Jeff Colyer

Andy Marso / KCUR

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback unveiled a two-part plan Friday to bring more doctors to the state and quell health care shortages that he said threaten to kill rural communities.

Brownback, flanked by Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, a hospital executive and the head of the Kansas Farm Bureau, harkened back to his days growing up in Parker — population 250 — to personalize the push for more rural doctors.

KHI News Service/File photo

Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration has requested a one-year extension of the current KanCare program while delaying a proposal for an updated version of the Medicaid managed care system.

KanCare, which placed all 425,000 Kansans in Medicaid under the administration of three private insurance companies, began in 2013 and is scheduled to expire at the end of 2017.

State officials had planned to make changes to the current contracts and then apply for a long-term extension of KanCare with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at the beginning of 2017.

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

A task force chaired by Kansas Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer to address problems in rural health care determined that expanding telemedicine, addressing workforce shortages and giving providers more flexibility were key to Kansas’ future.

The Rural Health Working Group wrapped up a year of meetings Tuesday and is now compiling a set of recommendations to present to the Legislature ahead of the session that begins Jan. 9.

Bryan Thompson / Heartland Health Monitor

A panel tasked with finding “Kansas solutions” for health care delivery problems in rural Kansas turned its attention to behavioral health Tuesday.

At a meeting in Larned, Eric Van Allen told the Rural Health Working Group that Kansas spends about $400 million annually on behavioral health — including roughly $175 million through the Medicaid program.

Bryan Thompson / Heartland Health Monitor

A task force charged with addressing the problems of health care delivery in rural Kansas met for nearly five hours in Salina yesterday. As Heartland Health Monitor’s Bryan Thompson reports, they still haven’t settled on a direction.

Jim McClean / Heartland Health Monitor

Members of Gov. Sam Brownback’s Rural Health Working Group have their work cut out for them.

Representatives of the state’s hospitals and doctors briefed Lieutenant Gov. Jeff Colyer and other members group Tuesday night at its first meeting.

The Kansas Hospital Association’s Melissa Hungerford says many rural providers are being hit hard by the combination of older and sicker patients, the lack of Medicaid expansion and declining Medicare reimbursements.

Kansas Legislature

A Democratic legislator says Kansas lawmakers need to rewrite campaign finance laws to close what he sees as a loophole involving loans by candidates to their own campaigns.

Democratic Rep. Jim Ward of Wichita called for a review of campaign finance laws Wednesday. His comments came after the U.S. attorney's office in Kansas said it expected no federal criminal charges to be filed from an investigation of loans by Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer to his and Gov. Sam Brownback's re-election campaign.

brownback,com

Federal prosecutors have completed their investigation into loans made to Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback's re-election campaign by his lieutenant governor and plan to bring no criminal charges, the U.S. attorney's office said Wednesday.

Jim Cross, spokesman for U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom, told The Associated Press that no federal charges are expected in the case that involved the loans from Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer. Minutes earlier, Brownback and Colyer released a joint statement saying they had been informed of the decision.

brownback,com

A federal grand jury is looking into loans made to Kansas Governor Sam Brownback's re-election campaign.

The jury has ordered the state's ethics chief to testify next week as part of its investigation, according to a subpoena obtained by The Associated Press.

Carol Williams with the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission was summoned to appear before the grand jury Wednesday in Topeka.

She was ordered to provide documents pertaining to loans Brownback's campaign received in 2013 and 2014.

Lieutenant Gov. Jeff Colyer is not answering questions about a new loan he's made to Governor Sam Brownback's campaign.

A financial disclosure filing shows Colyer loaned Brownback's campaign $500,000 in August.

He made similar loans last December and this July, but both were paid back within two days.

At a campaign event yesterday in Wichita, Colyer refused to answer questions about the loans or the origin of the money he's lending to Brownback's campaign.

Brownback campaign spokesman John Milburn says the loans amount to simple "cash management."

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