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.

 

Stephen Koranda

There will be a political shift in the Kansas legislature with the new leaders lawmakers selected Monday. Conservatives will hold on to the very top jobs for 2017, but more moderate Republicans also picked up key positions. There is turnover among some of the Democratic leadership posts too. All the change reflects gains made by moderate Republicans in the August primaries, and gains by Democrats in November, especially in the House. The move to the center on the Senate side is more subtle,...

J. Schafer / KPR/File photo

Kansas voters want change for the 2017 session: They made that clear by replacing a couple dozen conservative Republican legislators with Democrats and more moderate Republicans. The newly elected lawmakers gather today to select their leadership. The leadership selections will be an early indication of how much the balance of power has really changed in the Statehouse. For speaker of the House, the race is between a moderate -- Republican Russ Jennings from Lakin in southwest Kansas -- and...

healthcare.gov

Close to 25,000 Kansans have signed up for health insurance through the online marketplace , despite uncertainty about the future of the Affordable Care Act under a new administration. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service reported Wednesday that 24,778 people in Kansas had signed up for insurance since open enrollment for 2017 started Nov. 1. The number of people seeking insurance was up less than 2 percent compared to the same period during open enrollment last year. President-elect...

Meg Wingerter / KHI News Service

It isn’t far from the gleaming bank buildings and high-end hotels to the rent-to-own stores and corner shops that stock more chips than fruit. A visitor getting off the highway in downtown Kansas City, Kansas, would pass by a Hilton Garden Inn and several high-rise buildings bearing the names of financial companies. But a few blocks across the Seventh Street Trafficway, the storefronts become more worn down and the food options narrow to McDonald’s and the One Stop Shop, where the only...

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File Photo

Kansas privatized its Medicaid program in 2013, and there have been questions ever since--questions about how well KanCare is working. As Heartland Health Monitor’s Jim McLean reports, a new study may provide some answers.

Kansas officials are temporarily putting the brakes on a plan to seek reauthorization of KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program. Michael Randol heads the division in the Department of Health and Environment that oversees KanCare. He told legislators on Friday that changes favored by President-elect Donald Trump and Republican congressional leaders could give states more flexibility in structuring their Medicaid programs. “We really want to clearly understand what changes are going...

Jim McLean

A comprehensive study of KanCare, Kansas’ privatized Medicaid program, says while it has come close to meeting cost-cutting goals, it has burdened providers and failed to significantly improve the care for the more than 400,000 low-income and disabled Kansans it covers. The study was done for several Kansas provider organization by a consulting firm run by former Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt. Lead analyst Robin Arnold-Williams says turning Medicaid over to three managed...

KHI News Service/File photo

The heads of Kansas’ 26 community mental health centers are preparing to push an ambitious set of proposals to address what they say are growing gaps in the state’s behavioral health system. In addition to restoring funding cuts made prior to the Great Recession, the center directors want Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and lawmakers to expand a network of regional crisis intervention centers. Currently, the Rainbow Services Inc., or RSI, center in Kansas City and one operated by Comcare in...

KHI News Service

Medicaid expansion advocates in Kansas say they’ll move forward with legislation despite national election results that signal a repeal of Obamacare. But they are a lot less optimistic about their chances than they were before last week. “There is still significant support in Kansas for expanding KanCare both in the public and among legislators,” said David Jordan, director of the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas, a nonprofit advocacy group formed to push for the expansion of KanCare, the state...

mcdarius, flickr Creative Commons

A task force seeking a way to fund Gov. Brownback’s 50-year water plan appears close to recommending that a small percentage of state sales tax revenue be earmarked for up to $55 million a year in conservation projects. Rep. Tom Sloan is a Lawrence Republican and a member of the task force. He agrees with the goal but fears the state’s budget problems will make any plan that diverts revenue a tough sell. “Schools are underfunded, socials services are underfunded, so if you’re going to be...

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