Bryan Thompson

Bryan is the health reporter for Kansas Public Radio.

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Government
7:05 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Food Assistance Reduced For 316,000 Kansans

Credit U.S. Department of Agriculture / flickr Creative Commons

The end of October brings an end to a boost in the amount of federal food assistance that's been helping to feed 316,000 Kansans for the past four years. The extra benefits were part of the stimulus bill Congress passed in 2009 to help people recover from the recession.

Barb LaClair, who studies hunger issues at the non-profit Kansas Health Institute, says caseloads suggest low-income Kansans still aren’t seeing a recovery. She says they’re going to have no choice but to rely even more on food banks and food pantries, which are already overextended.

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Health
7:43 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Watchdog Says Kansas Assisted-Living Regulations Are Inadequate

Assisted living facilities often claim to offer a carefree lifestyle for people in their so-called golden years. But state regulations may not be adequate to ensure that these facilities live up to that promise.

What many people don’t realize is that many assisted living facilities don’t have the needed staff to care for people who lose the ability to take care of themselves.

Mitzi McFatrich heads the non-profit Kansas Advocates for Better Care. She’s just back from a national conference where these issues were highlighted.

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Health
6:33 am
Fri October 25, 2013

Report: Most Kansans Breathe Smoky Air

A new report says nearly all Kansans are exposed to air that's polluted with smoke, but the source of that smoke isn't clear.

The report from a non-profit environmental group, the Natural Resources Defense Council, shows that virtually all Kansans breathed smoke pollution in 2011 and that 2.8 million Kansans were exposed to medium-to-high-density smoke for anywhere from 12 to 47 days.

Columbia University Environmental Health Professor Patrick Kinney says smoke is a serious health hazard, even if you can’t smell it.

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Affordable Care Act
7:45 am
Wed October 23, 2013

Sebelius Defends Affordable Care Act To Kansans

Credit Healthcare.gov

The rampant glitches that have plagued the federally-operated health insurance marketplace have been the focus of a lot of political heat. It's prompted Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to fire back with a full-throated defense of the law that created the exchanges, the Affordable Care Act.

THE PROBLEM

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Wichita Public Schools
4:41 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

Wichita Schools Notify Parents Of Vaccine Mandate

School nurses in Wichita have been notifying parents that their kids can't go to school if they're not up to date on their required immunizations.

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Health
7:36 am
Tue October 15, 2013

Medicare Sign-Up Season Is Here

The annual enrollment period for Medicare's prescription drug coverage and privatized Medicare Advantage plans is now open. It's the one time of year when people can make changes to their coverage without being penalized.

This year, many senior citizens have been confused. The enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act started just two weeks ago. Many people are under the mistaken impression that they need to sign up for coverage on the exchange, even though they have Medicare.

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Health
7:12 am
Thu October 10, 2013

Shutdown Puts WIC Checks For Mothers In Jeopardy

If the shutdown of the federal government continues longer than two more weeks, 70,000 young mothers, babies and preschoolers in Kansas stand to lose access to some of the food they rely on.

KDHE has ordered local WIC offices to withhold checks for November and December until federal funding is assured. WIC checks are normally issued for three months at a time.

Dave Thomason, who heads the federally-funded Women Infants and Children supplemental food program in Kansas, says withholding checks dated later than October is a precautionary response to the federal shutdown.

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Health
7:29 am
Tue October 8, 2013

Drug Overdose Deaths In Kansas Not As Bad As Many Other States

The rate of drug overdose deaths in Kansas has more than doubled since 1999, but the rate has gone up even more in many other states.

As a result, Kansas now has the eighth-lowest drug overdose mortality rate in the country, according to a new report from the non-profit Trust for America’s Health.

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Health
8:35 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Most Hispanic Women In Kansas Uninsured

According to a new report, more than 145,000 women in Kansas were uninsured last year. That’s a little less than 17 percent. But a majority of Hispanic women in Kansas—53.4 percent—have no health insurance. That’s one of the highest rates in the country.

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Health
7:27 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Kansas Hospitals Getting Better At Preventing Infections

The first-ever statewide report on infections occurring in Kansas hospitals shows progress against two specific types of infections.

Hand-washing is one of the most important precautions to keep from spreading germs to susceptible patients. Hospitals are also trying to use urinary catheters only when there’s no other option. They’re also reducing the use of central lines—IV ports that go into a large blood vessel.

The results from 2011 show that Kansas is well below national averages for usage of those devices, and for the infections that result.

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