Bryan Thompson

Bryan is the health reporter for Kansas Public Radio.

This year's open enrollment for health insurance through the federal marketplace ended February 15th, and the 2016 sign-up period doesn't open until November first. But as Heartland Health Monitor's Bryan Thompson explains, thousands of Kansans have been able to sign up in the last six months anyway.

That's because of what the government refers to as special enrollment periods. They're based on the notion that life can change, so enrollment needs to be flexible.

Kansas is in the bottom half of the class in a new report from the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network.

The report judges states on nine policies relating to cancer control and prevention. Kansas draws praise for raising tobacco taxes this year, for cancer pain control policies, and for its statewide Indoor Clean Air Act. But the state received failing marks for six other policy areas.

Bryan Thompson

The Clean Power Plan announced by President Obama yesterday is designed to reduce the amount of carbon emissions from power plants by almost one-third by the year 2030. How that will play out in Kansas remains to be seen, as Heartland Health Monitor's Bryan Thompson explains.

A Lyon County resident has been diagnosed with a mosquito-borne disease that had never been seen in the Western Hemisphere before 2013. As Heartland Health Monitor’s Bryan Thompson reports, the patient is believed to have been bitten by an infected mosquito while traveling in Central America.

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.


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.