subsidies? That’s the question in Nebraska.

Almost 200,000 Nebraskans don’t have health insurance. Nearly half of them are spread across the state’s rural areas.