Heartland Health Monitor
11:44 am
Fri November 21, 2014

Why Kansas Democrats Shied Away From Medicaid Expansion Issue

Post-election soul-searching by Kansas Democrats includes disagreement over whether Medicaid expansion should have been a larger part of the party’s strategy.

The Democrats lost all statewide races for the second straight time and lost another five House seats to drop their number in that chamber to 27. The defeats were part of a national wave of Republican election wins, but they have nonetheless led to talk within the Kansas Democratic Party about what could have been done differently.

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Heartland Health Monitor
3:03 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Kansas Hospitals Continue Push For Medicaid Expansion

The Kansas Hospital Association on Thursday continued its campaign for Medicaid expansion by reminding policymakers how much the state is losing by not claiming federal dollars to cover more low-income adults.

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Heartland Health Monitor
2:33 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Medicaid Expansion Still On Table In Kansas, Missouri Following Elections

While the election returned Gov. Sam Brownback to office and solidified conservatives' control of the Legislature, Kansas hospitals are moving ahead with plans to put a Medicaid expansion plan before lawmakers.
Credit Andy Marso / KHI News Service


Kansas hospitals are moving ahead with plans to put a Medicaid expansion plan before lawmakers despite election results that returned Gov. Sam Brownback to office and solidified conservatives’ control of the Legislature.

Democrat Paul Davis favored expansion but came up short in his bid to upset Brownback, a Republican who thus far has opposed expansion. Also, several Democratic House members who likely would have favored expansion lost narrowly to GOP challengers.

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Heartland Health Monitor
4:58 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

Missouri Lawmaker Hopeful About Medicaid Expansion

Missouri Sen. Ryan Silvey, a Kansas City Republican, believes he has the votes to expand Medicaid in the upcoming legislative session.
Credit Missouri News Horizon / Flickr--CC

Medicaid expansion may yet happen in Missouri, according to state Sen. Ryan Silvey.

The Kansas City Republican said on Friday that he believes he has the support he needs to pass a Medicaid expansion bill that addresses the concerns of his more conservative colleagues.

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Heartland Health Monitor
3:53 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Kansas Lawmaker Who May Lead Health Committee Open To Medicaid Expansion

Reps. Susan Concannon, R-Beloit, and David Crum, R-Augusta, serve on the House Health and Human Services Committee.
Credit KHI News Service file photo

Medicaid expansion is more likely to be considered in the upcoming session of the Kansas Legislature if Rep. Susan Concannon is appointed to chair the House Health and Human Services Committee.

The panel is now chaired by Rep. David Crum, an Augusta Republican who has declined to hold hearings on the expansion issue for the past two sessions. But Crum is not running for a fifth term.

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Heartland Health Monitor
3:14 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Ruling On In-Home Medicaid Services Raises Concerns

Jason Gallagher and his assistant, Tiffany Lentz, go through their morning routine at Gallagher's home in Overland Park. Lentz is one of five full- and part-time workers who provide in-home services for Gallagher.
Credit Bridgit Bowden / KCPT


Karen Barezinsky is looking for an answer to what she says is a simple question: Are the people who run Kansas’ Medicaid program planning to cut the supports she and her husband use to keep her son, Ray Santin, who’s paralyzed from his neck down, out of a nursing home?

“I can’t find out anything,” says Karen, 62, who lives in Scranton, Kan., with her husband and son. “I leave messages with Ray’s case manager, but nobody calls me back.”

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Heartland Health Monitor
1:48 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Medical PACs Mull Stance On Medicaid Expansion

Fifteen medical-related political action committees registered with the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission had a total of almost $600,000 cash on hand at the July 24 reporting deadline, and officials from the top PACs said they're still forming the legislative agendas that may inform how they spend that money.

RELATED: Kansas Medical PACs Concentrate Spending On Incumbents

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Heartland Health Monitor
10:34 am
Wed August 13, 2014

New Federal Rules Will Disrupt Care For Disabled Kansans, State Officials Say

A state official charged with overseeing Medicaid-funded services that help people with disabilities live in community-based settings rather than in nursing homes said Tuesday that coming changes in federal wage and hour rules are likely to increase costs, reduce access to care and give beneficiaries less say in deciding who will provide their care.

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Heartland Health Monitor
3:26 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

Survey Showing Spike In Kansas’ Uninsured Rate Questioned

Remember that headline-grabbing report last week that said Kansas was the only state in the nation to see a significant increase in its uninsured rate?

Well, it’s looking more and more suspect.

Some officials were immediately skeptical when the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey results were released, showing that the adult uninsured rate in Kansas had increased by 5.1 percentage points, jumping from 12.5 percent in 2013 to 17.6 percent by mid-year 2014.

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Heartland Health Monitor
2:45 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

Report: Kansas Improperly Claimed $11 Million In Medicaid Reimbursements

A report by the inspector general for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that Kansas improperly received Medicaid reimbursement for school-based health services.
Credit Wladyslaw / Wikimedia-CC

Kansas improperly billed Medicaid for nearly $11 million in school-based health services, a government watchdog has found.

In a report released Monday, the inspector general for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services determined that Kansas received $10.75 million in unallowable reimbursements for services provided during the one-year period from July 1, 2009, through June 30, 2010.

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Heartland Health Monitor
3:53 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Study: Rejection Of Medicaid Expansion Costing Kansas, Missouri Hospitals Billions


A new study by the Urban Institute says that not expanding Medicaid will cost hospitals in Kansas and Missouri more than $9 billion over a 10-year period.

The analysis from the nonpartisan research organization pegs the loss to Kansas hospitals at $2.6 billion between 2013 and 2022. Missouri hospitals would forfeit $6.8 billion over the same period.

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Heartland Health Monitor
11:05 am
Mon August 4, 2014

Kansas Medicaid Fraud Unit Recovers Nearly $29 Million

Kansas recovered nearly $29 million in taxpayer funds in fiscal 2014 through its Medicaid fraud enforcement unit, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said Friday.

In the fiscal year ending June 30, the Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Division of the Kansas attorney general's office recovered more than $28.7 million. The recoveries were reported in the division’s annual report to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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Heartland Health Monitor
8:41 am
Mon August 4, 2014

Hutchinson Hospital CEO Calls For Medicaid Expansion

The top executive at the Hutchinson Regional Healthcare System says he and other hospital officials are “baffled” by Gov. Sam Brownback’s unwillingness to expand the state’s Medicaid program.

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Heartland Health Monitor
12:50 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

'Nun On The Bus' Coming To Kansas City

Sister Simone Campbell, an outspoken advocate for Medicaid expansion, will be speaking in Kansas City next week.

Sister Simone Campbell, an outspoken proponent for Medicaid expansion who has appeared on several prominent TV talk shows, will address a public forum on social justice issues in Kansas City, Mo., next week.

Campbell, who led the national “Nuns on the Bus” campaigns in 2012 and 2013, is scheduled to speak at 7 p.m. Aug. 7 at the Community Christian Church, 4601 Main St.

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3:46 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Primer On GOP Candidates For Kansas Insurance Commissioner

The four Republican candidates for Kansas insurance commissioner all oppose Obamacare.
Credit Courtesy photos / art from KCUR

Five candidates are seeking the Republican nomination for Kansas insurance commissioner, an office that regulates insurance companies, examines them for financial solvency, ensures compliance with insurance regulations, licenses insurance agents, and educates and assists consumers. The primary winner on Aug. 5 will face off in the fall against the lone Democrat in the race, Dennis Anderson. The winner in November will succeed Sandy Praeger, who was elected in 2003 and is stepping down.

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Heartland Health Monitor
9:28 am
Mon July 21, 2014

White House Study: Kansas Losing Money, Jobs Without Medicaid Expansion

This map from the White House Council of Economic Advisors shows which states have expanded Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act.
Credit Council of Economic Advisors / Executive Office of the President of the United States

A study released earlier this month by the White House Council of Economic Advisers says the decision not to expand Medicaid is costing Kansas millions of dollars and thousands of jobs.

According to the study, Kansas is passing up $820 million over the next three years by choosing not to expand Medicaid eligibility. The federal government would pay for nearly all of the cost of the expansion, which would add as many as 100,000 Kansans to the state’s Medicaid rolls.

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Heartland Health Monitor
3:20 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

Kansas Official: No Backlog In Processing Of Medicaid Applications

A Kansas state official insists there’s no backlog of Medicaid applications in the state, saying federal concerns have more to do with state and government computer systems not sharing information with each other.

Sara Belfry, a spokesperson for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said all of the state’s Medicaid applications are being processed within the 45-day period that’s allowed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

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Heartland Health Monitor
2:40 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Dental Funds For The Poor Caught In Missouri Budget Battle

Medical experts, including professionals at the Mayo Clinic, argue that good oral health goes beyond caring for teeth and gums.
Credit Byrle Gross

Roughly $18 million that would restore basic dental benefits for hundreds of thousands of low-income Missouri adults is in limbo because of a sweeping budget action by Gov. Jay Nixon.

Acting under what he termed his constitutional duty to balance the state budget, Nixon late last month restricted or vetoed approximately $1.1 billion in spending for the fiscal year that began July 1.

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Heartland Health Monitor
2:22 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Feds Demand Medicaid Backlog Fixes In Kansas

Kaiser Health News 

Tired of waiting for states to reduce their backlogs of Medicaid applications, the Obama administration has given Kansas and five other states until Monday to submit plans to resolve issues that have prevented more than 1 million low-income or disabled people from getting health coverage.

Besides Kansas, the targeted states are Alaska, California, Michigan, Missouri and Tennessee.

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Heartland Health Monitor
8:44 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Kansas Hospitals Crafting Medicaid Expansion Proposal

Tom Bell, chief executive of the Kansas Hospital Association, says the group plans to submit proposed legislation to expand Medicaid in Kansas.
Credit Kansas Hospital Association

It’s make-or-break time for advocates of Medicaid expansion in Kansas.

Fearing that political events may be conspiring to foreclose the opportunity to use mostly federal dollars to extend coverage to thousands of uninsured poor adults, the Kansas Hospital Association is preparing to shift its lobbying campaign into high gear.

The first step, says Tom Bell, the association’s chief executive, will be to craft an expansion proposal for lawmakers to consider in the 2015 session.

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Heartland Health Monitor
2:12 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Hospital Association Execs: Medicaid Expansion Would Aid Thousands Of Vets

Tom Bell, president and CEO of the Kansas Hospital Association.
Credit Kansas Hospital Association

The chief executives of  the Missouri and Kansas hospital associations say thousands of uninsured veterans would be eligible for coverage if Medicaid were expanded in those states. 

In an opinion piece that ran in The Kansas City Star on Tuesday, they estimated that more than 37,000 veterans in Missouri and Kansas would qualify for Medicaid coverage under expansion.

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Heartland Health Monitor
3:56 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Want Medicaid Expansion? You Can Move, Missouri Senator Says

Missouri Senator Ed Emery's letter explains his reasons for opposing Medicaid expansion.
Credit Debbie Cole

How divisive was the debate over Medicaid expansion in Missouri this year?

Just ask Debbie Cole, a 51-year-old mother of four who lives in Butler, Mo., and signed a petition asking state legislators to extend Medicaid to cover more low-income residents.

“We all live different lives, and some people out there may be working two or three jobs and have no insurance, and they need it to survive,” she says.

About a month after signing the petition, Cole got a letter from her state senator, Republican Ed Emery of Lamar.

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Heartland Health Monitor
7:36 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Area Legislator: Missouri Lawmakers Nearly Reached Medicaid Expansion Deal

Missouri state Sen. Ryan Silvey, a Republican from Lamar, says lawmakers came close to expanding Medicaid eligibility.
Credit Missouri News Horizon / Flickr--CC

A last-minute deal to expand Medicaid in Missouri almost materialized in the waning days of this year’s legislative session, briefly breathing life into an issue that had seemed all but doomed.

Missouri State Sen. Ryan Silvey, a Kansas City Republican, provided a behind-the-scenes look at high-level negotiations that occurred just before the session ended without an agreement to expand Medicaid eligibility.

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Heartland Health Monitor
9:44 am
Wed June 4, 2014

Brownback Discusses Opposition To Medicaid Expansion in Heritage Foundation Interview

Gov. Sam Brownback
Credit file photo

The inaugural edition of a Heritage Foundation news site features an interview with Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback explaining “how Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion hurts states.”

The interview is featured in the Daily Signal, a new online publication “supported by the resources and intellectual firepower” of the foundation, which describes its mission as promoting “conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values and a strong national defense.”

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Heartland Health Monitor
4:38 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

Medicaid Expansion Supporters Stage Kansas Statehouse Rally

Rep. Jim Ward, a Wichita Democrat, spoke on Friday to supporters of Medicaid expansion in front of the Kansas Statehouse.
Credit Jim McLean / KHI News Service

Supporters of expanding Kansas Medicaid eligibility to more low-income adults rallied Friday at the Statehouse to call attention to the issue as legislators formally ended the 2014 session.

The federal health reform law initially required states to expand Medicaid eligibility. But the U.S. Supreme Court decision in June 2012 that upheld the law made expansion optional for states.

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Heartland Health Monitor
3:26 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Failure To Expand Medicaid Hits Community Health Centers Hard

Missouri’s refusal to expand Medicaid will leave more than 56,000 patients who use community health centers without insurance, according to a report released Friday by researchers at George Washington University.

Similarly, Kansas’ refusal to expand Medicaid will leave more than 24,000 community health center patients without insurance, according to the report.

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Heartland Health Monitor
9:51 am
Tue May 6, 2014

Study: Expanding Medicaid Would Prevent Cancer Deaths In Kansas

Dr. Edward Ellerbeck, director of the Cancer Control and Population Health Program at the University of Kansas Medical Center, examines a patient.
Credit Jim McLean / KHI News Service

The decision by state officials not to expand Medicaid eligibility could deny thousands of uninsured Kansans access to life-saving cancer treatments, according to a recent report by researchers at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

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Heartland Health Monitor
3:24 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Nixon Proposes Health Insurance Subsidy For Low-Wage Workers

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon unveiled a proposal Wednesday to help low-wage workers get health care coverage.
Credit KCPT


Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is proposing that the state use federal health dollars to subsidize health insurance for low-wage workers.

Under a program he is calling Missouri Health Works, Nixon wants the state pay a portion of employers’ health insurance costs for their employees who make below 138 percent of the poverty level, or $27,310 annually for a family of three.

The program would be open to businesses with fewer than 150 employees.

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Heartland Health Monitor
9:48 am
Mon April 28, 2014

Brownback Makes Move To Deliver On Promise To Reduce Disability Waiting Lists

Nancy Swogar is one of about 230 people served by Johnson County Developmental Supports.
Credit Mike Shields / Kansas Health News

Gov. Sam Brownback said Friday he will ask the Kansas Legislature to approve spending an additional $2.6 million in state funds to help reduce the waiting lists for in-home, Medicaid services for the disabled.

If approved, an estimated 209 additional people would receive the services.

There are about 5,000 people on the waiting lists; more than 3,100 are developmentally disabled. About 1,800 physically disabled people also await services, though administration officials said they were still in the process of verifying the accuracy of that number.

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12:15 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Report: Medicaid Expansion Would Boost Kansas Economy

A new report from the Kansas Center for Economic Growth concludes that Medicaid expansion would be a boon to the state's economy and be particularly helpful in rural areas where higher percentages of workers lack good health coverage.

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