5:57 am
Mon January 28, 2013

Nearly Two Out Of Five Kansas Inmates Are Mentally Ill

The number of mentally ill prisoners in Kansas has increased by 126 percent since 2006. Nearly two out of every five adult inmates in Kansas are classified as mentally ill.

Republican Senator Steve Fitzgerald blames the spike on the state's failure to develop an effective, community-based system of treatment. His district includes Lansing Correctional Facility.

Fitzgerald says Kansas Department of Corrections Secretary Ray Roberts is by default the provider of last resort for a growing group of people with mental illness.

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6:05 am
Fri January 18, 2013

Kansas Anti-Tobacco Programs Have Room for Improvement

Credit Fried Dough / Flickr

Kansas has lots of work to do to improve its "grades" on tobacco control, according to a new report card from the American Lung Association.

Kansas gets an “A” for its Clean Indoor Air Act. However, the state gets a “D” for the relatively low rate of taxes on tobacco, and an “F” for efforts to prevent tobacco use, and to help those already using it to quit.

“It’s not a whole lot different than last year, but it’s woefully accurate,”says Linda DeCoursey, head of the non-profit Tobacco-Free Kansas Coalition.

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6:29 am
Thu January 17, 2013

Kansas Among Hardest Hit With Flu Virus

A CDC info-graphic of nationwide flu activity.
Credit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Kansas is among the 10 states that are currently being hit hardest with the flu virus.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says there have now been 495 flu-related deaths in the 2012-2013 season that began in October. That number includes 35 deaths in the last week.

The number comes at the tail end of the worst week for Kansas so far in this year's flu season.

KDHE spokesperson Miranda Steele, says the rate is now starting to drop, with infection rates in Kansas down from more that 5 percent to 4.5 percent.

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6:20 am
Thu January 17, 2013

Proposal Would Legalize Medical Marijuana In KS

Medical marijuana growing room in Oakland, CA.
Credit Rusty Blazenhoff / Flickr

A bill introduced in the Kansas Senate would make it legal for patients with some medical conditions to use marijuana, with a doctor's prescription.

Senate Bill 9 was introduced by Democratic Senator David Haley, of Kansas City. Medical marijuana is already legal in 18 states, plus the District of Columbia.

Haley says it’s an issue of basic compassion.

“This becomes a pretty common-sense approach to that, especially when the alternative is to crowd our jails and prisons with people who only wanted to alleviate personal pain,” he says.

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9:46 am
Thu January 3, 2013

Brownback Says State’s Low Public Health Preparedness Ranking Too Harsh

Gov. Sam Brownback and others in his administration are challenging a recent national report that ranked Kansas low for public health preparedness.

The critical report was issued by the non-profit Trust for America's Health. In it, Kansas and Montana tied for last place in rankings of public health preparedness. That means the state isn't as prepared as others to respond to public health threats, such as infectious diseases, food-borne illnesses, bio-terrorism, even extreme weather events.

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6:12 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Kansas Rewarded For Enrolling Kids In Health Coverage

Kansas is being rewarded by the federal government for improving access to children's health coverage, and enrolling kids in low-cost insurance from the federal and state government.

The reward comes in the form of a $12 million performance bonus from CMS - the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The bonus is meant to help offset the added state costs associated with the Children’s Health Insurance Program, known in Kansas as HealthWave.

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1:35 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

Public Health Preparedness Lags In Kansas

A new report on the nation's public health preparedness finds Kansas tied with Montana for last place.

The report from the non-profit Trust For America’s Health is based on 10 measures of readiness for a public health emergency, such as bioterror, extreme weather, and disease outbreaks. Kansas met only three of the ten standards.

This comes on the heels of another report about a month ago from the charitable group, Save The Children. It found that Kansas failed to meet all four of their measures of preparedness for disasters affecting children.

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5:40 am
Thu December 13, 2012

Lawrence Man Appointed KanCare Ombudsman

A Lawrence man has been appointed to the newly-created position of KanCare Ombudsman. 

James Bart is a former corporate attorney. More importantly, perhaps, he’s the father of a 19-year-old son with developmental disabilities. As such, the young man will be a KanCare consumer.

As ombudsman, Bart’s job is to help consumers with any problems they may have with benefits, services, and access under the privatized Medicaid system called KanCare.

“I’m going to be the person that says what’s your needs, and how can I fulfill that?" he says.

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5:44 am
Wed December 12, 2012

Americans Living Longer, But Quality Of Life In Jeopardy

Credit Susan NYC / flickr

The 2012 edition of America's Health Rankings says medical advances are helping people live longer, but preventable illnesses and unhealthy behaviors are undermining the quality of that longer lifespan.

The big threats, according to the report from United Health Foundation, are obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and inactive lifestyles. Kansas ranks right in the middle of the 50 states, at 24th overall. However, Kansas has one of the highest obesity rates in the U.S., with more than 630,000 obese adults.

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6:40 am
Mon December 10, 2012

Feds Approve KanCare, Program To Start Jan 1

It's arguably the biggest change in the history of the Medicaid program in Kansas. KanCare, the privatization of Medicaid, now has the go-ahead from federal officials, and will launch January 1 2013.

The announcement came from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, Friday afternoon. Lieutenant-Governor Jeff Colyer, the Brownback administration’s point man on KanCare, participated in the announcement by speaker phone.

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