public health

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Obamacare enrollment is up over last year across the country but not in Kansas.

The deadline for selecting Obamacare coverage that kicks in at the start of the new year just passed. And so far, nearly 6.5 million Americans have selected marketplace plans – an increase of 400,000 over last year.

But enrollment is down by more than 10,000 here in Kansas, where consumers have fewer coverage options to select from. About 73,000 Kansans have enrolled in Obamacare plans compared to nearly 85,000 at this time last year.

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.

Wesley Medical Center / Facebook

People who live in Derby and the surrounding communities south of Wichita no longer have to drive to Wichita to receive emergency medical care. On Monday, Wesley Healthcare opened its new emergency department in Derby.

Wesley opened the city’s first freestanding ER department, a state-of-the-art facility that cost $10 million. Construction took about eight months.

Derby Mayor Randy White says the new Wesley ER will be an asset to the region.

A new Community Health Improvement Plan for Sedgwick County will be implemented in January.

The Community Health Improvement Plan, or CHIP, provides a list of long-term strategies to address priority health issues in the community. Health concerns such as infant mortality and access to clinical care were identified through a countywide assessment.

Becky Tuttle, chairwoman of Health Alliance, says the plan will help guide public health policies and actions over the next three years.

Meg Wingerter / KHI News Service

It isn’t far from the gleaming bank buildings and high-end hotels to the rent-to-own stores and corner shops that stock more chips than fruit.

A visitor getting off the highway in downtown Kansas City, Kansas, would pass by a Hilton Garden Inn and several high-rise buildings bearing the names of financial companies.

But a few blocks across the Seventh Street Trafficway, the storefronts become more worn down and the food options narrow to McDonald’s and the One Stop Shop, where the only vegetables are jarred tomato sauce and canned jalapenos.

World Bank Photo Collection / flickr, Creative Commons

The Sedgwick County Health Department will be offering free conventional HIV testing for World AIDS Day.

The screenings will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 30, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Thursday, Dec. 1, from 1 to 5 p.m.

World AIDS day is an opportunity to unite in fighting HIV, to support those who are living with HIV, and to memorialize those who have died from HIV/AIDS.

The testings will take place at the Sedgwick County Health Department office located at 2716 W. Central. Participants can walk in or call 316-660-7300 to set up an appointment.

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.

There have been 17 cases of Zika infection in Kansas since the virus first appeared in the Americas last year.

All of the Kansas cases involved people who contracted the disease while traveling in countries with more tropical climates. Now, state health officials are mounting a campaign to prevent Zika from gaining a foothold here.

KPTS

Sedgwick County now has two plumbing codes. The County Commissioners voted in the new regulations on a 4-1 vote.

The Uniform Plumbing Code, or UPC, has been in use in Sedgwick County for more than 40 years. 

Sedgwick County Commissioners voted this week to give plumbers in certain smaller cities another option: the International Plumbing Code, or IPC.

Deborah Shaar / KMUW/File Photo

The Sedgwick County Commissioners have approved the county’s 2017 operating budget. The commissioners restored a county health department position that was cut last year.

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