Kansas Department of Health and Environment

Courtesy Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has identified more cases of mumps in the state.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is urging all Kansas to be aware and careful as there is a spreading number of cases of mumps in the state.

There have been 56 reported cases of mumps in Kansas spread over 12 counties, though none yet in Sedgwick.

Cases of mumps declined after the measles, mumps and rubella combined vaccine was in widespread use by the early '70s. The MMR vaccine is administered at about a year, and then a booster is given at age 4 or 5.

Andy Marso / Kansas News Service

All that Michael Sykes has to show for his months-long quest to get his mother’s nursing home bed covered by KanCare is a pile of paperwork.

Sykes has already appealed an initial denial of his mom’s coverage and been turned down again. He’s mulling his options. But even before the denials, he was struggling to get answers.

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.

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