Health

Andy Marso / KHI

Gov. Sam Brownback said Friday he’s unconvinced Medicaid expansion is an answer to the financial woes of rural Kansas hospitals and suggested they should innovate instead.

During a news conference Friday, Brownback was asked about a Reuters story on the improving financial fortunes of public hospitals in states that expanded Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act versus the stagnation of hospitals in states that did not.

The governor said he had seen another report recently that “went the other way.”

Bryan Thompson

A demonstration project to make mental health care more accessible in southwest Kansas is almost ready to begin.

It’s based on the concept that physical ailments often go hand-in-hand with mental health challenges. Debbie Bruner, who heads Minneola Healthcare, about 20 miles south of Dodge City, says providers there see it every day.

“Especially with your diabetics and your COPDs, where it’s altered their lifestyle, a lot of times you will see depression coincide with that medical condition," Bruner says.

Canadian Blood Services, flickr Creative Commons

Local blood banks are asking for donors to help keep the blood supply at the needed level during the summer months. Dana Garner, with the Community Blood Center, says high school and college students are active donors, but in the summer many of them aren’t available.

“Summer, we have a dip in blood donations. Like many people, there are vacations, a lot of the students at colleges and high schools are out of session. Because they’re not available, we rely on people from the community, businesses, to help support the blood supply,” Garner says.

KHI.org/Annie E. Casey Foundation

An annual survey that charts the well-being of children in the state shows that Kansas is making progress in some areas but is falling behind in others. Heartland Health Monitor’s Jim McLean has more on the Kids Count rankings.

Kansas retained its overall ranking of 15th in this year’s Kids Count rankings compiled by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Virginia Guard Public Affairs, flickr Creative Commons

According to a report issued Wednesday by a group of retired military leaders, the nation’s obesity epidemic is causing significant recruiting problems for the Department of Defense. One in three young Americans is too overweight to enlist.

Wikimedia Commons

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is urging Congress to ratify a state health care compact to get around what he calls the Supreme Court’s “erroneous” decisions on the Affordable Care Act.

In a letter to Republican members of Congress, Kobach said the compact was the only legal path left to end Obamacare and to restore the Constitution.

Kansas is one of nine states that has signed on to the compact, which–-if approved by Congress--would give them the power to run Medicare and Medicaid within their borders.

Jim McLean

Advocates for Kansans with disabilities say the state's privatized Medicaid system is too often failing the people it's supposed to serve. They aired their complaints yesterday during a hearing in Topeka, hosted by the National Council on Disability.

They say the for-profit companies running the KanCare program seem more interested in saving money than providing needed services.

Chanute Tribune

CHANUTE – The co-owners of a 45-bed nursing facility here that cares for people with severe and persistent mental illnesses have decided to shutter the business.

“We just got our rate-setting form from the state, telling us that our per-day reimbursement would be going down by $4.96 per person, per day,” said Mary Harding, director of nursing at Applewood Rehabilitation, Inc.

“That equates to about $7,000 less a month,” she said. “We’ve been barely breaking even for a while now, so we made the choice that we had to make, and that was to close.”

kumed.com

The University of Kansas Hospital is teaming up with 14 small hospitals and medical centers in the western part of the state to make improvements to rural health care.

A three-year, $12.5 million grant from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Innovation Center has enabled the hospital to create the Kansas Heart and Stroke Collaborative, the Lawrence Journal-World reports.

Cary and Kacey Jordan, flickr Creative Commons

Sedgwick County Commissioners unanimously approved a grant extension on Wednesday afternoon for the county’s Healthy Babies program, despite questioning its effectiveness.

The program offers advice and support for at-risk mothers in the hopes of decreasing the county’s infant mortality rate, which has consistently hovered above state and national averages.

Commissioners Richard Ranzau and Jim Howell said the county’s rate of 7.7 deaths per 1,000 live births isn’t improving.

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