HPPR Health, Education & Welfare

Health

‐state policy‐impact of federal policy‐rural health care delivery‐access & availability

Education

‐state policy‐programs and opportunities‐access & availability

Welfare

‐state policies‐income levels‐wellness‐quality of life

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.

Pixabay / Creative Commons

The federal health reform law known as the Affordable Care Act prevents insurers from considering pre-existing health conditions when setting premiums for consumers. But they are able to consider age, location and tobacco use.

And that means some Kansans who smoke are charged higher insurance rates, which may discourage low-income smokers from getting health coverage, according to a new issue brief from the Kansas Health Institute.

Concern Grows Over Uninsured Rates in Rural America

Sep 15, 2015
NEC Corporation of America / Creative Commons

The Institute of Medicine has grown increasingly concerned about the rate of uninsured rural Americans. Experts lament the growing threat uninsured Americans pose to the very fabric of America’s health care system.

Many Kansas Students Fall Short in Test Results

Sep 11, 2015
Mike Hutmacher / Wichita Eagle

Kansas residents had a look at state public school test assessment results this week, and the news isn’t good. As The Wichita Eagle reports, a majority of Kansas students are not ready for college-level work. The results were the first collected from new Common Core-aligned state tests administered last spring. In English, only 42 percent of Kansas students met grade level expectations for college readiness. In math, the level of prepared students fell to 34 percent.

Warren Vieth / Oklahoma Watch

Enrollment in Oklahoma’s state-supported health insurance program continues to dwindle, reports Public Radio Tulsa. The program, known as “Insure Oklahoma,” has been shrinking steadily for five years.

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.

Texas Enacts New Breastfeeding Law for State Employees

Sep 9, 2015
Christina Rutz / Creative Commons

Breastfeeding mothers who are employed by the State of Texas will now have an easier time of things. A new law took effect on September First that will provide legal protections to breastfeeding state employees, reports The Texas Observer.  

wikipedia.org

From the time we’re little, our parents teach us to watch out for muggers, pickpockets, and other lurkers. What is more difficult is protecting ourselves from invisible germs we pick up either in public or at home where we think we can let down our guard. Somehow, somewhere, an unseen virus targeted my immune system the first week of school. I apparently didn’t wash my hands nearly enough.

Creative Commons

The Oklahoman recently published an editorial calling for creative solutions to the Oklahoma teacher shortage. The state currently has about 1,000 teacher vacancies. That’s even after the state eliminated 600 teaching jobs during the last school year. The state has seen large rallies over the past couple of years. Protestors decried the fact that Oklahoma ranks near the bottom nationally in average salary for teachers.

http://www.wtamu.edu/

Middle-class Texans hoping to receive college tuition aid from the state are increasingly out of luck, according to The Texas Tribune. And starting September first, the situation will grow more dire.

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.

Food Security Supplement / Current Population Survey, 2013

According to a new study, rural children are less likely to take part in school lunch programs than their urban counterparts. As reported by The Daily Yonder, school-aged children in rural areas are 8 percent less likely to participate in the federal nutrition program, even though they qualify at the same rates as urban children.

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.

High Plains Residents Lack Access to Abortions

Aug 24, 2015
New York Times

When it comes to abortions, High Plains residents must travel farther than almost any other US citizens, reports the New York Times.  Amarillo residents must travel 234 miles to the nearest clinic. Many denizens of the Oklahoma Panhandle and Western Kansas must likewise travel over 200 miles to have the service performed. The national average outside Texas is 59 miles.

A letter from federal lab regulators cites K-State's "history of non-compliance" that has "raised serious concerns" about the school's ability to safely contain dangerous pathogens.

Motown31 / Creative Commons

Underperforming Texas schools could face harsh penalties, according to a new law that takes effect September 1st. The Texas Tribune reports that if school districts don’t perform up to standards, the state will be authorized to strip them of their authority, or even close the school.

Mark Sebastian / Wikimedia Commons

US students aren’t getting enough sleep, says a new study by the CDC. The reason? 82% of middle schools and high schools start too early for the students to get the necessary amount of nightly rest.

US Uninsured Rate Reaches Record Lows

Aug 11, 2015
jasleen_kaur / Flickr Creative Commons

The rate of uninsured citizens in the US continues to reach record lows, reports the Center for Rural Affairs. A recent Gallup report shows the rate falling 12 percent in the second quarter of 2015.Since the Affordable Care Act took effect, the rate of uninsured Americans has fallen by over 36%. Before the implementation of the ACA, the US uninsured rate was a persistent and growing problem. The problem was made worse by the Great Recession of 2008.

A Ranking of the Best and Worst States for Student Debt

Aug 10, 2015
thisisbossi / Flickr Creative Commons

The online financial site WalletHub has published a list of the best and worst states for student debt. The site compared the 50 states by combining seven key metrics , including average student debt, the state’s unemployment rate, and the percentage of students with past-due loan balances.

Alex Proimos / Flickr Creative Commons

From the Kansas Health Institute

Once again, the majority of the nation’s hospitals are being penalized by Medicare for having patients frequently return within a month of discharge — this time losing a combined $420 million, government records show.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

From the Kansas Health Institute

One of every five Kansas adults has at least one disability, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Rare mosquito-borne disease bites another Kansan

Aug 3, 2015

This is the eighth time this year a Kansas has contracted a disease that was never seen in the Western Hemisphere prior to 2013.

KUHF

The United States is producing so much oil these days that there aren’t enough pipelines to get it to refineries along the Gulf Coast. The solution: railroads. And many community activists are concerned that not enough is being done to prepare for crude fires and train derailments in residential communities, says StateImpact, a reporting project of NPR stations.

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.

Scott Davidson / Flickr Creative Commons

The Texas radio news magazine Texas Standard has published a list of “10 Things about The Sandra Bland Traffic Stop That Every Texan Should Know."

Bland was arrested on July 10, and charged with assaulting a public servant. She was later found dead in her cell. Investigations were launched by the FBI and the Texas Rangers.

Creative Commons

Family farmer and agriculture advocate Katie Sawyer recently came across an article in Time magazine that questioned the safety of eating pork. While Sawyer admitted that the article’s author got it “half right,” she took to Kansas AgLand to set the record straight.

Flickr Creative Commons

For the past few years, the case against GMOs has grown and companies like Monsanto have entered the spotlight as activists call for labeling of genetically modified foods.

Kansas Near Bottom in Summer Food Program

Jul 21, 2015
Andy Marso / Kansas Health Institute

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Half of Kansas kids now qualify for free- and reduced-price lunches during the school year.

But only about 7 percent of those kids participate in summer food programs that keep them fed when school is out, according to a Wednesday presentation at the 2015 Kansas Conference on Poverty.

Bryan Thompson / Kansas Health Institute

From the Kansas Health Institute

A nonpartisan, nonprofit group of more than 500 retired generals and admirals see school nutrition as an important factor in military readiness.

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.

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