hospitals

WSU Professor Champions Legislation Ensuring Kansas Hospitals Have Qualified Interpreters

Feb 22, 2021
Khanh Nguyen / The Sunflower

When Veronica Mireles’ son complained he was in severe abdominal pain, she rushed him to a Wichita emergency room. No interpreter was provided for the Spanish-speaking family, and the teenager was told he may have contracted a sexually transmitted disease. His doctor sent him home.

Sometimes, Becky Angell doesn’t even realize she’s started crying.

She’s been a nurse for seven years, and worked in an intensive care unit in Olathe for the past two. She loves her job and is used to seeing people die.

But the past months of caring for one desperately ill COVID-19 patient after another have left her overwhelmed and in tears at the dinner table and on the drive home from work.

From Kaiser Health News

Keely Connolly thought she would be safe once the ambulance arrived at Hutchinson Regional Medical Center in Kansas.

She was having difficulty breathing because she’d had to miss a kidney dialysis treatment a few days earlier for lack of child care. Her potassium was dangerously high, putting her at risk of a heart attack. But she trusted she would be fine once she was admitted and dialysis was begun.

Carlos Moreno / KCUR

A skin biopsy at Lawrence Memorial Hospital goes for anywhere from $95 to $600. It all depends on who receives the bill. Removing a skin lesion, anywhere from about $120 to $920.

Now, because hospitals had to release millions of previously secret prices on Jan. 1, the public can see just how common price differences like these are.


cdc.gov

TOPEKA — Doses from Kansas’ first shipment of a COVID-19 vaccine were arriving Thursday in rural Kansas for hospitals to administer to health care workers, though the state expects its second shipment to be smaller than anticipated.

Courtesy

When we last talked with Lynn Hutchinson, a nurse working the COVID-19 intensive care unit at Ascension Via Christi St. Francis, it was July, and Sedgwick County was in the middle of its first big coronavirus wave.

"I think the last time I talked to you, I remember saying I wish I could get on my roof and yell, 'Wear your mask!'" Hutchinson recalled.

"Well, I apparently didn't yell loud enough."

The Kansas National Guard conducted 28,000 COVID-19 tests and distributed almost 40,000 cases of protective masks, gloves and gowns. Guardsmen have also packaged a staggering 8 million meals. But even as hospitals fill with COVID-19 patients and deaths mount, the guard's pandemic mission is going the other direction.

Col. Michael Venerdi, director of Joint Staff for the Kansas National Guard, says the pandemic mission has stretched throughout most of the year.

Two major regional hospital networks have announced they’ve raised their minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Stormont Vail Health in Topeka said its wage hike, which affects nearly 900 of its more than 5,000 employees, took effect last week.

And Saint Luke’s Health System in Kansas City said its wage increase took effect on Nov. 8. Nearly 2,000 of the health system’s more than 12,000 employees were affected.

The increases come as hospitals fight staff shortages while their workers deal with the stress and increased workloads caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hans Pennink / Associated Press/File photo

TOPEKA — Kansas on Wednesday reported spikes in COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations as dozens of nursing homes experienced outbreaks and the state prepared to see that health care workers received the first available vaccines.

Kansas hospitals are turning away more than 100 transfer patients a month as smaller, local hospitals continue filling up at an alarming rate.

In May, at the beginning of the pandemic, the University of Kansas Health System denied 40 transfers and in October it was up to 140, said Jill Chadwick, a KU spokeswoman.

"November was expected to trend higher," she said, adding that those numbers are not yet available.

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