Two multiple homicide cases raise questions about adequacy of mental health system

Phil Cauthon

http://wellcommons.com/users/photos/2014/feb/03/268402/ Two multiple murder cases have been tied to men who were brought by police to the state hospital here because of their threatening behaviors but were released several days later after hospital officials deemed them no danger to themselves or others. The ensuing tragedies have left many wondering what ...

Harvard researcher will share findings on Medicaid expansion

Phil Cauthon

http://wellcommons.com/users/photos/2014/jan/27/268069/ Not much was known about the benefits of Medicaid relative to its cost until a kind of enrollment lottery in Oregon created an unusual opportunity for researchers. In 2008, Oregon officials decided to pare down a Medicaid waiting list but they only had enough money to cover a fraction ...

New data shows Obamacare enrollment surge in December

Phil Cauthon

http://wellcommons.com/users/photos/2014/jan/13/267319/ Enrollment in health insurance via the Obamacare marketplace surged in December, with 1.8 million people nationwide selecting a plan last month versus just 400,000 in October and November combined. In Kansas, according to federal officials: - 14,242 people had selected a marketplace plan; - 5,508 were steered to Medicaid ...

House speaker says Medicaid expansion is "up to the governor"

Phil Cauthon

http://wellcommons.com/users/photos/2014/jan/11/267201/ House Speaker Ray Merrick said it will be up to Gov. Sam Brownback to initiate discussions this year in the Legislature about possible Medicaid expansion. "That’s the governor’s decision and I’ll wait for him to decide what he’s going to do with it," Merrick said in a pre-session press ...

Lawrence woman grapples with Obamacare ‘coverage gap’

Phil Cauthon

http://wellcommons.com/users/photos/2014/jan/06/266945/ Kathleen Christian is a remarkably healthy 63-year-old. She has no chronic conditions and rarely sees the doctor for anything other than preventive care. Even so, she said she had been looking forward to getting health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, after having been without coverage since she was ...

KC-area man says KanCare coverage fully restored on Christmas Eve

Phil Cauthon

http://wellcommons.com/users/photos/2013/dec/25/266547/ Finn Bullers is a 49-year-old Prairie Village man who suffers from Muscular Dystrophy. Earlier this winter, Bullers testified several times about proposed cuts to his Medicaid service level before legislators charged with oversight of the transition to KanCare, the state's new managed care program overseen by three private insurance ...

KanCare safeguards for proposed DD carve-in outlined by Brownback officials

Phil Cauthon

http://wellcommons.com/users/photos/2013/dec/19/266348/ The head of the state agency that oversees programs for the developmentally disabled has outlined steps the state will take to assure payments aren't delayed to providers of DD services, if federal officials approve the state's request to include all DD services in KanCare starting next year. But advocates ...

Interim director takes reins at Headquarters Counseling

Phil Cauthon

http://wellcommons.com/users/photos/2013/dec/19/266347/ A new director has begun work at the statewide suicide hotline and counseling organization, Headquarters Counseling Center, but only on an interim basis. Headquarters volunteer Steve Lopes took charge the Lawrence-based suicide prevention center Monday in the wake of the sudden departure of longtime director Marcia Epstein. After heading ...

Review: Kansas reporter tells story of life-and-death fight with meningitis

Phil Cauthon

http://wellcommons.com/users/photos/2013/dec/03/265432/ In two years covering government for the Topeka Capital-Journal newspaper, Andy Marso has become a familiar presence at the Kansas Statehouse with a reputation for tenacity. Now, he's written a book that helps explain the source of his dogged determination. It's titled "Worth the Pain: How Meningitis Nearly Killed ...

Praeger explains why she declined White House meeting invitation

Phil Cauthon

http://wellcommons.com/users/photos/2013/nov/20/264906/ The head of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and two members met today with President Obama to discuss the troubled rollout of the Affordable Care Act. Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger, a moderate Republican who has generally supported the law, was invited but chose not to attend. NAIC ...

More Kansas children living in poverty, fewer receiving temporary aid

Phil Cauthon

http://wellcommons.com/users/photos/2013/nov/19/264819/ As the percentage of Kansas children living in poverty continues to climb, the number receiving welfare assistance is falling, according to a new report. In 2012, more than 23 percent of children lived in poverty — that's up from 21 percent the previous year, according to a report released ...

Suicide rate climbing in Kansas and U.S.

Phil Cauthon

http://wellcommons.com/users/photos/2013/nov/18/264796/ At least once a week, Kimberly Rowlands talks to someone contemplating suicide. “It’s a big chunk of what I do,” she said. Rowlands, 48, is what is called a mental health co-responder. When Olathe police respond to reports of someone threatening to kill himself or herself, she goes with ...

Kansas Medicaid program still lags nation in oral health care for kids

Phil Cauthon

http://wellcommons.com/users/photos/2013/nov/12/264496/ The Kansas Medicaid program seems to be catching up with the rest of the nation when it comes to dental care for children. In the past dozen years the state has doubled the number of Medicaid children receiving dental services, said Kamyar Nasseh, an economist from the American Dental ...

Kansas dental program for children on hold because of KanCare MCO

Phil Cauthon

http://wellcommons.com/users/photos/2013/nov/11/264397/ If state-run Medicaid had its problems, one part that was working well in Kansas was providing oral health care to kids through programs such as Kansas Cavity Free Kids, Head Start officials say. By the fifth year of the pilot program, which began in 2007, more than 7,000 children ...

Fact Check: ‘If you've got a health care plan that you like, you can keep it’

Phil Cauthon

http://wellcommons.com/users/photos/2013/oct/29/263805/ There are a lot claims circulating online and in the media about Obama's campaign pledge "If you've got a health care plan that you like, you can keep it" ... many of those claims miss the mark. So here's the lowdown: If you bought your insurance plan before Obamacare ...

Senator favors creating "new tier" of foster parents

Phil Cauthon

http://wellcommons.com/users/photos/2013/oct/29/263796/ A state senator says he’s working on a bill that would give some foster parents more say in the legal process for determining whether children in their care should be returned to their biological parents or put up for adoption. “It seems to me that foster parents are the ...

Website launched giving free access to wealth of health data

Phil Cauthon

http://wellcommons.com/users/photos/2013/oct/26/263665/ The Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City has rolled out a new website designed to be a comprehensive source of health information for a six-county region in Missouri and Kansas. The website [KCHealthMatters.org][1] has about 150 data indicators, and it allows users to analyze information down to the ...

The Kansas insurance marketplace that might have been

Phil Cauthon

http://wellcommons.com/users/photos/2013/oct/21/263403/ Perhaps it is a case of could-have-been. Two years ago, Gov. Sam Brownback [rejected a $31.5 million federal grant][1] to set up a health insurance marketplace tailored for Kansas — defaulting instead to the federally run exchange that was launched Oct. 1 but which continues to be beset by ...

Frustrated health insurance shoppers given another option

Phil Cauthon

http://wellcommons.com/users/photos/2013/oct/18/263256/ Kansans frustrated by their inability to shop for health insurance coverage on the federal marketplace website can now do much of the legwork on the state insurance department’s updated website, [InsureKS.org][1]. Late Friday afternoon the department upgraded the site first launched in early September so that consumers in any ...

Nearly 5.2M Americans fall in coverage gap in states not expanding Medicaid

Phil Cauthon

http://wellcommons.com/users/photos/2013/oct/16/263146/ **A new report finds some 78,000 Kansans are among those not poor enough for Medicaid but too poor to qualify for tax subsidies under the Affordable Care Act** About 78,000 Kansans are among 5.2 million poor, uninsured adults who will fall into the “coverage gap,” created by 26 states ...

Lawrence health department part of pilot project aiming to reduce billing errors

Phil Cauthon

http://wellcommons.com/users/photos/2013/oct/10/262930/ A new pilot program aimed at improving billing and collections at local health departments is beginning at a critical time — just as tens of thousands of Kansans are expected to get insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Currently, billing mistakes are costing many local health departments ...

New Health Insurance Marketplace launches this week

Phil Cauthon

http://wellcommons.com/users/photos/2013/sep/30/262302/ Will it come in with a big bang, dramatically and forever changing Americans’ health care? Or will it be something more like a whimper? Tomorrow is the much-anticipated first day that millions of Americans without affordable health insurance will be able to turn to [the new, online marketplace][1] that ...

15 Things To Know About Obamacare Marketplaces

Phil Cauthon

http://wellcommons.com/users/photos/2013/sep/28/262202/ Even with all the talk from Capitol Hill to Main Street about Obamacare, many people don't know what they have to do to comply with the law’s requirement that almost everyone have insurance beginning in 2014. For those who are uninsured, the key to satisfying that requirement could be ...

Safety-net officials urge Kansas Medicaid expansion

Phil Cauthon

http://wellcommons.com/users/photos/2013/sep/28/262201/ State lawmakers' resistance to expanding Medicaid “just makes no sense,” Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger said Thursday, speaking at a meeting of safety-net clinic officials. Many legislators, she said, “really don't understand” the consequences of not expanding Medicaid because there was “almost no discussion of the Affordable Care Act” ...

New type of intergenerational community being planned in Lawrence

Phil Cauthon

http://wellcommons.com/users/photos/2013/sep/16/261586/ With millions of Baby Boomers at or approaching retirement age, university and city leaders here are looking at building from the ground up a new type of “intergenerational” neighborhood that they say could become a model for other college towns along the Interstate 70 corridor in Kansas and Missouri ...

Getting the word out about the Obamacare insurance marketplace

Phil Cauthon

http://wellcommons.com/users/photos/2013/aug/19/260223/ Some 27,000 people in Wyandotte County have no health insurance. Health officials are hoping Obamacare and the new insurance marketplace expected to be operating soon in Kansas can help change that. “We assume quite a few (of the 27,000) are going to be able to qualify” for subsidies through ...

KanCare to adopt “health home” model for treating mentally ill

Phil Cauthon

http://wellcommons.com/users/photos/2013/jul/23/258844/ Kansas Medicaid officials are preparing for a new phase of KanCare that will target services to the seriously mentally ill. They will be using a “health home” model that appears to be producing good — though preliminary — results in other states and which will allow Kansas to draw ...

DD groups largely reconciled to KanCare carve-in

Phil Cauthon

http://wellcommons.com/users/photos/2013/jul/16/258514/ WICHITA — After opposing the move for nearly two years, many providers of long-term services for the developmentally disabled say they now are largely resigned to the state’s plan to fully include their system in KanCare. But that doesn’t mean all the questions and worries about the proposed changes ...

Food stamp work requirements complicate Farm Bill passage

Phil Cauthon

http://wellcommons.com/users/photos/2013/jul/08/258240/ WASHINGTON, D.C. — Kansas policymakers seem to be at the forefront of a controversial national movement to make it more difficult for people to qualify for a federal program that helps more than 46 million low-income Americans — including more than 300,000 Kansans — buy groceries. Under federal law, ...

Independent pharmacists push for KanCare contract enforcement

Phil Cauthon

http://wellcommons.com/users/photos/2013/jul/01/257915/ Gov. Sam Brownback’s Medicaid makeover has been putting a financial squeeze on small Kansas pharmacists and spokespersons for the hometown druggists are calling for the administration to enforce the terms of its contracts with the three KanCare managed care companies. “I think the simple answer is for the State ...

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