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

Egg imports from the Netherlands will be soon be allowed under a new decision from the U-S Agriculture Department. As Harvest Public Media’s Peggy Lowe reports, that’s because the huge outbreak of bird flu in the Midwest has hurt supplies.

Snack Pak explosion

May 28, 2015

Childhood hunger is one of the most overlooked and underreported problems in our region. An Amarillo couple’s volunteering experience with America’s Promise at Margaret Wills elementary prompted them to connect with Snack Pak 4 Kids. Today Snack Pak provides more than 3,700 weekend sack lunches for around 50 schools in the Amarillo ISD very week. Snack Pak provides more than 6,000 in 34 other school districts in the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma. Dryon Howell says the program is making a difference. He’s been involved in Snack Pack for Kids since 2010. Howell says kids can’t learn if they’re hungry. And Snack Pak is making a difference… a measurable difference. Howell says 2/3 of AISD teachers surveyed in the last three years have seen an academic improvement because of the program.

Federal regulators are requiring extensive renovations to make the Kansas State Hospitals safer for patients. The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services Secretary says patients can't be housed in areas where the construction is being done. That means 60 beds have to be emptied. That's affecting the where patients are being referred.

khi.org

Some state legislatures are moving to shield residents’ federal health insurance subsidies in advance of a U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding the Affordable Care Act.

The Kansas Legislature is not among them.

As Kansas lawmakers work toward a tax plan to end the 2015 session, they have not had any briefings on the King v. Burwell case, the verdict expected in June or its implications for the nearly 100,000 Kansans who purchased insurance from healthcare.gov, the online insurance exchange.

AAFP

Federal officials estimate that more than 1.3 million Kansans now have private health insurance that includes preventive services at no out-of-pocket cost. Heartland Health Monitor’s Bryan Thompson has more. 

  This story comes from Kansas Public Radio.

Blue Bell Creameries has signed agreements with health officials in Texas and Oklahoma requiring the company to inform the states whenever there is a positive test result for listeria in its products or ingredients. For one year, Blue Bell ice cream must first test negative for listeria before it can be sold in stores.

Bryan Thompson / kansaspublicradio.org

Accountability. It means taking responsibility for an action or result. Lately, it’s taken on a new connotation in the field of health care. The Affordable Care Act provides a way for health care networks to get bonus payments by providing better care, and keeping Medicare patients healthier. As Heartland Health Monitor’s Bryan Thompson explains, these Accountable Care Organizations are about to have a larger presence in Kansas.

When it comes to vaccinating to prevent the human papillomavirus, Kansas shares last place with Utah reports the Kansas Health Institute. The virus causes nearly all cases of cervical cancer. A partnership is working to improve that rate. The Kansas Foundation for Medical Care and the University of Kansas Cancer Center are concentrating their efforts on a key outreach component to ensure adolescent girls receive the full regimen.

KanCare contractors lose $52 million in 2014

Apr 29, 2015

The companies managing Kansas' privatized Medicaid program continued to lose money in 2014. Amerigroup, Sunflower Health Plan and United Healthcare cut their losses from the year before, but still took a loss of $52 million. Losses totaled $116 million in 2013.

Chipotle says it's GMO-free

Apr 29, 2015

The Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant chain announced this week that it has taken food products derived from genetically engineered crops off of its menu.

Feds Warn, Use It or Lose It

Apr 27, 2015
Kansas Health Institute

An ultimatum has been laid down by the federal government that Kansas and Tennessee officials need to expand Medicaid or risk losing hospital funds.

These states could be jeopardizing special funding to pay hospitals by not expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

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.

Report: Potential Health Effects of Changes to the Kansas Corporate Farming Law

Apr 22, 2015
KHI News Service

Potential Health Effects of Changes to the Kansas Corporate Farming Law:  Impacts related to a possible increase in the number of large-scale swine and dairy operations 

Senate Bill 191 (and its House version, HB 2404) was proposed to amend the Kansas Corporate Farming Law. Among other provisions, the bill would have removed restrictions for agribusinesses with certain forms of ownership structure (e.g., corporation, trust) to operate in Kansas. Furthermore, the bill would have removed some requirements that farms be owned by families or that family members be active in the operation of the farms. This bill did not pass during the 2013 session, but the issue continues to be discussed and similar bills may be introduced in the future.

Oklahoma schools have the same budget as 2008, but 40,000 new students. That has schools dipping into their savings and running out of space.

Education Bill Draws Praise & Criticism

Apr 21, 2015
Mollie Bryant

It's a double edged sword for education in Texas, Senate passed a bill that legislators say should improve educator training but critics argue that it could reduce teacher’s ability to earn to higher wages.

Senate bill 893, authored by state Senator Kel Seliger of Amarillo would allow Texas Education Agency to create an annual evaluation system that includes students’ academic performance data to measure a teacher’s effectiveness.

Medical schools try to reboot for 21st century

Apr 14, 2015

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Medicine has changed a lot in the past 100 years. But medical training has not.

Until now. Spurred by the need to train a different type of doctor, medical schools across the country are tearing up the textbooks and starting from scratch.

Most medical schools still operate under a model pioneered in the early 1900s by an educator named Abraham Flexner.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

Just over a year ago, Tracy Dethlefs learned she has stage 1 breast cancer. Since then, she estimates she’s charted some 10,000 miles travelling from her farm near Loup City in central Nebraska to area hospitals for treatment. Every surgery, round of chemotherapy and radiation treatment was a road trip.

“Radiation treatments usually (take) only about 5 minutes (on) a day that they have to see you,” Dethlefs said. “But for a week, for seven weeks in a row, you’re driving every single day to the cancer treatment. We’re about an hour away from cancer centers.”

Bringing the Latest Cancer Treatments to Rural Kansas

Apr 8, 2015
Bryan Thompson

From Kansas Public RadioBryan Thompson reports. 

A cancer diagnosis is often the beginning of a life-or-death struggle. Patients want to go into that fight armed with the most powerful weapons available. In many cases, that involves treatments still in their experimental stages.

Doctor Shopping

Apr 2, 2015
Oklahoma Governor's Office

Oklahoma now requires doctors to check a new prescription drug database before prescribing certain addictive drugs. This is based on a new bill passed by the Oklahoma senate on Tuesday. The bill was later signed by Governor Mary Fallin, as the first bill of this legislative session. 

Child poverty in Colorado

Apr 1, 2015
Colorado Public Radio / Colorado Public Radio

  Child poverty is a major concern in Colorado, officials are contending with the issue by addressing teen pregnancies, food stamp use, and much more. In a report published last month government leaders can see the wide variety of concerns and take measures to alleviate the problem.

Some farmers warming to the Affordable Care Act

Mar 26, 2015

Farmers and ranchers have had a little more than a year to adjust to the Affordable Care Act. Some chafe against the requirement to buy health insurance, but others are starting to appreciate parts of the new law.

In a somewhat surprising move, the chairman of the state House Public Education committee says lawmakers will try to tackle the state’s school finance system this legislative session. That’s even while they await a ruling from the state Supreme Court on whether the finance system is constitutional.

You've seen the headlines, there are some things you need to keep in mind when it comes to Roundup.

Dave Ranney / Kansas Health Institute

State officials told legislators Thursday that the state's share of Medicaid expansion costs could start at $100 million per year and increase from there, and those costs could double if the federal government required full funding of waiting lists as a condition of expansion.

One day after her predecessor testified in favor of expansion under the Affordable Care Act, Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Susan Mosier provided neutral testimony that warned legislators of potential fiscal pitfalls.

Mosier said there were "moral implications" of expanding Medicaid to "able-bodied adults" while Kansans with disabilities were still awaiting some services, likening it to "cutting in line."

Texas Lawmakers Consider Parent Trigger Schools Law

Mar 20, 2015

Texas lawmakers are considering a policy known as a “parent trigger” law. The goal of the legislation is to prompt parent involvement and quicken turnarounds at struggling schools reports the Texas Tribune. The bill allows parents of students at underperforming public schools to campaign for school changes. That includes hiring new staff, contracting with a charter school operator to take over management, or closing the school altogether.

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

Three Kansans have died from an outbreak of listeriosis. The patients had been hospitalized for unrelated causes and the CDC says four of them consumed milkshakes made with a single-serving of Blue Bell Creameries' ice cream product called "Scoops."

cpr.org

For the first time in more than a decade enrollment in the federal food stamp program fell in Colorado reports Colorado Public Radio.  The rate dropped to 8.6 percent in 2013 according to data released from the U.S. Census Bureau.  The previous year close to 10 percent of Coloradoans received food stamps.

Colorado enrollment rates increased sharply during the recession. 

Only 3.3 percent were enrolled in 2000.  

Kansas has the highest rate of students starting at a two-year public institution and finishing with a degree from a four-year college or university. The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center's annual report lists only five states above 20 percent. They are: Kansas, Texas, Iowa, North Dakota, and Virginia.

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.

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