Health

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

Though there have not been any U.S. cases of the strain of avian flu that has killed more than 140 people in China this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s head veterinarian says the agency is making preparations to combat the deadly virus in case it reaches North America.

The USDA’s Dr. Jack Shere stresses that it's impossible to predict how far a particular bird flu strain may travel or mutate. In the meantime, however, scientists are on alert.

Susie Fagan / Kansas News Service

Updated Thursday 11:06 a.m.

A dispute about the cost and potential benefits of expanding Medicaid eligibility heated up ahead of a Kansas Senate committee vote on a bill. The committee voted Thursday morning to send the expansion bill to the full Senate, which is expected to hold a vote Monday.

Courtesy Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has identified more cases of mumps in the state.

Kansas Public Radio

Kansas lawmakers appear poised to pass a Medicaid expansion plan despite objections from Gov. Sam Brownback and uncertainty about the future of federal funding.

Senate President Susan Wagle, a Wichita Republican, doesn’t hesitate when asked if the expansion bill, which passed the House in late February, will clear the Senate later this month.

“I believe the bill passes on the Senate floor,” Wagle says, adding that she believes it will be approved by a wide margin.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is urging all Kansas to be aware and careful as there is a spreading number of cases of mumps in the state.

There have been 56 reported cases of mumps in Kansas spread over 12 counties, though none yet in Sedgwick.

Cases of mumps declined after the measles, mumps and rubella combined vaccine was in widespread use by the early '70s. The MMR vaccine is administered at about a year, and then a booster is given at age 4 or 5.

Andy Marso / Kansas News Service

An adult stem cell center established by the Kansas Legislature in 2013 is almost ready for its first clinical trial.

Buddhadeb Dawn, executive director of the Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center, told legislators Tuesday that the trial will focus on treating graft-versus-host disease and will begin after final approvals from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Submitted

Kansas' newest member of Congress is at the center of the emerging Obamacare repeal-and-replace debate. Republican Roger Marshall – a doctor from Great Bend – is quick to call the health reform law a failure.

But the replacement bill that he supports – which was introduced this week – is drawing fire from both constituents and health policy researchers. 

Kansas News Service/File photo

The first weeks of the legislative session are a time for lawmakers to put forward their favorite ideas that have little chance of becoming law. In most years, that list would include changes to Medicaid, but things are different with the 2017 Kansas Legislature.

Hugo Phan / KMUW, File Photo

Construction is underway on a new building to serve patients of Hunter Health Clinic in Wichita.

The new clinic for patient services will be north of Hunter Health’s clinic on East Central.

Hunter is a community-based health center that provides primary medical, dental and behavioral health services on a sliding fee scale. Hunter focuses on providing care to people who are uninsured or underinsured.

Hunter Health officials say they’ll be able to serve more patients and expand services once the new building opens in about a year.

All three of the private insurance companies that manage the Kansas Medicaid program made a profit on it in 2016 — the first year that has occurred.

UnitedHealthcare was by far the most financially successful of the three, with $30.2 million in profits. Sunflower State Health Plan, a subsidiary of Centene, had a $5.5 million profit and Amerigroup made about $3.4 million.

The three companies lost millions in 2013 and 2014, the first two years of KanCare.

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