Bryan Thompson

Bryan is the health reporter for Kansas Public Radio.

Thousands of Kansans will soon be receiving letters notifying them that their electronic health records may have been compromised.

The letters are from a Fort Wayne, Indiana, company that provides an online patient portal called NoMoreClipboard used by 18 Kansas hospitals and at least half a dozen clinics. Most are small-town hospitals in western and southeastern Kansas. The largest is in Hutchinson.

Bryan Thompson

A demonstration project to make mental health care more accessible in southwest Kansas is almost ready to begin.

It’s based on the concept that physical ailments often go hand-in-hand with mental health challenges. Debbie Bruner, who heads Minneola Healthcare, about 20 miles south of Dodge City, says providers there see it every day.

“Especially with your diabetics and your COPDs, where it’s altered their lifestyle, a lot of times you will see depression coincide with that medical condition," Bruner says.

Kansas Action for Children

A Topeka-based children’s advocacy group says legislators’ inability to keep their hands out of a pot of money meant to permanently fund children’s programs in Kansas has drained that funding nearly dry.

Kansas Action for Children says the fund was established to invest the proceeds of a multi-state tobacco settlement to pay for programs to benefit kids in Kansas. KAC President and CEO Shannon Cotsoradis says instead, lawmakers have tapped it again and again over the last 15 years, to the tune of almost $200 million, to support other budget priorities.

Khan Hmong, flickr Creative Commons

The Clean Indoor Air Act went into effect in Kansas five years ago today. The law prohibits smoking in most public places, including workplaces, public buildings, bars and restaurants.

Prior to 2002, smoking policies were left up to the owners and managers of individual facilities. But that year, Salina City Commissioners began debating an ordinance to ban smoking in restaurants, with an exception for late-night hours.

CREDIT NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION, FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5 to 4 decision, has ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency must take costs into consideration when regulating power plant emissions.

The EPA issued a rule in 2011 requiring electric utilities to minimize their emissions of mercury and other toxic substances from their smokestacks. Westar Energy’s Executive Director of Environmental Services, Brad Loveless, says the equipment is expensive, and the activated carbon it uses would be an ongoing expense.

Bryan Thompson

A lot of the hospitals in rural Kansas are called “Critical Access Hospitals.” It’s an important designation, because Critical Access Hospitals were created by the federal government to maintain access to health care in rural areas. But as Heartland Health Monitor’s Bryan Thompson reports, several factors are making it harder for those hospitals to survive.

Jeff Kubina, flickr Creative Commons

Some states are scrambling to make sure that citizens can still get federal subsidies for buying health insurance, no matter how the Supreme Court rules in a pending case. But as the Heartland Health Monitor’s Bryan Thompson reports, Kansas has no back-up plan.

The Supreme Court is weighing whether a flaw in the wording of the Affordable Care Act means subsidies are not legal in the 34 states that rely on the federal health insurance exchange known as the marketplace.

Bryan Thompson

A Garden City medical marijuana activist is making national news. Shona Banda's home was raided and her son was placed in protective custody—at least in part due to something the boy said during an anti-drug presentation at school. Heartland Health Monitor’s Bryan Thompson has more.

Bryan Thompson

A Garden City woman whose home was raided March 24 after her son took issue with an anti-marijuana presentation at school turned herself in yesterday at the Finney County Law Enforcement Center. Heartland Health Monitor’s Bryan Thompson was there.

Sanofi Pasteur, flickr Creative Commons

Health officials in Reno County are trying to bring an outbreak of pertussis, or whooping cough, under control. Heartland Health Monitor’s Bryan Thompson has details.

The outbreak began in mid-May with three cases of the highly contagious respiratory disease. Now there are 23 reported cases, according to the Reno County Health Department, in Hutchinson. As of June 2, 134 cases of pertussis had been reported in Kansas this year.

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