Health

Stephen Koranda file photo

Budget problems are forcing Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback to make cuts in the state Medicaid program that he once said he wouldn’t make.

In 2012, Brownback was pushing lawmakers to approve his plan to privatize Medicaid. In his State of the State speech that year he said creating KanCare would save money--and do it in a more responsible way than other states.

“Now many states are either kicking people off of Medicaid or paying doctors and other providers less," he said. "Neither of these choices providers better outcomes.”

KCUR

Another class-action lawsuit alleging Cerner illegally failed to pay employees overtime wages has been filed against the health care technology company.

It’s at least the fourth lawsuit now pending against Cerner over its overtime policy. This one claims that Cerner’s help desk workers were expected to work at least 48 hours a week but weren’t paid overtime. Eric Dirks, an attorney for the plaintiff, said the case likely involves hundreds of workers.

"There are multiple different job titles which we believe have been misclassified,” Dirks said. 

Susie Fagan / KHI News

A new coalition is forming to push Gov. Sam Brownback and legislators to expand KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program. Members of the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas jammed a Statehouse meeting room on Monday to kick off their campaign.

Brownback and Republican leaders have blocked any serious consideration of KanCare expansion for the past four legislative sessions because they remain strongly opposed to the federal health reform law they call Obamacare.

Bryan Thompson / Heartland Health Monitor

A southwest Kansas hospital on the verge of having to close its doors appears to have a new lease on life, thanks to a new management contract with an Oklahoma company.

Jason & Megan Mills / Flickr Creative Commons

One of the bills that Kansas lawmakers passed over the final weekend of the session bans minors from using commercial tanning beds. As Heartland Health Monitor’s Jim McLean reports, the bill was a priority for the University of Kansas Cancer Center.

Dr. Roy Jensen is director of the KU Cancer Center. His blunt testimony for the tanning-ban bill helped overcome opposition from lawmakers reluctant to interfere with private businesses.

frankieleon, flickr Creative Commons

Law enforcement officers at locations across the state will be collecting unused leftover medications on Saturday.

KMUW’s Abigail Wilson reports the collection events are part of a nationwide effort to safely dispose of leftover medications in order to prevent accidental or intentional misuse.

Since the Kansas Medication Disposal Program began in 2010, more than 38 tons of unwanted medications have been collected and destroyed.

According to the Kansas Attorney Generals office, medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to misuse and abuse.

Feeding America

A new study of food insecurity finds some familiar patterns in Kansas. But as Heartland Health Monitor’s Bryan Thompson explains, there are also a few surprises.

Every year when the County Health Rankings are published, they show southeast Kansas and Wyandotte County as having persistent problems with poverty. So it should come as no surprise that those same places have a high degree of food insecurity—defined as a lack of reliable access to adequate food.

Phil Cauthon for the KHI News Service

Two separate Kansas legislative committees have approved proposals from Republican Gov. Sam Brownback to provide an additional $17 million to the state's two mental hospitals.

The decisions Thursday by the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Ways and Means Committee mean both chambers will consider the spending as part of broader budget legislation next week.

The extra funds will provide pay raises and offset lost federal funds over the next 15 months.

http://www.kdads.ks.gov

Workers from the Larned State Hospital say staffing shortages have created difficult and unsafe working conditions at the mental facility. Two employees told a legislative committee yesterday about the challenges they face.

Kyle Nuckolls says staff often work 12- to 16-hour shifts multiple days in a row at the western Kansas facility and they can’t take time off for family emergencies or illness. He says the long shifts lead to worker mistakes and other challenges.

Ecig Click, flickr Creative Commons

Updated Tuesday, April 19: Commissioners approved the consent agenda item allowing vaping in county buildings in a 3-2 vote Monday night during their meeting in Derby. 

Original story:

The Sedgwick County Commission will consider a change to the policy procedures manual regarding county buildings and county personnel within them. One of the changes will allow vaping.

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