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 / KPR/File photo

In the face of growing criticism from health care providers, Gov. Sam Brownback says he wants to restore Medicaid cuts made in July to help balance the state budget. But the governor says he wants to raise a tax imposed on hospitals to do it.

Brownback says when lawmakers return to Topeka in January he will ask them to raise the hospital tax to generate the money needed to restore $56 million in cuts to KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program.

Update 08/17/16:

Gov. Brownback has released the following statement about the KanCare cuts:

Jim McLean / Heartland Health Monitor

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is sticking to his talking points. In a rare informal conversation with Statehouse reporters late last week, Brownback said the results of the recent primary election aren’t causing him to re-think his positions on tax cuts, school finance and Medicaid expansion.

Gov. Sam Brownback says the death of a Kansas lawmaker’s son at the Schlitterbahn water park should prompt a review of the state’s amusement park inspection laws.

“I think they ought to be reviewed, and I would assume and hope that the Legislature would spend significant time looking at the issue," Brownback says. "And we will as an administration after you get past the sheer tragedy of it.”

Parks are now required to inspect their rides at least once a year. Records of those inspections are then subject to random state audits.

The effort to expand Medicaid in Kansas has been stuck in the political mud for the better part of three years.

Not anymore.

The results of last week’s primary election may have given expansion advocates the traction they need to overcome opposition from Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and legislative conservatives who thus far have blocked debate on the issue.

A series of victories by moderate Republicans over conservative incumbents and challengers for open seats has fundamentally changed the legislative landscape.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio, File Photo

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback wants Tim Keck to continue running the agency that oversees the state’s aging and disability services. As Heartland Health Monitor’s Jim McLean reports, Keck has had his hands full since taking the job on an interim basis in January.

Problems at the state’s two mental health hospitals have demanded Keck’s attention since the moment he took the reins at the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services.

Megan Hart / Heartland Health Monitor/File Photo

In the years between World War II and John F. Kennedy’s presidency, Kansas transformed its mental health system. Building what had been among the nation’s worst into one of the best. A new round of reforms rejuvenated the system in the early 1990s. But as Heartland Health Monitor’s Jim McLean reports, the failure of successive governors and legislatures to fund those reforms is now threatening to reverse years of progress and the future of the state’s largest mental health hospital.

Jim McLean / KHI News Service

Kansas doesn’t have a reputation for political corruption. It isn’t Chicago where the dead are rumored to cast ballots. And it’s not Florida, home of the hanging chad. But, Jim McLean reports, as Kansans prepare to go to the polls for tomorrow’s primaries there are lingering concerns about the potential for vote tampering.

KANSAS STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY

Editor’s note: Heartland Health Monitor partner KHI News Service conducted dozens of interviews to chart how Osawatomie State Hospital went from a respected facility to one that federal officials deemed too unsafe for Medicare patients and how the hospital could rebuild for the future. This is the first story in a series resulting from that investigation.

The final federal inspections of Osawatomie State Hospital in 2015 painted a picture of a place where both employees and patients were in danger and low staffing levels compromised care.

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.

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