Local Health Buzz

What's going on in Kansas: a mid-session legislative recap

Jessica HembreeBy Jessica Hembree, program and policy officer, Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City

The end of February marked Turnaround Day in the Kansas legislature, the date by which bills must move from their originating chamber to the other body in order to remain live.

The legislature will adjourn on April 4 and reconvene at the end of April for a veto session, leaving only a short window of time for movement.

Kansas Capitol in Topeka

Here are updates on just a few health-related bills under consideration:

KanCare Expansion

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1,200 Kansas Citians trained in Mental Health First Aid

By Mark Wiebe, director of public affairs, Wyandot Inc.

Last week, more than 180 people participated in the area’s second Mental Health First Aid ‘Day.’ Organized by the Metropolitan Council of Community Mental Health Centers (MetroCouncil), the event took place at five sites in the Kansas City region, including four courses offered at Penn Valley Community College.

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Health levy funds must continue to support safety net providers

Bridget McCandlessBy Bridget McCandless, HCF President/CEO

There has been much discussion of the proposed changes in the distribution of Kansas City’s health levy funds.

In 2013, 72 percent of voters approved the extension of a portion of the health levy. This fund generates about $50 million per year for the support of the safety net system. These organizations include Truman Medical Centers, Samuel Rogers Health Clinic, Swope Health Centers, Kansas City CARE Clinic, Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Northland Health Care Access. The city-run ambulance service is also included in this fund.

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The Homelessness Task Force prioritizes housing for those with the most need

By Jason Bohn, system change coordinator at MARC

“We housed Whiskey!” exclaimed Evie Craig, CEO and president of reStart, Inc., at a recent gathering of the Homelessness Task Force of Greater Kansas City (HTF). “Whiskey,” who has been on the streets for many years, fits the federal definition of chronically homeless. He recently added “frostbitten toes” to his long list of health concerns, and that list made him the most vulnerable person currently in the homeless and housing system, according to a newly implemented common intake and assessment process.

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Finding the courage to face the fear

By Bridgette Mavec, vice president of clinical services, Newhouse, Inc.

Kansas City is a long way from Wichita, Kan., which is why Anna came here after fleeing for her life.

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Exercising in cold weather not as miserable as we believe

By Andie Borchardt, HCF communications intern

Exercising during cold weather can seem like an impossible challenge. When it’s freezing cold outside and you have the option of going outside and exercising, or staying in your warm house, most will choose the second option.

Yet, studies show that exercising during cold weather has many benefits for both children and adults, and if done properly and safely, anybody can maintain their health despite the cold weather.

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Personal stories highlight need to expand Medicaid in Missouri

By Crystal Brigman Mahaney, statewide grassroots organizer, Missouri Health Care for All

“Health insurance has given me peace of mind and I don’t have to worry about whether I’ll be able to eat or afford health insurance” - Abby

Missouri Health Care for All (MHCFA) is a grassroots movement working to ensure every Missourian has access to quality, affordable health care regardless of where they live or how much money they make. The best way to show the importance of health care in real lives is through personal stories.

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HCF's Local Health Buzz Blog aims to discuss health and health policy issues that impact the uninsured and underserved in our service area. To submit a blog, please contact HCF Communications Officers, Jennifer Sykes, at jsykes@hcfgkc.org.

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About Bridget's Blog

Bridget McCandless

Bridget McCandless, MD, MBA, FACP, HCF President/CEO

Bridget McCandless is the President/CEO of the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City and is a Board Certified Internal Medicine Specialist with an interest in chronic disease management and poverty medicine. She shares her thoughts and perspectives on health and policy issues that impact the health of the community as a whole.

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