Kansas Health Institute

Thanks to an infusion of national funding, the Kansas News Service — led by KCUR 89.3 — will expand its reporting network with public media stations across the state.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting this week announced $502,327 in funding for public radio stations serving Kansas to collaborate on local news coverage and improve news-gathering efficiency. The grant is part of $3.3 million awarded nationally for the creation of five regional journalism operations.

KHI News Service becoming part of KCUR public radio

Jan 5, 2017
Flickr

The Kansas Health Institute News Service, the nonprofit news reporting service of the Kansas Health Institute (KHI), has become part of KCUR Public Media, a move that took effect Jan. 1

healthcare.gov

From the Kansas Health Institute:

About 12 percent dropped coverage, close to national average.

Almost nine out of every 10 Kansans who selected health insurance on the federal online marketplace paid for at least the first month of their coverage this year, offering one bit of stability in the sometimes-turbulent marketplace.

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Insurer only MCO to report no expenses for Kansas legislator meals in 2016

For the second year in a row, UnitedHealthcare reported no lobbying expenses during the Kansas legislative session.

The insurance company remained the outlier among the three under contract to administer KanCare, the privatized form of Medicaid that Kansas adopted in 2013.

Abigail Wilson / KMUW

From the Kansas Health Institute:

To say that many educators in Kansas are fed up with state lawmakers would be an understatement. The Legislature has been putting a tighter and tighter squeeze on public schools in recent years. This election season, educators are trying to send some legislators packing.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Kansas officials have borrowed a record $900 million from the state’s investment fund but still may need to implement a series of emergency measures to end the 2016 budget year in the black.

Health by Got Credit / Flickr Creative Commons

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Accenture faces $750,000 fine for incorrect reporting of application backlog.

News of a mistake that dropped several thousand Kansans from state Medicaid backlog reports has advocates and Democratic lawmakers questioning the state’s oversight of the contractor blamed for the error.

KHI news service

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Budget cuts to the Kansas Water Office should not result in any layoffs but could delay some reservoir maintenance projects, the head of the office said this week.

v1ctor / Flickr Creative Commons

From the Kansas Health Institute:

A broad proposal by Medicare to change the way it pays for some drugs has drawn intense reaction and lobbying, with much of the debate centering on whether the plan gives too much power over drug prices to government regulators.

Andy Marso / KHI news service

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Almost four years since new nutrition standards were introduced, many kitchens need updates.

Most Kansas school districts have moved to comply with stricter nutrition standards since the U.S. Department of Agriculture imposed them almost four years ago.

But many still lack kitchen equipment necessary to make the healthier school breakfasts and lunches appealing.

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.

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.

KHI news service

From the Kansas Health Institute:

The Kansas Legislature approved additional restrictions on people who receive government assistance but removed one proposal that would have required women to return to work shortly after giving birth.

The changes, passed late Sunday as part of Senate Bill 402, reduce the lifetime limit for cash assistance through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families from three years to two years. There is a one-year hardship extension.

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).

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.

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
istockphoto.com

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.

Issue Brief: E-Cigarette Policy, Regulation and Marketing

Mar 11, 2016
businessinsider.com

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Issue brief #3 in a series of three on e-cigarettes.

Despite a sharp rise in the use of e-cigarettes and unanswered questions about their potential health effects, there is currently little regulation at the state or federal levels of their sales and marketing. While Kansas and other states explore various approaches to regulation, some Kansas communities have taken action to limit their use in public places. The Kansas Health Institute (KHI) has released the third and final issue brief in the series on e-cigarettes, entitled, E-Cigarette Policy, Regulation and Marketing.

In 2012, Kansas state legislators enacted a ban on the sale to and possession of e-cigarettes by minors (48 other states and the District of Columbia have done the same). In 2015, Kansas policymakers approved a sales tax on e-cigarettes at the rate of $0.20/milliliter of e-liquid (HB 2109), which goes into effect July 1, 2016.

Esther Honig / Heartland Health Monitor/KHI

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Editor’s note: This story was revised at 1:30 p.m. March 1, 2016, to include information about services available at federally qualified health clinics in Kansas.

At a domestic violence shelter in Hays, director Tiffany Kershner sits with a client in a small meeting room.

Jim McClean / Kansas Health Institute

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Health care problems just one result of the economic decline of rural communities.

Members of Gov. Sam Brownback’s Rural Health Working Group have their work cut out for them.

Representatives of the state’s hospitals and doctors painted a sobering picture of the problems facing rural providers at the group’s first meeting Tuesday evening.

Susie Fagan / KHI news service

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Proponents of expanding Medicaid eligibility in Kansas need to change tactics and prepare for a long process, a health policy researcher told them Wednesday.

Andy Marso / KHI news service

From the Kansas Health Institute:

JJ Krentz turned away from his iPad and looked up as a blond woman walked into his classroom at Parsons State Hospital and Training Center.

With help from his teacher, he stood from his chair and greeted his mother, Tiffanie Krentz.

He knew she was coming and so he parroted the two-word phrase he’d been hearing all day from others when he asked them about “mama.”

“Gotta wait,” JJ said, grinning.

Issue Brief: E-Cigarettes and Their Use in the U.S. and Kansas

Feb 10, 2016
istockphoto.com

Marketplace Enrollment Climbs in Kansas, Missouri

Feb 9, 2016
US Department of Health and Human Services

From the Kansas Health Institute:

The enrollment period for the federal health insurance marketplace closed Monday night, with higher enrollment than last year in Kansas and Missouri.

KHI news service

From the Kansas Health Institute

A new computer system for enrolling Kansans in Medicaid and other public assistance programs will generate far less than the expected $300 million in savings, a Legislative Post Audit report found.

Creative Commons

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Agency says social work vacancies haven’t compromised safety.

Nearly one-quarter of social workers with the Kansas Department for Children and Families left the job in a yearlong period ending Dec. 1, 2015, and job vacancies increased by more than two-thirds at the same time.

Andy Marso / KHI

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Kiley Klug and Tiffanie Krentz had just finished giving emotional testimony about their children’s persistent seizures during Wednesday’s hearing on legalizing cannabis oil when Sen. Ralph Ostmeyer spoke up.

Ostmeyer, a veteran Republican legislator from a sprawling rural district in western Kansas, told the women he understood, because he has a 36-year-old daughter who was only expected to live to age 10.

Susie Fagan / Kansas Health Institute

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas won’t require customers who need outpatient mental health services to get prior authorization going forward, but it can recoup payments from providers if their treatment is significantly different from that of their peers.

Andy Marso / Kansas Health Institute

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Program will expand to serve youths aging out of foster care.

In an announcement that was heavy on optimism but light on details, the Kansas Department for Children and Families introduced a mentoring program for families receiving cash assistance.

Susie Fagan / KHI

From the Kansas Health Institute:

A Lawrence businesswoman has become somewhat of a poster child for the Affordable Care Act.

Meg Heriford, owner of the Ladybird Diner, didn’t seek the spotlight but has been thrust into the role by former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. 

Sebelius, who also served two terms as Kansas governor, still has a home in the state as well as one in Washington, D.C.

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