Bryan Thompson / Heartland Health Monitor

The federal health insurance marketplace opened Nov. 1 for 2016 coverage. An effort called Cover Kansas has been branching out all across the state to help Kansans find a plan that best suits their needs. Heartland Health Monitor’s Bryan Thompson paid a visit to one of their outreach events in Dodge City.

Navigators are preparing for an event in Wichita next week to help consumers decide on a health insurance plan. Coventry insurance will no longer be offered, so consumers will need to pick another option in the federal marketplace.

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

Kansas lawmakers are scrutinizing the state’s foster care system. As Heartland Health Monitor’s Jim McLean reports, the review was prompted by reports about children who died in the system.

Democrats in the Kansas Legislature pushed for an investigation of the state’s foster care system last summer following the deaths of two young children. A four-year-old boy was beaten to death in Hiawatha. And a Wichita infant died in a hot car after being forgotten by her foster parents.

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

Lawmakers at both the state and federal levels are pushing measures to allow people with terminal illnesses access to promising but still experimental drugs and treatments. Some are also attempting to force the federal Food and Drug Administration to speed up its approval process. Heartland Health Monitor’s Andy Marso recently paid a visit to a Kansan suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease who believes she could be helped by a drug that’s not yet on the market.

Ecig Click, flickr Creative Commons

At an informal public meeting on Monday morning, Sedgwick County Commissioners discussed the safety and public use of e-cigarettes.

Sedgwick County Commissioner Jim Howell asked two advocates to debate whether e-cigarettes are harmful to the community.

Kimber Richter, a doctor at the University of Kansas Medical Center, said e-cigarettes contain a number of dangerous chemicals and should be kept out of public spaces. She says studies that show e-cigarettes are a safe alternative to tobacco are flawed.

Dave Ranney, Heartland Health Monitor

An advocacy group is saying that Gov. Sam Brownback’s latest plan to avert a budget deficit will hurt some of the state’s poorest children. Heartland Health Monitor’s Jim McLean has more on concerns being raised by children’s advocates.

Health care providers across the country have been fearing the switch to a complicated new coding and billing system. Some were predicting an apocalyptic snarl of red tape. But when Heartland Health Monitor’s Bryan Thompson checked in with some Kansas providers about how things have gone the first month, they said “so far, so good.”

The new billing system is called ICD-10. It's the tenth version of the World Health Organization's International Classification of Diseases. That's where the initials, ICD, come from.

Stephen Koranda

Republican Speaker Ray Merrick has removed three Kansas lawmakers who support Medicaid expansion from the House Health and Human Services Committee.

El Alvi / Flickr Creative Commons

Immunization records for Wichita Public Schools students are due by mid-November. As KMUW’s Sean Sandefur reports, students will be excluded from school without them.

Wichita Public Schools say they have about 2,000 students whose vaccination records aren’t yet complete. If not turned in by Nov. 16, schools will begin removing students from class.

The required vaccinations include:

A new report says Medicaid and other services will cost Kansas about $47 million more than expected during the next two budget years.

The new estimates Thursday complicate the budget picture for Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and the GOP-dominated Legislature. The report was issued by legislative researchers and Brownback's budget staff.