Bryan Thompson

RURAL HEALTH & AGRICULTURE REPORTER, KANSAS NEWS SERVICE

Bryan Thompson is a reporter for the Kansas News Service, specializing in rural health and agriculture. He is based in Salina.

Bryan has worked in radio news for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Wichita State University.

Ways to Connect

Bryan Thompson / Heartland Health Monitor

A panel tasked with finding “Kansas solutions” for health care delivery problems in rural Kansas turned its attention to behavioral health Tuesday.

At a meeting in Larned, Eric Van Allen told the Rural Health Working Group that Kansas spends about $400 million annually on behavioral health — including roughly $175 million through the Medicaid program.

There have been 17 cases of Zika infection in Kansas since the virus first appeared in the Americas last year.

All of the Kansas cases involved people who contracted the disease while traveling in countries with more tropical climates. Now, state health officials are mounting a campaign to prevent Zika from gaining a foothold here.

Bryan Thompson / Heartland Health Monitor

A task force charged with addressing the problems of health care delivery in rural Kansas met for nearly five hours in Salina yesterday. As Heartland Health Monitor’s Bryan Thompson reports, they still haven’t settled on a direction.

Bryan Thompson / Heartland Health Monitor

The recent news that Kansas is now the seventh-fattest state in the nation points toward a future of increased health problems—including cancer. In fact, as smoking rates decline and obesity rates rise, obesity is poised to overtake tobacco as the leading preventable cause of cancer. That’s why the University of Kansas Cancer Center is highlighting a weight control research study as part of its effort to win federal designation as a Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Bryan Thompson / Heartland Health Monitor

About 60 people showed up for a public forum at Kansas State University yesterday on how best to implement a new state law that will allow concealed carry of handguns on university campuses in Kansas next July.

Kansas lawmakers — at least the majority of incumbents — think college campuses will be safer starting next July. That’s when a law they approved will allow people to carry concealed handguns on Kansas Board of Regents campuses.

healthcare.gov

Federal health officials say headlines about anticipated premium increases on the Obamacare health insurance marketplace overlook an important point: Most Americans, including two-thirds of Kansans, will still be able to find a plan with a premium of $75 a month, or less.

Bryan Thompson / Heartland Health Monitor

The economy of western Kansas is based on the Ogallala Aquifer. But that ancient underground water supply is being rapidly depleted. The Kansas Water Office is teaming up with forward-looking farmers in an effort to demonstrate that new irrigation technologies can reduce the demand on the aquifer without sacrificing crop yields.

From mid-May through the end of August, a sound is heard almost non-stop in farm fields all across western Kansas. It’s the sound of an irrigation pump pulling water from deep underground to nourish thirsty crops. Tom Willis owns several of these wells.

Jasleen Kaur / flickr Creative Commons

A review of health system performance nationwide shows some improvement in Kansas—but not much.

The report by the nonprofit Commonwealth Fund covers three dozen indicators of access, quality, cost, and health outcomes. Like the rest of the country, Kansas saw more measures improving than declining—but the majority showed little or no change.

Bryan Thompson / Heartland Health Monitor

A recent report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says rural Americans are gaining health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act at rates outpacing their urban counterparts.

Mark Andes was living and working in McPherson last year when he began having some pretty scary symptoms.

“I was getting dizzy, and falling to my left, and started getting weak," he says. "I couldn’t even hardly tear a piece of paper.”

National Resource Defense Council

A new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council says more than 5,000 public water systems—including 68 in Kansas—are in violation of EPA rules meant to protect the public from lead in the water they drink. But as Heartland Health Monitor’s Bryan Thompson reports, that may be just the tip of the iceberg.

The NRDC’s Erik Olson says those are just the systems that have been flagged. Many others—like Flint, Michigan—don’t show up in the federal data base.

Pages