Health

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
4:34 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Infant Mortality In Black Community Down But Still High

Dr. O'Conner of the UMKC school of nursing and Dr. Cai of the Kansas City Health Department answer questions about infant mortality rates in Kansas City.
Credit Anne Biswell / Mother & Child Health Coalition

Although the fetal and infant mortality rate in the Kansas City metropolitan area's black community is about double that of the white population, it has dropped dramatically since 2008.

That was the news delivered on Friday at a community forum on infant deaths in Kansas City hosted by the Mother & Child Health Coalition. The forum, at the Kauffman Foundation Conference Center, was attended by dozens of nurses, doctors and public health workers.

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Heartland Health Monitor
8:32 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Merriam First City In Midwest To Adopt New Wheelchair-Accessible Icon

Merriam will change its wheelchair-accessible signs from the International Symbol of Access, on the left, to the Accessible Icon Project's symbol on the right.
Credit Wikipedia, Accessible Icon Project

Merriam has become the first city in the Midwest to adopt a more contemporary version of the wheelchair-accessible icon. At a town hall meeting Monday night, the city council voted unanimously to replace the old icon, which has been in use since 1968.

“I have to give the city council credit for that because they believed in that and they wanted to welcome disabled people into the community," says Al Frisby, the councilman who proposed the change after a friend, Finn Bullers, called the new icon to his attention.

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Heartland Health Monitor
2:33 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Missouri Becomes Third State To Enact 'Right To Try' Drug Law

Credit Steve Smith / Flickr--CC

Missouri residents who have exhausted conventional disease cures will have access to experimental drugs under legislation signed on Monday by Gov. Jay Nixon.

The so-called Right to Try legislation gives patients and their doctors the ability to procure drugs that have yet to gain approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration if the pharmaceutical manufacturer agrees to provide the product.

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Heartland Health Monitor
9:59 am
Tue July 15, 2014

WIC Program Stresses Benefits Of Breastfeeding

Nearly half the babies born in Kansas are enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutritional Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), a long-standing federal initiative aimed at making sure low- and modest-income families have access to healthy foods.

“We serve about 49 percent of the babies born in the state,” says Martha Hagen, an administrator at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. “But we also have pregnant women, women who are six months postpartum and children under age 5.”

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Heartland Health Monitor
9:53 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Wesley Medical Center Seeks 'Baby-Friendly' Designation

In Kansas, no other hospital has done more to help and encourage new mothers to breastfeed their babies than Wesley Medical Center in Wichita.

It’s the only hospital in the state that’s in the final phase of a four-phase process for being designated a Baby-Friendly Facility by the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, a project of the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund.

RELATED: Advocates, Hospitals Unite To Raise Kansas Breastfeeding Rate

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Heartland Health Monitor
7:31 am
Tue July 15, 2014

US News & World Report Ranks KU Hospital In 12 Specialties

Good news for the University of Kansas Hospital: For the fifth year in a row, U.S. News & World Report has named it “The Best Hospital in Kansas City” and for the third year in a row “The Best Hospital in Kansas.”

Even better news for the hospital: For the first time, KU was listed in all 12 adult specialties pegged to mortality rates, reputation, safety and other factors.

“I’m not from Kansas, but I’m so proud to be here,” says KU Hospital President and CEO Bob Page. “I’m on cloud nine.”

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Heartland Health Monitor
6:07 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Four More Cases of Measles Confirmed in Wichita Area

Four new cases of measles have been confirmed in Sedgwick County, Kan.
Credit Zaldylmg / Flickr -- Creative Commons

Four more cases of measles in Sedgwick County, Kan., were reported over the weekend, bringing the number of confirmed cases in the area to six people: four adults, two of whom were not vaccinated, and two infants who were too young to be vaccinated.

The new cases bring the total number of confirmed cases in Kansas this year to nine. 

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Heartland Health Monitor
5:32 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Advocates, Hospitals Unite To Raise Kansas Breastfeeding Rate

Lori Peltier, a nurse at Stormont-Vail HealthCare, offers breastfeeding advice to parents of newborns, like Amanda Stice, left, with her 1-week-old daughter Rory. Stormont-Vail and other Kansas hospitals are working to adopt five principles that have been found to increase breastfeeding rates.
Credit Susie Fagan / KHI News Service

Across Kansas, breastfeeding advocates are encouraging hospitals to revamp how they handle moms, babies and visitors after childbirth.

Dozens of studies have shown that breastfed babies grow up healthier than those reared on formula or cow’s milk. Breastfed babies’ immune systems are stronger. They have fewer allergies, fewer ear infections and less diarrhea. Their incidents of asthma, Type 2 diabetes, obesity and sudden infant death syndrome are significantly reduced.

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Heartland Health Monitor
8:12 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Kansas Health Officials Hope To Contain Measles Outbreak

State and local health officials are trying to contain a measles outbreak that started in May in the Kansas City area, and has since spread to Wichita.

Six of those are in the Wichita area. The four newest cases are all linked to Sal's Japanese Steakhouse, in Wichita. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says an employee of the restaurant was connected to the outbreak in Kansas City. Two other employees also became infected later.

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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
4:09 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Hundreds Learn Mental Health First Aid At City-Wide Training Events

Warren and Eyvette Carter follow mental health first-aid lessons taught by Cadi Sanchez.
Credit Alex Smith / KCUR

At the Kauffman Foundation Conference Center on Thursday afternoon, Eyvette Carter struggled to carry on a basic conversation with her husband, Warren.

She was distracted in no small part by Karl Chaney whispering in her ear.

“Don’t trust him. Is he looking at you? Why would he want to talk to you?” Chaney said.

The group was taking part in an auditory hallucination simulation, designed to demonstrate the experience of a psychotic episode.

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Heartland Health Monitor
3:42 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Missouri Creates Unique Medical Classification: Assistant Physician

Assistant physicians will be allowed to practice primary care in rural and underserved parts of Missouri.
Credit Adrian Clark / Flickr--CC

 

Missouri now boasts a new category of medical licensee: assistant physicians.

Despite strong opposition from some healthcare groups, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon on Thursday signed into law a measure that would allow medical school graduates who have not completed residencies – or even obtained medical licenses — to practice medicine.

Nixon, however, issued signing statements warning of the need for additional safeguards to ensure that patients are not placed in jeopardy.

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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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Up To Date
6:00 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Delirium Tremens Changed Views On 19th Century Alcoholism

Imagine watching a group of men mutilate the body of your mother.  This is what poet Edgar Allan Poe experienced as a hallucination brought on by alcohol-induced delirium tremens, DT’s.  On this edition of Up to Date, Steve Kraske talks with historian Matthew Osborn to discover how this condition, first described in 1813, was the catalyst for changing how the medical profession diagnosed and treated the problems of alcohol abuse.

Guest:

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Heartland Health Monitor
10:41 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Brady Group Sues Over Kansas Law Voiding Federal Gun Rules

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence is challenging a Kansas law, titled the “Second Amendment Protection Act,” which exempts all guns manufactured in Kansas that haven’t left the state from federal gun control laws.
Credit Wikipedia -- CC

A national gun control group on Wednesday challenged the constitutionality of a Kansas law that nullifies federal gun laws in the state.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court in Kansas City, Kan., The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence alleges the law’s provisions are “unconstitutional on their face under long-standing, fundamental legal principles.”

“Neither the Kansas legislature, nor any state legislature, is empowered to declare federal law ‘invalid,’ or to criminalize the enforcement of federal law,” the complaint asserts.

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Central Standard
11:23 am
Tue July 8, 2014

The Strengths And Weaknesses Of Sibling Relationships

Kids can be really loving, but they can also fight like cats and dogs.
Credit Ken Wilcox / Flickr, Creative Commons

The bonds and battles between siblings are unique and long-lasting. For some people, their brother or sister is the most treasured person in their life; others can't spend an hour in the same room together. On Monday's Central Standard, we discuss the psychology of these lifelong relationships. 

Guest:

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Heartland Health Monitor
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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Up To Date
5:07 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Baby Boomers Hold The Highest Rate Of Suicide, Especially in Kansas

Trends in Suicide Rates* Among Persons Ages 25–64 Years, Both Sexes, by Age Group, United States, 1991–2009
Credit Centers for Disease Control

There are 76 million Americans who were born between the mid-40s and the mid-60s. The Baby Boomers have much of the wealth, much of the power, much of the responsibility in our nation today. But, they also now have the highest suicide rate among all age groups. Guest host Brian Ellison talks with Kansas City Star reporter Rick Montgomery about this alarming statistic and how the rate in Kansas has skyrocketed in the last few years.

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Heartland Health Monitor
3:48 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Rural Kansas Hospital Bolsters Recruitment By Enticing 'Missionary' Doctors

Kearny County Hospital CEO Benjamin Anderson has been to Zomba, Zimbabwe five times in the past four years doing medical mission work. He is pictured here with one of the children from the village.
Credit Tim Walter

Although 25 percent of Americans still live in rural areas, only 10 percent of doctors do, according to the National Rural Health Association, and finding physicians and other medical professionals willing to work in the hinterlands remains a serious, growing problem in Kansas and other parts of the United States.

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Heartland Health Monitor
3:27 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

KU Medical Center Tests Promising Alzheimer's Drug As Part Of Trial

Dr. Jeffrey Burns uses a PET scan to screen patients for an international drug trial.
Credit Stefani Fontana / KCUR

It’s a form of dementia that afflicts as many as 5.2 million people in the United States. It has no cure.

And as the population ages, the number of people afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease is expected to quadruple over the next 35 years, according to a study from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

That means that by 2050, 1 in 85 people will be living with the disease.

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Heartland Health Monitor
3:50 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Two Cases Of Rare Chikungunya Virus Diagnosed In Kansas

Two adults in Sedgwick County, Kan., in the south-central part of the state, have been diagnosed with a rare virus after returning from separate trips to the Caribbean.

The mosquito-borne chikungunya virus can result in joint pain and weakness that may last for years, but Kansas health officials say local transmission is highly unlikely.

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Heartland Health Monitor
5:01 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Medical Groups Clash Over Missouri Bill Creating New Class of Health Provider

Missouri legislators have approved a plan creating a new class of health provider to address the shortage of physicians in rural areas.
Credit Alex Smith / KCUR

Over a fifth of Missourians, especially those who live in rural areas, don't have adequate access to doctors, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Now the state Legislature has approved a plan to address the problem by creating a new kind of health occupation.

The first such plan in the country, it has pitted health providers against one another amid concerns about its effect on the health of patients and the dilution of professional standards.

Medically underserved

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Heartland Health Monitor
4:06 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

KU Hospital Ranks Among 50 Top-Grossing Nonprofit Hospitals

University of Kansas Hospital
Credit University of Kansas Hospital

The University of Kansas Hospital was one of the nation’s top-grossing nonprofit hospitals last year, according to a recent analysis.

The cost report data, assembled by the American Hospital Directory and cited in a recent article in Becker’s Hospital Review, showed the KU Hospital billing its public- and private-pay patients $3.96 billion in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2013.

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Heartland Health Monitor
8:57 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Surprise Halt To Kansas Health Homes Program Dismays Medicaid Providers

Kansas Medicaid providers with expansion plans ready to go after spending months and thousands of dollars preparing for the state’s new health homes initiative said they were “shocked” and “disappointed” that state officials abruptly chose to indefinitely delay much of the program’s implementation while giving the providers less than 24 hours' notice of the state’s decision to hit the pause button.

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Up to Date
4:02 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Sunscreen & Swimming: Staying Safe In And Out Of The Water

Credit State Library of Queensland

July is here and with it come picnics, fireworks, and trips to the local swimming hole. As the holiday weekend approaches, families throughout the Kansas City area are seeking relief from the heat at pools, lakes and rivers. But with a series of recent swimming-related accidents in the region, what should you know about summer safety?

On Tuesday's Up to Date we discuss staying safe in and out of the water - whether you're working on your tan or enjoying a dip.

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Heartland Health Monitor
12:45 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Walgreens Will Offer Medical Services In Collaboration With HCA Midwest

Credit Mike Mozart / Flickr -- Creative Commons

As part of a growing trend linking traditional healthcare providers with retailers, HCA Midwest Health System announced Tuesday that it will offer coordinated care at select Walgreens stores.

HCA, the biggest health system in Kansas City, said the Walgreens Healthcare Clinics will be staffed by nurse practitioners, who will provide care for minor illnesses and injuries, health testing and other non-emergency services.

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Heartland Health Monitor
11:44 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Where KanCare Meets Obamacare

Shelley Schultz, left, a residential client of Cottonwood, Inc. in Lawrence, talks with registered nurse Pat Turmes, who works at Cottonwood's clinic. Cottonwood's nurses sit down with clients on a regular basis for wellness checks.
Credit Mike Shields / KHI News Service

Gov. Sam Brownback once called Obamacare “an abomination,” and with the federal health reform law now four years on the books bad-mouthing it has become a conservative Republican ritual.

But this week, after more than a year of planning and preparation by Kansas and federal officials, the Affordable Care Act and Brownback’s own KanCare initiative begin coming together in ways that will make the two programs indistinguishable to as many as 72,000 Kansas Medicaid beneficiaries.

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Heartland Health Monitor
5:16 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

FAQ: High Court's Hobby Lobby Ruling Cuts Into Contraceptive Mandate

Kaiser Health News

In a 5-4 decision Monday, the Supreme Court allowed a key exemption to the health law’s contraception coverage requirements when it ruled that closely held, for-profit businesses could assert a religious objection to the Obama administration’s regulations. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about the case.

Q: What did the court’s ruling do?

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