Bryan Thompson

Bryan Thompson is a reporter for Kansas Public Radio.


11:18 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Some Veterans May Lose Needed Health Care If VA Pilot Program In Kansas Ends

Hugh Steadman, a World War II veteran who lives in Great Bend, Kan., used to have to drive two hours to the Veterans Affairs medical center in Wichita, pictured here. That commute shortened to 10 minutes when a pilot program paid for him to see a doctor in Great Bend.
Credit Wikimedia -- CC


A pilot program in Kansas allowing veterans who live far from Veterans Affairs hospitals to get care from local doctors may end, threatening veterans like Hugh Steadman with the cutoff of needed medical care.

Steadman, who flew combat missions over Germany as a bombardier during World War II, lives in Great Bend. He used to have to drive two hours to the VA medical center in Wichita, a trip that was getting more difficult for him to make.

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8:27 am
Mon June 23, 2014

EPA Grants May Help Redevelop Parts Of Kansas, Missouri

The EPA has awarded $1.2 million for projects in a 15-county area of northeast Kansas and northwest Missouri. The money will be used to redevelop underused or abandoned properties, and to train residents and help them land environmental jobs.

The grants are being administered by the Mo-Kan Regional Council. 

A revolving loan fund will of $1 million will help revitalize blighted sites that may contain hazardous waste or petroleum contamination. Executive Director Tom Bliss says there are nearly 400 eligible properties in the 15-county area.

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9:48 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Report: Expanded Liquor Sales In Kansas Could Have Health Consequences

Credit Matteo Paciotti / Flickr -- Creative Commons

Expanding liquor sales to grocery and convenience stores in Kansas could lead to more underage drinking, according to a new report from the Kansas Health Institute.

The report, called a health impact assessment, is designed to give policymakers information about the potential health consequences of expanded liquor sales.

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8:38 am
Tue June 17, 2014

VA Rural Health Care Pilot Under The Gun In Kansas

Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran says a Veterans Administration pilot program offering timely quality health care to rural veterans is being allowed to expire in a few months, even though VA officials tell members of Congress no decision has been made.

Moran and four of his colleagues sent a letter to the VA Secretary seeking an explanation. 

The pilot program, called Access Received Closer to Home, or ARCH, is offered through five pilot sites across the country, including one in Pratt, Kan.

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8:13 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Pre-surgery Checklist Aims To Make Wichita Hospitals Among Safest In Nation

Wichita-area doctors and hospitals have adopted a pre-surgery checklist designed to make the city’s operating rooms among the safest in the nation.

“If you go to the Hospital Compare website and look at ‘antibiotic prophylaxis ordered’ under ‘procedures and core measures,’ you’ll see that we’re at 99-plus percent,” says Dr. Randall Morgan, an obstetrician and chair of the Wichita Quality Health Collaborative’s Surgical Safety Committee.

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3:02 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

Two Measles Cases In Johnson County Spur Investigation

Kansas state health officials confirmed two cases of measles in Johnson County Friday. The cases may be linked to four others on the Missouri side of Kansas City.

Kansas Department of Health and Environment spokeswoman Aimee Rosenow says everyone at risk of exposure is being contacted, and the investigation into the two Johnson County cases is ongoing.

One of the patients is an unvaccinated child, the other is an adult. 

"We're not certain of the vaccination status of the adult, but they are connected," she says.

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8:34 am
Fri June 6, 2014

Kansans Gather To Address Sliding Health Ranking

Rankings from the United Health Foundation show Kansas is on a long, steady decline — from 8th healthiest state in 1991 to 27th in 2013.

To address the problem, health officials from all over the state are spending two days in Wichita at the Kansas Health Foundation Symposium. The event is a call to action to make Kansans healthier.

"That is the purpose of this conference—to spark the discussion to help us reverse this horrible trend in Kansas," said Kansas Health Foundation President and CEO Steve Coen, summarizing the need for the symposium.

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9:45 am
Wed June 4, 2014

Wichita VA Hospital Had Secret Waiting List For Patients

The director of the VA hospital in Wichita said Friday that they kept a secret waiting list for patients.
Credit Jeffery Beall / CC

Despite assurances to the contrary, the VA hospital in Wichita kept a secret waiting list for patients. The hospital's director revealed that information Friday in a message to Kansas Senators Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran.

Roberts told the Wichita Eagle he was not happy to see that message just hours after he’d met with officials of the Robert J. Dole VA Medical Center, who assured him the hospital was doing just fine. But one patient of the Wichita VA facility says the news is no surprise.

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4:52 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Cancer Clinical Trial Program In Kansas Awaits Decision On Its Fate

A high-mag image of Seminoma, one of many types of cancer treated at Wichita-based Cancer Center of Kansas.
Credit Wikimedia / CC

Kraig Moore is one of the patients helping test experimental cancer treatments through a clinical trials program operated by the Wichita-based Cancer Center of Kansas. The 47-year-old psychologist, who also operates a bed-and-breakfast near Mulvane, Kan., was diagnosed last January with stage 3b metastatic malignant melanoma.

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10:02 am
Tue May 20, 2014

KDHE Probes 7 Reports Of Toxin-Related Kidney Failure

State health officials are looking for connections in seven reported cases of kidney failure commonly caused by a type of bacteria sometimes found in food. 

A total of seven cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome have been reported to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. These cases have not been confirmed yet, according to KDHE spokeswoman Sara Belfry. 

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7:51 am
Mon April 28, 2014

Washington Post Says Kansas Congressman Wrong About ACA Numbers

A Washington Post blog called "The Fact Checker" gave "four Pinocchios" to recent claims by Kansas U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp about the Affordable Care Act.

The rating characterizes Huelskamp's claims as untrue.

The rating is based on statements Huelskamp made during recent town hall meetings in Hays and Salina, when he was asked about the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

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7:55 am
Wed April 23, 2014

K-State Professor Adds To Evidence That Sitting Leads To Chronic Illness

Credit El-Alvi -- CC

Want to improve your overall health and quality of life? Then get up!

A growing body of research says while it's important to exercise, most of us also need to simply spend less time sitting. One of the researchers looking into the health hazards of sitting is Ric Rosenkranz, a professor at Kansas State University.

On a Wednesday morning, Rosenkranz is teaching a class on Public Health Nutrition at Kansas State University.

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7:06 am
Thu April 17, 2014

Insurance Coverage For Autism Set To Begin In Kansas

Insurance companies will begin covering autism services next January for a limited number of children in Kansas. A bill mandating such coverage has been signed into law by Gov. Sam Brownback.

“So I am pleased to sign this bill today, expanding coverage for autism. This is an important moment for families that deal with the challenges of an autistic family member, and it’s important that we do this as a society," the governor said.

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5:39 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

KU Student Diagnosed With Tuberculosis

Campus officials say a student on the KU Lawrence campus has been confirmed to have tuberculosis.

KU officials say the student is doing well, and is expected to make a full recovery. Health officials are conducting a TB contact investigation.

Fewer than 50 people are believed to be at risk from exposure to the communicable lung disease. They will all be tested to see whether they've been infected. If so, they'll be treated with antibiotics.

6:20 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Autism Insurance Bill Heads To Kansas Governor

A bill awaiting Kansas Governor Sam Brownback’s signature would require health insurance sold in the state to include coverage for autism services--at least in a limited fashion. 

The bill sent to the governor last week includes coverage for Applied Behavioral Analysis. 

Representative John Rubin, of Shawnee, guided the bill through the House.  He says research shows ABA is the most effective form of therapy for a majority of kids with autism, but it needs to start in the preschool years…

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7:57 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Wyandotte County At Bottom, Johnson At Top In New Health Rankings

The fifth annual County Health Rankings are out, and the parts of Kansas that have struggled in prior years are still at the bottom of the list.

The rankings provide a clear picture of just how much health depends on social factors like poverty and education.

Johnson County tops the list again this year as the healthiest county in Kansas. Dr. Gianfranco Pezzino, of the Kansas Health Institute, says it’s more than just coincidence that the Kansas City suburb is also the state’s wealthiest county.

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Kansas Statehouse
7:47 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Kansas House Passes Bill To Join Effort To Take Control Of ACA Money

The Kansas House has passed and sent to the Senate a bill that would allow Kansas to join several other states in an effort to wrest control of health care programs from the federal government.

The Interstate Health Care Compact is in large part a reaction to the Affordable Care Act. The main sponsor of the legislation in the House is Republican Rep. Brett Hildabrand.

“Many of our constituents are looking for any way possible to get out from under the Affordable Care Act, and this is one method for doing that," said Hildabrand.

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9:32 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Atchison Nursing Home Tops State List

The non-profit Kansas Advocates for Better Care is out with its annual list of nursing homes cited by state inspectors for the fewest deficiencies.  The facility at the top of the list is in Atchison, Kan.

The Dooley Center, in Atchison, has not been cited for a single violation the past three years. Mitzi McFatrich, who heads Kansas Advocates for Better Care (KABC), says 20 nursing homes in the state have had five or fewer deficiencies in the last three years.

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7:49 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Kansas Study Links Fitness And Academic Performance

Seaman Middle School students in Topeka, Kan., demonstrate fitness routines in the gymnasium.
Credit Jim McLean / KHI News

A new study show that kids who are physically fit tend to also outperform their more sedentary peers in the classroom. The findings are from the first year of a new program called K-FIT.

The study involved more than 13,000 fourth through ninth graders, at more than 150 schools across Kansas during the 2011-2012 school year.

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8:10 am
Wed January 29, 2014

KU Med Device Could Help People With Traumatic Brain Injury

Randolph Nudo holds the experimental microdevice.
Credit Elissa Monroe / University of Kansas Medical Center

A device invented by scientists at the University of Kansas Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University may one day restore movement in people with traumatic brain injuries. It works in rats, and researchers are hopeful that the promise won't stop there.

The device is a battery-powered microprocessor designed to record electrical impulses in one part of the brain, and relay them to another part of the brain.

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8:06 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Green Light Expected Soon On Second Phase Of KanCare

People with developmental disabilities gather along with advocates and caretakers at a pre-implementation meeting in Wichita in June 2012.
Credit Bryan Thompson / Kansas Public Radio

A federal Medicaid official says Kansas is making "substantial progress" toward a major expansion of the Medicaid privatization program known as KanCare.

During a statewide teleconference Wednesday, Kansas officials said the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is on the verge of approving the state’s plan to move residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities to the program. It would put residential, employment, and independent living services under the control of the private insurance companies that run KanCare.

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8:28 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Moran Worries ACA Will Cut Care In Rural Kansas

Kansas Republican Sen. Jerry Moran says his biggest worry about the Affordable Care Act is that it may ultimately lead to medical care being less available in rural communities.

Moran made the comment during a town hall meeting Thursday in Salina.

Moran was responding to a question about the requirement that women’s reproductive services, including contraceptives, be included in all health insurance plans sold on the exchanges.

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8:13 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Norovirus Confirmed In Kansas Vomiting, Diarrhea Outbreak

A pre-Christmas outbreak of vomiting and diarrhea that sickened almost 300 people in southwest Kansas was caused by norovirus, according to state health officials.

The outbreak has been linked to a Jimmy John's sandwich restaurant in Garden City.

As of Jan. 3, 282 people who ate at the restaurant between Dec. 10 and Dec. 24 reported becoming ill—most of them within 72 hours of eating at Jimmy John’s.

The restaurant voluntarily closed from Dec. 24 through Dec. 26 for a thorough cleaning and disinfection.

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6:58 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Obamacare Enrollment Slow In Kansas

To date, about 4000 people in Missouri, and nearly 2000 in Kansas have completed enrollment and selected a healthcare plan through

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported the numbers Wednesday. Overall, about 365,000 Americans had picked a health insurance plan through the federal website as of Nov. 30.

There was a rocky rollout in October. But, site access has reportedly improved and enrollments have  increased. 

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8:09 am
Fri November 15, 2013

Kansas Child Deaths Lowest On Record

A new report shows the number of child fatalities in Kansas in 2011 was the lowest on record. Those records date back to 1992, when the Child Death Review Board was established.

The annual report from the review board says 391 children died in Kansas in 2011. Of those deaths, 230 were due to natural causes. Almost two-thirds involved babies who died in their first month of life, most of those deaths were due to premature birth and congenital conditions.

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8:01 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Few In Kansas And Missouri Have Bought Insurance On The Exchange

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released the first official tally of how many Americans signed up for health insurance through the new exchanges during their first month of operation.

Enough Kansans have purchased a plan through the website, to fill an entire Kansas town—specifically, the town of Hartford, population 371. That figure led Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts to declare the health law a failure.

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8:00 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Tuberculosis Confirmed In Johnson County

State and local health officials have confirmed a case of tuberculosis in Johnson County, Kan. A patient who was treated at Overland Park Regional Medical Center last September has an active case of the airborne disease.

Officials say spread of the disease requires very close contact with an infected person, so it’s highly unlikely that it has spread to anyone else. Health officials have identified about 100 people who need to be tested for TB, as a precaution.

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7:53 am
Tue November 5, 2013

KU Researchers Use Cellphones To Improve Parenting

A study by researchers at the Universities of Kansas and Notre Dame shows cell phones can be a powerful tool to help reinforce home-based parenting training.

The study focused on parents who experience higher levels of depression, stress and family violence. KU’s Judith Carta says these families need better parenting strategies, yet they’re most at-risk of dropping out of the very programs meant to help them.

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6:59 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Food Assistance Reduced For 316,000 Kansans

The end of October brings an end to a boost in the amount of federal food assistance that's been helping to feed 316,000 Kansans for the past four years. The extra benefits were part of the stimulus bill Congress passed in 2009 to help people recover from the recession.

Barb LaClair, who studies hunger issues at the non-profit Kansas Health Institute, says caseloads suggest low-income Kansans still aren’t seeing a recovery. She says they’re going to have no choice but to rely even more on food banks and food pantries—which are already overextended.

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9:47 am
Fri October 18, 2013

Kansas Seniors Warned About Medicare Scams

The open enrollment period for Medicare prescription drug plans and Medicare Advantage plans got underway Monday.  The Kansas Insurance Department says people need to be alert for potential scams.

The concern is heightened this year because the Medicare signup period coincides with the opening of the insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare.

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