Justice Department may probe profit over quality care

KanCare draws ‘deep concern’ from National Council on Disability

By FINN M. BULLERS
Freelance writer/editor

TOPEKA, Kan. — Big news on the Kansas managed care front could reshape the health care landscape and growing national debate on the merits of privatized, for-profit care.

In a Dec. 13 letter from the National Council on Disability, several significant and non-binding recommendations to improve the state’s for-profit Medicaid plan — also known as KanCare — were made to the President and Congress.

“It’s clear to NCD that many unresolved issues remain for people with disabilities” in Kansas, the report said. “The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services should conduct an oversight review of the current administration of KanCare.” Continue reading

Advocacy is tedious, patient and lonely

But every once in a while you win: Ten tips to success

By FINN M. BULLERS
Freelance writer/editor

Instant gratification is a trait not often found in the souls of the good people who advocate for making the lives of people with disabilities better.

Fellow advocates, you know who you are.

All have embraced the hare-and-tortoise pace of change early in their disability civil-rights’ careers. And know that steady wins the race.

Advocacy is behind-the-scenes, unheralded, long-hours work that generally doesn’t get you on the evening news. It’s early morning trips to the state capitol or cramped flights to D.C. to meet with congressional leaders whose only goal is to get a picture with a person in a wheelchair. Continue reading

Kansas governor plays God with disabled

‘That’s just the way the world works,’ state says

By FINN M. BULLERS
Freelance writer/editor

What’s happening in Kansas could be Anywhere, USA.

Healthcare costs are crazy high. The United State quality of care ranks below some developing countries, yet opinion polls reflect that we perceive our quality of care to be No. 1.

Where’s the disconnect?

Look no further than the Sunflower State to reflect our nation’s healthcare hypocrisy, misdirected priorities and outright Orwellian logic that defies moderate politics once rooted in heartland America. Continue reading

KanCare: ‘It’s a mess.’

Health care aid for low-income Kansans
not ready for prime time

By FINN M. BULLERS
Freelance writer/editor

“Ad Astra Per Aspera,” so the state motto of Kansas goes — “To the Stars through Difficulties.”

Most certainly, KanCare recipients have yet to reach “the stars” of low-income state health care.

But it seems the “difficulties” part of the state motto for me and thousands of Kansans has come with dump-truck loads of petty politics — crushing our faith in the gubernatorial leadership of Kansas. Continue reading

Brownback to receive special invitation today at KanCare meeting

Dear Gov. Brownback, KanCare officials:

My wife and I cordially invite you to pull an eight-hour care shift in our home

Madame chairwoman, KanCare oversight committee members and distinguished guests, I come before you as a KanCare recipient, advocate for people with disabilities and policy adviser for the Greater Kansas City Spinal Cord Injury Association.

I would like to thank the oversight committee for the hard work facing the 11 members in helping to shape a managed-care system that is fair, balanced and fiscally responsible for thousands of Kansans like me.

As I have stated in my Oct. 7 testimony before this committee, under new managed-care rules in Kansas, I face a 76 percent drop in care, a move three of my doctors — primary care physician, MDA doctor and respiratory doctor — say is wildly unrealistic and a move my wife says will force her to file for divorce. Reductions in hours would also cause me to be forced to seek care in an institution.

Continue reading

Another view…

David Hudnall, with The Pitch, offers his views about Kansas, its politics, and the results of the state’s political climate.

The Pitch‘s guide to Kansas’ shift from far right to very wrong

by David Hudnall

Suicides are up in Kansas — way up.

An October report from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment revealed that 505 Kansans killed themselves in 2012, a startling 31.5 percent jump from the 384 suicides committed in 2011.

That sobering increase can be attributed, in part, to ripple effects from the recession. Suicide numbers tend to climb in economically challenging times.

But the spike also correlates to state policy. From 2009 to 2012, Kansas cut 12.4 percent from its mental-health budget — the ninth-largest decrease in the nation over that period. In Sedgwick County, where 88 people took their lives in 2012, the community mental-health center has lost more than half its state funding since 2009.

To read the full article, click here.

 

Nine Olathe teachers are semifinalists for statewide awards

A district committee has chosen nine highly qualified educators as semifinalists in two statewide award programs. The educators are being considered as district nominees for the 2014 Kansas Teacher of the Year Award and the 2015 Emporia State University Master Teacher Award.

Elementary Kansas Teacher of the Year semifinalists: Lyndsay Cast, fifth-grade teacher at Bentwood Elementary School; Gayla Posch, fourth-grade teacher at Tomahawk Elementary School; and Betsy Prestridge, fourth-grade teacher at Countryside Elementary School. Continue reading

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