Subconsci Productions / flickr Creative Commons

A mental health clinic in Wichita is now offering primary health care for its patients.

Bryan Thompson / Heartland Health Monitor

A task force charged with addressing the problems of health care delivery in rural Kansas met for nearly five hours in Salina yesterday. As Heartland Health Monitor’s Bryan Thompson reports, they still haven’t settled on a direction.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW

Sedgwick County’s Comcare is the state’s largest community mental health agency, and has been helping people with mental illness or substance use disorder for more than 50 years.

Comcare expanded its crisis services last year, and created a model of care that officials say is exceeding expectations. Deborah Shaar reports on the agency’s Community Crisis Center.

Jim McLean / Heartland Health Monitor

Kansas mental health providers say funding cuts and stalled contract negotiations with the state are hindering their ability to provide care.

They're sounding the alarm on how Medicaid rate cuts and contract disputes are affecting care.

A new report shows the infant mortality rate in Kansas has reached a historic low.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says 230 infant deaths were reported last year, the lowest figure ever recorded.

That put the infant mortality rate at 5.9 per 1,000 live births in 2015—down from 6.3 from a year before. It’s slightly better than the national rate, and below the target rate of 6 set by the federal health initiative Healthy People 2020.

Bryan Thompson / Heartland Health Monitor

The recent news that Kansas is now the seventh-fattest state in the nation points toward a future of increased health problems—including cancer. In fact, as smoking rates decline and obesity rates rise, obesity is poised to overtake tobacco as the leading preventable cause of cancer. That’s why the University of Kansas Cancer Center is highlighting a weight control research study as part of its effort to win federal designation as a Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Mike Sherry / Heartland Health Monitor

The University of Kansas Cancer Center today submitted its application to the National Cancer Institute to become a “comprehensive” cancer center.

If the cancer center does receive the highly coveted designation, it would become just the 48th institution in the country to do so, joining the likes of the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

Scientists and doctors at such centers do basic laboratory research and clinical trials, as well as study the patterns, causes and control of cancer in populations.

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor/File photo

Legislative auditors said Wednesday they can’t confirm that the Medicaid application backlog numbers state officials have reported are correct.

Applications have been backlogged for about a year following the rocky rollout of a new computer system, an administrative decision that funneled all applications through a single state agency and a larger-than-expected influx of applications during the Affordable Care Act open enrollment period.

Jim McLean

Former Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger says Congress should fix problems with the Affordable Care Act, problems that are driving some insurance companies from the ACA marketplace.

“There're some things that could be done if we could get Congress to be willing to come to the table to try to solve problems," Praeger says. "That hasn’t really been the case now for a few years. But they could fix it.”

Photo by U.S. Census Bureau

The uninsured rates in Kansas and Missouri continue to drop.

But they’re declining faster in states that have expanded Medicaid, the health insurance program for low-income families, seniors and people with disabilities.

New data out Tuesday from the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that Kansas’ uninsured rate dropped to 9.1 percent in 2015, down from 10.2 percent the year before and 12.3 percent in 2013.