Jim McLean

Contributing Reporter

Jim McLean, Executive Editor of KHI News Service, oversees the KHI News Service. From 2005 until 2013, McLean coordinated all communications activities at KHI as Vice President for Public Affairs. The position he now occupies was created as part of a strategic initiative to solidify the editorial and operational independence of the KHI News Service. Prior to coming to KHI, McLean had a distinguished career as a journalist, serving as the news director and Statehouse bureau chief for Kansas Public Radio and a managing editor for the Topeka Capital-Journal. During his more than 20 years in Kansas journalism, McLean won numerous awards for journalistic excellence from the Kansas Press Association, regional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Kansas Association of Broadcasters. In 1997, McLean and two Capital-Journal colleagues received the Burton W. Marvin News Enterprise Award from the University of Kansas William Allen White School of Journalism for a series of stories on the state’s business climate. McLean holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Washburn University.


Heartland Health Monitor

A contract dispute has ended a University of Kansas research center’s more than 30-year collaboration with the state’s community mental health centers--and that has several mental health providers lashing out at officials in the administration of Republican Gov. Sam Brownback. Heartland Health Monitor’s Jim McLean explains the history behind the growing controversy.


A contract dispute between a state agency and a research center at KU could affect the quality of care at community mental health centers across Kansas.

What appears at first blush to be little more than a contract dispute between a state agency and a University of Kansas research center is actually much more than that.

The state’s failure to renew a contract with the KU Center for Mental Health Research and Innovation is another assault on the state’s mental health system, according to the directors of several community mental health centers.

Betty Lee/Ars Electronica / flickr

Recent cuts in Medicaid reimbursement rates ordered by Gov. Sam Brownback and other reductions in state funding are “devastating” the Kansas mental health system. That’s according to the association that represents 26 community mental health centers across the state.

Heartland Health Monitor / File photo

Kansas hospitals are trying to stop more than $56 million in Medicaid cuts set to take effect tomorrow.

The Kansas Hospital Association is urging federal officials to stop Gov. Sam Brownback from implementing $56.4 million in Medicaid cuts set to take effect Friday.

Brownback ordered the cuts in May to cover shortfalls in the fiscal year 2017 budget approved by the Legislature. The hospital association is asking the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to immediately intervene to stop the cuts, which include a 4 percent reduction in provider payments.

Megan Hart / Heartland Health Monitor/File Photo

Limited capacity at the state’s largest psychiatric hospital and other factors are forcing some Kansans who need mental health treatment to wait in hospital emergency rooms. Sometimes for days.

One year after Osawatomie State Hospital temporarily stopped admitting patients for the first time in its history, the number of people waiting for mental health treatment is up.

And an increasing number of them are waiting in hospital emergency rooms.

Susie Fagan / KHI News Service

Supporters of Medicaid expansion are kicking off a campaign to mobilize Kansas voters on the issue.


Kansas Medicaid officials are working to clear a massive application backlog. But as Heartland Health Monitor’s Jim McLean reports, new complaints are surfacing about problems facing low-income, disabled and elderly Kansans seeking to enroll in the health care program.

A Lawrence lawyer and others who help people enroll in KanCare, the state's privatized Medicaid program, say the number who are being mistakenly denied is on the rise. 

Jim McLean / KHI News Service

Getting on the right medicines is critical for people living with mental health disorders or chronic illnesses, like multiple sclerosis or AIDS. But because prescription drugs can be so costly, most insurance companies don’t allow patients to start with the newest and most expensive drugs. And now, despite strong opposition from patient advocacy organizations, the Kansas Medicaid program is moving in that direction too.

Jim McLean / KHI News

The stage is set for what many believe could be a pivotal 2016 election season in Kansas.  

With campaigns for all 165 seats in the Legislature, the opportunity for change is reflected in the roster of candidates certified by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach after Wednesday’s filing deadline.

Stephen Koranda, File Photo / Kansas Public Radio

Several veteran Kansas lawmakers announced their retirements ahead of June 1 noon filing deadline. And as Jim McLean reports, Kansas voters may decide to retire others.

At least 23 House and Senate members aren’t running for re-election, including two of the top three leaders in the House and several committee chairs.

Some are saying it was just time to step down. But others say the state’s ongoing budget problems have simply worn them out.

Rep. Tom Moxley, a moderate Republican from Council Grove, referenced the budget mess in his farewell to House colleagues.