Medicaid

Andy Marso / Kansas News Service

In tight budget times, Kansas mental health advocates are turning to the lottery for some financial help.

Kyle Kessler, executive director of the Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas, said the association will ask the Legislature to commit an additional $31 million over the next two fiscal years for the centers. That $31 million — pulled from Kansas lottery proceeds — would return funding for the 26 centers across the state to the 2007 fiscal year level.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW

Nearly two dozen legislators from districts across south-central Kansas participated in a public forum in Wichita Wednesday night ahead of the start of the legislative session on Monday.

Community members voiced concerns about topics including Kansas tax policy, Medicaid expansion and state gun laws. Twenty-seven attendees signed up to speak at the forum, though there was time budgeted for up to 75.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

The crop of new legislators and Kansas Statehouse leaders means a new chance for some issues to make headway in the coming session. Stephen Koranda reports on one topic that might get more traction: expanding Medicaid to cover more people.

Sedgwick County Twitter

Sedgwick County Commissioners passed their 2017 legislative agenda Wednesday during their last meeting of the year.

The six-page agenda includes the commission’s support for passing state legislation that would allow for the audit of election results, and pushes to restore the 4 percent cut to the Medicaid reimbursement rate that was made earlier this year.

Kansas 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.

Courtesy Melinda Miner

At 59 years old, Bill Miller is starting to have neck and back problems. Thirty-two years of bending over to check patients’ teeth and gums will do that, he said.

Miller is the only dentist in Hill City, a community of about 1,500 people northwest of Hays. He has treated Medicaid patients his entire career, even as reimbursements increasingly have lagged the cost of providing care.

healthcare.gov

Close to 25,000 Kansans have signed up for health insurance through the online marketplace, despite uncertainty about the future of the Affordable Care Act under a new administration.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service reported Wednesday that 24,778 people in Kansas had signed up for insurance since open enrollment for 2017 started Nov. 1. The number of people seeking insurance was up less than 2 percent compared to the same period during open enrollment last year.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File Photo

Kansas privatized its Medicaid program in 2013, and there have been questions ever since--questions about how well KanCare is working. As Heartland Health Monitor’s Jim McLean reports, a new study may provide some answers.

Jim McLean

A comprehensive study of KanCare, Kansas’ privatized Medicaid program, says while it has come close to meeting cost-cutting goals, it has burdened providers and failed to significantly improve the care for the more than 400,000 low-income and disabled Kansans it covers.

The study was done for several Kansas provider organization by a consulting firm run by former Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt.

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