Kansas Department of Health and Environment

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

The message delivered to a legislative committee Thursday by opponents of expanding Medicaid eligibility in Kansas boiled down to this: Expansion has been a disaster in the states that have enacted it, so don’t do it.

Gregg Pfister, legislative relations director for the Florida-based Foundation for Government Accountability, ticked through a list of expansion states where costs and enrollment significantly exceeded projections.

Bryan Thompson / Kansas News Service/File photo

Federal officials are evaluating a state plan to fix problems in Medicaid with disability support services for Kansans.

State officials submitted the plan Tuesday after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services notified them in December about deficiencies uncovered during audits last year of KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program.

An Oklahoma company said Thursday it has reached an agreement with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and won’t have to suspend dental services to about 360 Kansans in nursing homes.

Leaders of Sterling Dental said earlier in the week that they would halt services to Kansans whose Medicaid applications are pending because of payment delays caused by a persistent backlog of applications.

Andy Marso / Kansas News Service

Updated Thursday, 4:23 p.m.: Kansas News Service's Andy Marso reports that Sterling Dental has reached an agreement with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment on payments and will no longer suspend services to Kansans on the Medicaid backlog.

Original story:

Kansas News Service/File photo

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 5:05 p.m. Jan. 23 with information from legislative hearings.

As Kansas lawmakers move forward with efforts to increase oversight of KanCare, Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer says Brownback administration officials are addressing the issues that federal regulators cited in denying a one-year extension of the program last week.

Colyer still says he thinks politics played a role in the decision, which came in the final days of Barack Obama’s presidency.

Dan Charles / NPR

The Kansas chapter of the Sierra Club has asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to step in and order Kansas to impose tighter controls on grass burning to protect air quality in the Flint Hills.

America’s Health Rankings/United Health Foundation

Kansas was the only state where the obesity rate went up significantly in 2015, according to an annual report, and state officials are trying to figure out why and how to reverse the trend.

The state also lagged on vaccination rates and remained stuck in the middle on overall health, according to the America’s Health Rankings Report, which was released Thursday.

kdhe.gov

A new report shows the infant mortality rate in Kansas has reached a historic low.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says 230 infant deaths were reported last year, the lowest figure ever recorded.

That put the infant mortality rate at 5.9 per 1,000 live births in 2015—down from 6.3 from a year before. It’s slightly better than the national rate, and below the target rate of 6 set by the federal health initiative Healthy People 2020.

Abigail Beckman / KMUW

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment held a meeting last night in Wichita after several domestic wells near Central and Tyler were found to be contaminated by underground petroleum storage tanks leaking a chemical component of gasoline called MtBE. 

commons.wikimedia.org

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is studying two areas in west Wichita where the groundwater is thought to be contaminated with the synthetic chemical tetrachloroethylene, or PCE. The agency is holding two public information sessions on the issue next week.

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