Health

KDADS

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.

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.”

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.

Wikipedia

Kansas has changed its mind about ending the state’s Medicaid contracts with 11 doctors and nurses associated with Planned Parenthood.

The state still plans to cut off Planned Parenthood’s participation in the program. But in a letter Monday to the judge overseeing Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit to block the move, it said it would no longer end the providers’ participation.

The providers also sued the state. They say cutting them off would deprive up to 500 Medicaid patients of their services.

AFPMB James L. Occi/Flickr Creative Commons

Five cases of Zika virus have been reported in Kansas, all of which originated outside of the United States. Various state agencies and university laboratories are looking for ways to keep that number at a minimum.

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.

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.

Courtesy KDADS

Attorney Bill Rein has been named to head the troubled state mental hospital at Larned, in central Kansas. As Heartland Health Monitor’s Bryan Thompson explains, the facility has long-standing problems hiring and keeping an adequate workforce.

Interim Secretary Tim Keck, of the Kansas Department on Aging and Disability Services, calls Rein the right person at the right time for the challenges facing Larned State Hospital.

Dave Ranney, File Photo / Heartland Health Monitor

Gov. Sam Brownback said he's disappointed that the state's backlog in unprocessed Medicaid applications is four times as large as previously thought.

As Kansas and a contractor battle over who bears blame for the error, Brownback called the situation "frustrating" in a short interview with the Topeka Capital-Journal.

The number of unprocessed Medicaid applications had been about 3,500 people before the state acknowledged earlier this month that the actual figure was more than 15,000.

Nicola Ochsenbein / flickr Creative Commons

Public health officials in Wyandotte County and Johnson County say they are seeking funds to continue comprehensive sexual education programs into 2018 after the state declined to renew a federal grant.

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