Mike Sherry / Heartland Health Monitor

The University of Kansas Hospital and Hays Medical Center announced Wednesday they’ve signed a letter of intent to join forces as partners.

The partnership builds on a relationship established nearly three years ago when the two institutions combined to treat heart and stroke patients in western Kansas.

Health professionals in Sedgwick County are making progress on developing a new Community Health Improvement Plan. KMUW’s Deborah Shaar has an update on the process.

The health leaders used a county-wide health assessment and community feedback to identify five broad priority areas that affect the health of Sedgwick County residents: health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors, physical environment and infant mortality.

A free ID program designed to assist older adults and their families in case of emergency is now available in the Wichita area.

The Sheriff's Elderly/Disabled Notification Intensive Outreach Response System (S.E.N.I.O.R.S.) is a program that uses a secure database that stores important information residents provide. Members are given business-sized cards to carry and a decal to indicate membership. Sedgwick County Deputy Jaime Converse says the card contains pertinent information.

Mercy Hospital Independence

Knocking on doors in southeast Kansas, as elsewhere in the state, candidates get an earful about public school funding and the state’s budget mess, first and foremost. So it’s hard to know how much the local hospital’s closure factored into the defeat of two of the area’s longtime Republican legislators in the primaries. But it is clear health care is at the top of the mind for the candidates left standing.

The state of obesity is looking worse in Kansas.  Recent data shows Kansas as the 7th most obese state in the country.

Courtesy Wesley Medical Center

The new Wesley Children’s Hospital is officially open.

A grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for this afternoon at the hospital, located at Central and Hillside. Staff and community members gathered for a ceremony last night to turn on the facility’s exterior lights.

Wesley Medical Center announced plans to renovate its pediatric facility in February 2015. Ground broke on the $28 million project last June.

Sedgwick County’s community mental health program Comcare is working to bring services for substance abuse patients into its Community Crisis Center in downtown Wichita.

Renovations to the 24-hour Community Crisis Center on North Main are expected to be complete next week. Then, the Substance Abuse Center of Kansas will move its detox and sobering unit into the building.

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

The second-in-command at the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services told mental health advocates last week that Osawatomie State Hospital is well-prepared going into a high-stakes federal inspection Tuesday.

The Osawatomie hospital is one of two inpatient state facilities for Kansans with severe mental illness. KDADS Secretary Tim Keck visited the other facility in Larned last Wednesday.

Federal health officials say headlines about anticipated premium increases on the Obamacare health insurance marketplace overlook an important point: Most Americans, including two-thirds of Kansans, will still be able to find a plan with a premium of $75 a month, or less.

Carla Eckels / KMUW

More than 50,000 Kansans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. Wandering, walking away from home, with no apparent direction or destination, can be a significant safety issue. Six out of 10 people with Alzheimer’s are known to wander. Last month, a man who lives in Wichita was found nearly 20 miles away in Rose Hill.