Posts tagged with Health Care

The New Era of Collaboration

Health Care Access Clinic has been pleased to work alongside 10 peer non-profit organizations over the past 6 months to talk about how to do business more collaboratively. Instigated by United Way's new model of community impact and building on the already important outcomes results, these agency directors got a jump start on the process that must be in place a year from now under the UW Health Goal. LOTS of hours of meetings and many difficult conversations have already led to more trust and communication between agencies. Two joint grant applications to United Way were turn in for this funding cycle as a result of this work. The next 12 months will be laboring as well, developing shared objectives and stronger alliances, but the vision and vehicle has been established thanks to this new structure. Hats off to our peers for their investment in this important step forward for the betterment of the clients we serve: Visiting Nurses Association, Douglas County Dental Clinic, Douglas County AIDS Project, GaDuGi Safe Center, Trinity In-Home Care, Meals on Wheels, Independence Inc., Lawrence Community Shelter, CASA, and Headquarters.

One of the many Health Goal work group meetings

One of the many Health Goal work group meetings by Executive Director

After another meeting. Kelly Evans, Kim Cullis, Nikki White, Sara Jane Russell, Marcia Epstein, Stacey Hunter Schwartz, Jane Blocher (who gracefully moved to another work group), Julie Branstrom, Elena Ivanov, and Diana Fredrick.

After another meeting. Kelly Evans, Kim Cullis, Nikki White, Sara Jane Russell, Marcia Epstein, Stacey Hunter Schwartz, Jane Blocher (who gracefully moved to another work group), Julie Branstrom, Elena Ivanov, and Diana Fredrick.

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Kansas officials ponder next health care step

TOPEKA (AP) — Topeka — Kansas officials are considering their next steps to implement the federal health care law now that the presidential election has been decided and deadlines are looming.

The state has until Nov. 16 to tell the federal government whether it wants to be a partner in creating an online health insurance marketplace. Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger’s office is preparing a partnership application and will seek grant money to implement the exchange.

But to do so, Praeger, a moderate Republican, must get a letter of support for the state’s partnership from Gov. Sam Brownback, a conservative Republican who is opposed to the health care law. The two are expected to meet this week to discuss the letter and application.

Both are elected officials and have been at odds over how the state should proceed in implementing the law. Linda Sheppard, project manager for implementing the law, said Praeger’s staff hadn’t spoken with the governor about what is included in the state’s application and didn’t speculate on the chances of his approval.

“He has been very consistent that he has not wanted to talk about this and not willing to look at these issues until after the election,” Sheppard said.

Brownback delayed the state’s decisions hoping that a Mitt Romney victory would lead to a reprieve for states. But with President Barack Obama’s victory Tuesday night and a ruling this summer by the U.S. Supreme Court upholding the law, chances of the law’s repeal vanished.

The governor’s spokeswoman, Sherriene Jones Sontag, declined to speculate whether Brownback would sign off on the insurance department’s application to partner with the federal exchange.

The federal health care law was a factor in Tuesday’s legislative election results, following the trend set in 2010 when Brownback was elected and large numbers of conservative Republicans were elected to the Legislature. Nearly all ran on the platform of opposing the health care law over concerns that it was an unconstitutional intrusion on state and individual rights.

Those victories were followed by more wins by conservatives in the August primary and on Tuesday, which marked defeats of moderate Senate Republican incumbents who opposed a measure to amend the Kansas Constitution granting so-called health care freedom choices to residents.

“The people of Kansas have spoken loudly three times, they want us to pursue Kansas solutions,” Jones-Sontag said. “We are discussing options and alternatives with like-minded states and with our legislative partners in Kansas.”

Sheppard said the state was applying to fill the roles of plan management and consumer assistance. She said because of timelines to implement the law that Kansas was unable to set up its own exchange. The insurance department would have to receive legislative approval to spend any federal dollars on the exchange partnership.

Pressure from the conservative Republicans last year prompted Brownback to reject $31.5 million in federal funds to help build the computer infrastructure necessary for an exchange.

States must have the exchanges in place and approve a basket of qualified plans that would be available for consumers to purchase that meet minimum federal guidelines.

In addition to the exchanges, the federal health care law says that in 2017, states must pick up 5 percent of the cost of the Medicaid expansion. The figure grows to 10 percent by 2020. In the past, states generally have been required to pick up about 40 percent of the cost, and in Kansas, the state’s share for its $2.9 billion-a-year program is almost $1.2 billion.

Some state officials also worry that Kansas could face substantial new costs if it agrees to the Medicaid expansion because people who are now eligible without the expansion but not participating in the program also could seek coverage. That issue was noted by a Congressional Budget Office report in July.

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Same-day Appointments Available!

Thanks to our additional staff, more same-day (walk-in) appointments are available. Call to get in today 841-5760 for anything from colds and flu to getting control of a chronic disease like diabetes or high blood pressure. Open til 7:30pm Tuesday and Thursday nights.


Resources for the Medically Underserved


New Health Care Information Released by the Government

For details of the new health care reform plan here's an AP article about "the health overhaul law" and the enforcement of the 'patients bill of rights.' Hopefully this sheds a bit of light on the confusion about health care reform.