Bryan Thompson

Rural Health & Agriculture Reporter, Kansas News Service

Bryan Thompson is a reporter for KCUR 89.3 and the Kansas News Service, specializing in rural health and agriculture. He is based in Salina.

A series of informational meetings about KanCare has been rescheduled, after being cancelled due to snow storms last month. 

Meetings for providers will take place March 18th, in Hays; March 19th, in Dodge City, and March 20th, in Wichita.  Each of those sessions will run from one to three in the afternoon.

Meetings for consumers will be held in Hays March 18th, and in Wichita March 20th.  Those events will take place from six to eight in the evening. 

Kansas Senator Pat Roberts has introduced a bill to reform the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps.  Roberts says the bill would save $36-billion over ten years by eliminating waste, and closing loopholes in the program.

A Wichita clinic formerly operated by slain abortion provider Dr. George Tiller is expected to reopen soon.

Tiller’s former building was recently purchased by an organization called the Trust Women Foundation.  It’s headed by Julie Burkhart, who used to run Tiller’s political action committee.

Abortion services have been unavailable in Wichita since Tiller was gunned down in 2009. 

Burkhart says each year, thousands of women in the Wichita area have to travel to Kansas City or to Oklahoma to get an abortion. 

Legislation filed in the Missouri Senate would require all genetically modified meats and fish raised and sold in the state to be labeled as such. The bill is sponsored by Democrat Jamilah Nasheed of St. Louis.  She says people have a right to know what they’re putting in their bodies.

“We’ve had an industrial boom, we’ve had a technical boom, and now we have a biotech boom, and there hasn’t been a major studies to show one way or the other if genetically modified foods are good or bad,” says Nasheed.

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Medicaid is the second-largest program that Kansas operates, next only to education. And costs of the health program for the poor and disabled have been growing at a faster pace than most other programs. A desire to control those costs and improve care is why officials in Governor Sam Brownback’s administration have embarked on a massive plan to overhaul the system.

Bryan Thompson / Kansas Public Radio

An eastern Kansas man who built his own telescope and operates it from a shed in his back yard has discovered a previously unknown and potentially hazardous asteroid.

Gary Hug lives near Scranton. He was trying to help plot the orbit of a known Near Earth Object when he noticed something Sunday night that appeared to be moving too slow to be a satellite, but too fast to be a main belt asteroid.

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Kansas officials are warning people not to eat too much fish caught in the state.

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A University of Kansas researcher is partnering with a Harvard scientist on a $1.7 million study of a protein believed to play a role in Alzheimer's disease.

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KanCare is arguably the biggest change in the history of Medicaid in Kansas. The proposal would privatize the entire program.

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The 2012 edition of America's Health Rankings says medical advances are helping people live longer, but preventable illnesses and unhealthy behaviors are undermining the quality of that longer lifespan.

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Friday is the deadline for people with Medicare to make changes to change their health and drug coverage. If you have original Medicare, your benefits are administered by the federal government.

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Two Kansas City hospitals have announced plans to work together to create a single, integrated pediatric program.

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The Kansas Insurance Department says a Blue Cross plan should set the standard for essential health benefits for all individual and small group health plans sold on the coming exchange in Kansas. 

Insurers are now required to provide consumers a summary, in plain English, of the coverage and costs in their health plans.

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Kansas health officials say the outbreak of nausea and diarrhea that closed a suburban Kansas City elementary school last week was caused by norovirus.

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A suburban Kansas City elementary school will remain closed until Monday due to an as-yet-undetermined gastro-intestinal illness.

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Less than five months from now, the Kansas Medicaid program is scheduled to convert to a privatized system.

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State officials are warning Kansas senior citizens not to fall for a telephone scam aimed at Medicare beneficiaries. 

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The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act—the massive health care overhaul signed into law by President Obama two years ago.

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A crowd of more than 200 people packed a hearing room in Wichita Monday to sound-off about Governor Sam Brownback's plan to privatize the state's Medicaid system.

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A committee of the National Research Council says an updated risk assessment of a proposed high-security biodefense lab in Manhattan, Kan., appears to understate the chances of deadly pathogens being accidentally released. 

Shortly after hundreds of Kansans converged on the Statehouse to oppose one aspect of Gov. Sam Brownback’s Medicaid reform plan, the governor has acceded to their demands—at least partially.

KDHE report on Kansas dental workforce

Analysts have known for years that Kansas has a severe shortage of dentists -- and that shortage is getting worse.  

The nation's midsection is a hot spot for influenza right now, and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment says there’s still time to be protected by a flu shot.

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Kansas has received bids from five private managed care organizations seeking a share of the Kansas Medicaid program.

The White House budget for 2013 provides no construction funding for a planned livestock disease lab in Kansas and calls for a “comprehensive assessment of the project in 2012” to consider “the cost, safety, and any alternatives to the current plan.”

Bryan Thompson / Kansas Public Radio

Supporters of a high security bio-defense facility in Manhattan, Kan., got some depressing news today. The White House Budget for 2013 cuts funding for the Department of Homeland Security’s proposed National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) from $50 million to $10 million.

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Kansas political leaders and top officials at Kansas State University are united in support of a plan to bring the nation's premier agricultural disease laboratory to the K-State campus in Manhattan.

A committee of the National Research Council visited Kansas State University Friday to get a feel for safety concerns for a giant biosafety lab planned for the Manhattan, Kan., campus.

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has rejected a request from Kansas to gradually phase in one of the new requirements of the federal health care law.  The decision means consumers who buy individual health insurance policies can expect to see lower premiums, expanded benefits, or even cash rebates.

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