National Alliance on Mental Illness

Madeline Fox / Kansas News Service

Today, when mentally ill Kansans land in a psychiatric hospital or behind bars, they lose Medicaid coverage. When they’re freed, the daunting chore of signing up for government health coverage starts from scratch.

Now, a push gaining steam among state lawmakers would merely pause that coverage, keeping care and critical medications ready for mental health patients when they get out.

iStock illustration

A mental health organization in Kansas is seeking solutions from the state after a national report shows ongoing disparities in mental health coverage.

Betty Lee/Ars Electronica / flickr

One out of four people in Kansas have a mental illness, and the latest estimates show that 13 percent aren’t receiving treatment. A grassroots mental illness organization is trying to change that.

Dave Ranney, Heartland Health Monitor

When the 2015 legislative session started in January, public health advocates had reason to be optimistic they could reach some of their most ambitious goals.

The Kansas Hospital Association was ramping up efforts to expand Medicaid coverage to about 100,000 uninsured Kansans with the political implications of the 2014 election over.

Newly re-elected Gov. Sam Brownback had proposed to almost triple the state cigarette tax — a prospect that won quick support from groups that fight cancer and heart disease.

Report: Medicaid Expansion Vital to Mental Health

May 31, 2013

The National Alliance on Mental Illness says gaps in mental health care could be addressed if every state-including Kansas-would expand Medicaid as envisioned in the Affordable Care Act.

Rick Cagan, who heads NAMI Kansas, says the state’s system of community mental health centers is supposed to provide help for Kansans with mental illness, regardless of their ability to pay. But budget cuts have left public mental health providers unable to meet the needs…