There are a lot of small, rural hospitals in Kansas. Without them, many residents would have to travel long distances for care. And in many small towns, the hospital is one of the largest employers - making it vital to the local economy. But declining populations, combined with changes in the way hospitals are paid for services, are making it more difficult for many to survive. Heartland Health Monitor's Bryan Thompson has more.
Hospitals in Kansas could lose some federal money if the state doesn't expand Medicaid services under the federal health care law. A lawmaker helping to draft the budget says the state needs to consider assisting those hospitals.
Many hospitals receive payments to help them cover the cost of medical care for the uninsured; they are known as disproportionate shared hospital payments. As the federal health care law continues, the focus will move to funding more Medicaid services, meaning the current disproportionate share funds could be reduced or completely eliminated.