health care

Registered nurses at 15 hospitals owned by the nation's largest for-profit hospital chain — including Research Medical Center and Menorah Medical Center — have voted to authorize a strike if contract negotiations remain at an impasse.

The 15 hospitals in Missouri, Kansas, Florida, Texas and Nevada are owned by HCA Healthcare Inc. and employ about 7,000 RNs affiliated with the National Nurses Organizing Committee, or NNOC.

A contract dispute that could disrupt the health care of more than 400,000 Kansans enrolled in the state’s privatized Medicaid program has landed in court.

Amerigroup, one of three companies that since 2013 has managed the delivery of care to low-income, elderly and disabled through KanCare, is contesting a recent decision by state officials to replace it with Aetna when new contracts take effect in January.

Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer says he will continue to push for a Medicaid work requirement despite a recent court order blocking a similar policy in Kentucky.

Last week, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg, an Obama appointee in the District of Columbia, questioned whether the Trump administration had adequately considered the consequences of Kentucky’s work requirement before reversing longstanding federal policy to approve it.

A quarter of Kansas working-age adults and a third of the state’s children live in households dealing with medical debt.

That’s one of the takeaways from a new report commissioned by five Kansas and Missouri health foundations, believed to be the largest survey to date of health consumers in the two states.

In Kansas, about 2,600 adults and minors were included. The survey answers point to problems with access to dental and mental health care, among other services.

Five-year-old Ridley Fitzmorris sits at a picnic table in his backyard in Lawrence, one leg dangling and the other tucked beneath him. His eyes are focused on a row of Hot Wheels that his therapist asked him to count.

“One, two, three,” he says in a whisper, his finger hovering over each toy car until he reaches the last one. Turning to an iPad that he uses to communicate, he clicks an icon. “Eight,” the computerized voice announces.

“Good job!” cooes therapist Ashley Estrada, a specialist in treatment for children with autism. “You did it by yourself."

Connor Tarter / flickr Creative Commons

Demand for Obamacare coverage in Kansas appears strong ahead of Friday's sign-up deadline. Despite that, enrollment through the health insurance marketplace is expected to drop.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW

Wichita’s Mayflower Clinic has moved to a new downtown location.

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

State Medicaid officials on Friday formally started the process of renewing KanCare, the privatized Medicaid program launched by Republican Gov. Sam Brownback in 2013.

The two state agencies that oversee the private contractors that manage the program released a draft of the plan they intend to submit for federal approval after a public comment period that runs through November.

Mabel Lamour/Belma/ReineMab / flickr Creative Commons

Federal regulators have ordered Via Christi Health in Wichita to suspend a senior care program because of "severe" deficiencies.

The program, Via Christi HOPE, is designed to help senior citizens in Sedgwick County stay in their homes by offering a complete health care plan involving primary care, specialists and nurses.

The Joplin Globe reports the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said program should not enroll new clients because it was not providing participants with medically necessary services.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas is in a familiar position. He’s one of several Republican senators under pressure to vote for the latest Obamacare repeal bill. However, Moran remains undecided.

Moran, who surprised many by opposing some earlier Obamacare repeal bills and supporting others, says he’s studying the so-called Graham-Cassidy amendment.

He says he still favors repeal but wants to know more about the new bill.

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