Legislators Express Support for KCMO Life Sciences Sales Tax


KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Members of the Jackson County Legislature on Monday indicated they would like to see some changes to a plan that would establish a taxpayer-supported medical institute on Hospital Hill.

But Theresa Garza Ruiz, vice chairman of the Legislature, said she heard no objections from her colleagues to putting the question before the electorate.

“I didn’t hear any opposition to letting voters decide,” she said. Ruiz chaired Monday’s meeting with the absence of Chairman Greg Grounds.

Nixon Vetoes Tax Measure

With Timothy Wolfe

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Calling it an “ill-conceived, fiscally irresponsible experiment,” Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon on Wednesday vetoed tax-cut legislation approved by the General Assembly.

He announced his decision at the Henry W. Bloch School of Management at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, joined by higher education officials, local business leaders, advocates for seniors and children and members of area school boards.

Missouri Lawmakers Play Tug-of-War with First Steps Funding


KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Just a few months shy of her third birthday, Sienna Diffenderfer has a lot of help in coping with cerebral palsy, epilepsy and visual impairment.

Staff members at the Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired (CCVI), at 3101 Main St., are helping the Belton, Mo., toddler with physical therapy and development of a variety of skills, including speaking and eating.

The Diffenderfer household pays $30 a month for the services, which covers a fraction of the actual costs.

Health Levy Passes, Extended for 9 Years


KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Northland voters did a flip-flop in helping to renew a health levy in Tuesday’s municipal election.

When the 22-cent property tax first gained approval eight years ago, it won on the strength of a 62 percent majority among voters south of the Missouri River. It only garnered 40 percent approval in the two counties north of the river, Platte and Clay.

This time around, 60 percent of Northland voters gave approval while the margin of victory south of the river increased to 82 percent.

Bill Before General Assembly Would Advance Oral Health Care, Supporters Say


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Proposed legislation in the Missouri General Assembly could help draw direly needed oral health funding to the state, if approved, according to supporters of the measure.

The proposed legislation, House Bill 613, would establish a state dental director position within the Department of Health and Senior Services.

Kansas City Council to Vote on Health Tax Renewal Inclusion on Ballot


KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Discussion about the costs of providing unreimbursed medical care to low-income patients tends to focus on hospitals and clinics.

But the debate over renewal of a city health tax has highlighted the fact that unpaid bills and low Medicaid reimbursements burden ambulance services, too.

“I think ambulance service throughout the country is often overlooked,” said Kansas City Councilman John Sharp, “both as an essential public safety service and as a health safety-net provider.”

Lawmakers and Kansas Budget Woes Could Disappoint Some Special Interest Groups


PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. – One of the first slides Duane Goossen presented said simply: “The Budget – trouble ahead.”

And then, for the next 90 minutes, the vice president for fiscal and health policy at the Kansas Health Institute outlined why the upcoming session of the Kansas Legislature could disappoint interest groups pushing for spending on children and health care for low income residents.

Jackson County Legislature Approves $1.6 Million in Capital Improvements for Truman Medical Centers


KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Thanks to a financial maneuver earlier this year, Jackson County has approved $1.6 million for capital improvements at Truman Medical Centers.

The funding is included in the roughly $300.3 million county budget for next year, which the Jackson County Legislature approved Monday.

One high priority for Truman is upgrades to the physical plant at its Lakewood medical center in eastern Kansas City, Mo., according to chief executive John Bluford.

Health Care Agencies Encouraged to Make Advocacy a Core Activity


KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Health care nonprofits can boost their effectiveness by telling their stories to the community and by playing a role in the public policy arena, local safety-net officials said Tuesday.

In other words, they told about 40 of their peers, agencies should not treat advocacy as a back-burner objective that only serves to drain time and energy from providing direct services.

In fact, said Mary Lou Jaramillo — chief executive of El Centro, which works to strengthen Hispanic families in Wyandotte and Johnson counties — outreach is at the core of what her agency does.

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