HPPR Health, Education & Welfare


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Photo illustration by Todd Wiseman / Jason Unboun / Texas Tribune

Texas’s complicated method for funding its public schools has increasingly come under criticism in recent years. Last week the case finally reached the state Supreme Court, reports The Texas Tribune. The high court upheld the state’s public school funding as constitutional, but didn’t exactly praise the system.


The United States is facing an increasing doctor shortage in the near future. But rural medical schools may be the answer, reports InsideHigherEd.com. Over the next nine years, the country will be short as many as 95,000 doctors, the Association of American Medical Colleges predicts.

Megan Hart / KHI news service

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Kansas health advocates lauded the Food and Drug Administration’s decision Thursday to regulate electronic cigarettes, while those in the vaping industry pointed to harm to businesses and people trying to quit smoking.

Creative Commons

Eggs are a big part of many American’s diets. And evidence shows that, for the most part, eggs have high nutritional value. Just how good for you are eggs? There’s no question they’re the gold standard when it comes to protein, says the Salina Journal. Research shows a deficiency in protein can hinder your ability to produce antibodies. And high-protein breakfasts may be especially helpful in weight loss because they control appetite.

New hope for a struggling hospital in southwest Kansas

May 12, 2016
Bryan Thompson / KHI news service

From the Kansas Health Institute:

A southwest Kansas hospital on the verge of having to close its doors appears to have a new lease on life, thanks to a recent management contract with an Oklahoma company.

The Environmental Protection Agency has apparently made a preliminary finding that glyphosate is unlikely to cause cancer in humans, though the report isn’t yet available, says Politico.


This week is National Nurse’s Week. In honor of the event, the personal finance website WalletHub has conducted an in-depth analysis of 2016’s Best & Worst States for Nurses.


Planned Parenthood has filed a federal lawsuit against the state of Kansas over a plan to strip it of government healthcare funding, reports Newsweek. According to court documents released this week, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment plans to cut Planned Parenthood off from state Medicaid funds beginning next Tuesday. The agency is acting at the bequest of Governor Sam Brownback, who says no Kansas taxpayer money should go to Planned Parenthood.

Center for Rural Affairs

In recent decades American life expectancies have been increasing. At least, that’s true for most of us. But for rural Americans, the story’s a bit different. According to The Center for Rural Affairs, new research shows a reversal of the life-expectancy trend for some Americans in out-of-the-way areas. If you’re rich, the data shows, it doesn’t matter where you live. But if you’re poor, where you live can determine how long you live.


Health care providers received some welcome news this week. According to KUT and The Texas Tribune, the Obama administration has agreed to temporarily keep federal Medicaid money flowing into the Lone Star State. The money will go toward helping hospitals treat uninsured patients.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media:

Schools across the U.S. served more than 5 billion meals in the national school lunch program to millions of students last year. Each one of the meals has to meet federal rules for nutrition. Now, those rules are up for debate and Congress could impose changes on the cafeteria.

A new study has found that one in seven residents of the Texas Panhandle struggles to put food on the table regularly. The report was compiled by a Chicago-based nonprofit group called Feeding America. The Map the Meal Gap study found that 16 percent of those living in the Texas panhandle are "food insecure," according to Amarillo.com.

KHI news service

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Chronic disease risk factors higher among minority groups, adults with lower education levels.

More than one-quarter of adult Kansans say they don’t have any of five major behavioral risk factors for chronic disease, but the picture isn’t so rosy for minorities, men or people with lower incomes.


How common is gambling in your state? In some places, like Utah, it’s prohibited by law. In others, like South Dakota, it’s rampant.


A Kansas school has found a new approach to education that teachers say is resulting in more concentration among the kids, reports The Wichita Eagle. In fact, student behavior has improved and the overall atmosphere at the school has changed. What’s the secret? A program called Morning Mindfulness. It’s a half-hour of play therapy, yoga, coloring, crafts and other activities designed to calm children and help them focus before study begins.

State of Arkansas

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Thursday signed an appropriation bill into law and used a line-item veto to ensure continuation of the state’s Medicaid expansion, ending a two-week budget standoff.

The Medicaid expansion covers more than 267,000 Arkansans who make less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level (annually about $16,000 for an individual or a little more than $33,000 for a family of four).


A new report is out detailing the effects of legalized marijuana on the state of Colorado. Forbes magazine drew some conclusions from the data.

First, and most obviously, is that less criminalization means fewer criminals. This may seem obvious, but it’s a fact that’s often overlooked. Fewer pot arrests means less money spent on prisoners. That money can now be channeled toward activities with a bigger “public safety payoff.”

Leong / Shutterstock

White women in rural America are having a hard go of it. A recent Washington Post article reported that, around 2000, the death rates for black Americans and Hispanics began to fall while the death rate for white Americans began to rise.


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.

Alex Smith / Heartland Health Monitor/KHI

From the Kansas Health Institute:

On a busy league night in a Raytown, Mo., bowling alley, former auto worker Raymond Fowler keeps up his game playing alongside his wife and longtime teammates.

Fowler, who’s 67, stays busy in his retirement, but it’s not all fun and games. A few years ago, he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and made a lot of changes to his diet and exercise routine, which now includes four bowling sessions a week.

Christian Murdock / The Gazette

Citizens of El Paso County in Colorado have grown increasingly concerned about the presence of wind turbines in the area, reports The Gazette.

County residents have accused the local energy company, NextEra, of causing various health problems. Complaints include headaches, nausea and dizziness, as well as inaudible, low-frequency sound waves known as infrasound, and a phenomenon known as shadow flicker.

American Heart Association / Daily Beast

A new scientific paper has proposed a potential future solution to the more than half a million people who die every year in the US from heart failure. Though it may sound like science fiction, humans may one day be able to grow new tickers when the old ones go bad.


pioid overdoses continue to take lives in rural America. To combat the problem, Oklahoma law enforcement agencies have been certified to administer an overdose rescue drug. The drug, known as naloxone, has already helped save the lives of 30 people in the state, reports KRMG.


When it comes to completing coursework at two-year colleges, Texas is falling behind, reports My San Antonio. This could prove a hindrance in years to come. By 2020, a full 30 percent of US jobs will require some college experience or an associate’s degree.

Aaron Jacobs / Flickr Creative Commons

It’s a brave new world, and the old public school curriculum of Reading, Writing, and ’rithmetic is being added to and evolved in fascinating ways every year.

Chan Lone / Texas Tribune

Despite lower uninsured rates that in previous eras, Texas still has one of the highest rates of uninsured children in the country, reports member station KUT. And those rates seem to differ according to racial and ethnic lines, according to new evidence.

Susie Fagan / KHI news service

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, April 7, after Gov. Sam Brownback signed a bill reauthorizing the Local Food and Farm Task Force.

Residents of St. John packed a room in late January for an emotional, standing-room-only town hall meeting.

Medicare shakes up joint replacement payments

Apr 12, 2016

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Medicare patients likely won’t notice the difference, but their doctor may have more skin in the game when it comes to their outcomes if they get joint replacement surgery at many of Kansas’ largest hospitals.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently announced a program that would require participating hospitals to repay some money for knee and hip replacements if the average cost of a procedure is too expensive due to complications.

News 9

Should you for some reason happen to be in the basement of the Oklahoma capitol next Wednesday afternoon, you’re going to witness an impressive sight.

Up to 40 Oklahoma’s educators will arrive ready to fill out applications to run for state elected office, reports News 9 Oklahoma City. The public school workers are running to try in response to deep cuts to education funding in the state, which have gutted schools and left students in the lurch.