Category Archives: Health Care

CHC Update From Krista Postai

Krista Postai. Submitted.

Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas is moving forward on the renovation of the former Price Chopper building on South Main.

“We are waiting on (City of Fort Scott) building permits before moving forward on the Price Chopper building, so there is nothing major to report,” CEO and President of CHC/SEK Krista Postai, said. “Apparently, the engineer is on vacation.”

Update later in the day from Postai: “We were issued a temporary 90-day-permit yesterday and we’re back to work,” she said.

The land given CHC on the west side of the former Mercy building, which they had made plans to build a new facility on, is being given back to Bourbon County who owns the building.

“Regarding the land,” she said. “Which is basically the large parking lot behind the hospital plus the helipad, we were told by the county, it would be needed by whoever opted to assume responsibility for the hospital. Our Board agreed to exchange the land, which actually cost us about $125,000 in legal and platting fees, for our remaining rent on our clinic in the hospital. We do understand that was approved by the county commission and they would be in touch with us to finalize the agreement.”

“Once we have the transfer formalized, it will go to the CHC/SEK Board for final approval, Postai said. “It was suggested to us that there is another potential group interested in reopening the hospital now that Noble has moved on.”

Commissioner Beth Comment on The Former Mercy Building

Bourbon County Commissioner Clifton Beth said the county is “still trying to engage with several entities to do something with the building. We’ve been doing this for two years. I want to make sure we have an emergency room in Bourbon County and sustainable health care.”

Recent Mammogram Walk-In

“We had a record number of women get a mammogram at our Walk-In event from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on July 27th in Ft. Scott,” she said. “Ninety-one women over age 40  ‘walked in’ and received a 3D mammogram regardless of ability to pay. CHC/SEK continued the effort August 2 and 3rd at their Pittsburg clinic. The goal is to increase the number of women who have had mammograms in southeast Kansas – which falls far below the state and national averages.”

Jobs at CHC

The following are the current list of job openings in Fort Scott for CHC:

 

Patients for Profit

Sarah Jane Tribble did some extensive stories of the closing of Mercy Hospital Fort Scott in 2018.

This feature is about Noble Health, which had shown interest in coming to Fort Scott to reopen a hospital. This article was submitted to fortscott.biz

Following this article is a link to a National Public Radio story on rural hospital closings.Buy and Bust: Collapse of Private Equity-Backed Rural Hospitals Mired Employees in Medical Bills

by Sarah Jane Tribble, Kaiser News, August 16, 2022

The first unexpected bill arrived in December, just weeks before Tara Lovell’s husband of 40 years died from bladder cancer.

Lovell worked as an ultrasound technologist at the local Audrain Community Hospital, in Mexico, Missouri, and was paying more than $400 a month for health insurance through her job. The town’s struggling hospital, the sole health care provider and major employer, had changed ownership in recent years, selling in March 2021 to Noble Health, a private equity-backed startup whose managers had never run a hospital.

One year later, facing staggering debt and a pile of lawsuits, Noble closed the hospital and another one it owned in neighboring Callaway County. It is now the focus of at least two federal investigations.

As the hospitals collapsed, Lovell and the facilities’ doctors, nurses, and patients saw evidence that the new owners were skimping on services — failing to pay for and stock surgical supplies and drugs. For example, in Callaway, state inspectors deemed conditions in the hospital to be endangering patients. What was less apparent, former workers said, was that Noble had also stopped paying for employee health, dental, vision, and life insurance benefits. They were unknowingly uninsured.

Lovell and others said they realized — after comparing notes about canceled dental appointments, out-of-pocket costs for glasses, and surprise bills — that Noble had taken money from their paychecks for benefits but failed to pay for coverage.

Lovell took time off to care for her husband in June 2021 and requested full-time leave in August. She retired Dec. 31, 2021, but paid Noble for insurance until March 2022.

“None of us knew until it was too late,” Lovell said. She said she faces $250,000 to $300,000 in medical bills from the last months of her husband’s life. “All they had to do was tell us that we didn’t have insurance.”

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration, after receiving complaints from Lovell and other employees about surprise medical bills and the loss of life insurance benefits, launched an investigation in early March, according to a DOL letter sent to the company and obtained by KHN. Scott Allen, an agency spokesperson, declined to comment or confirm the investigation.

The agency confirmed a second investigation by a different division, Wage and Hour, into Noble’s management of its Audrain hospital and clinic. DOL spokesperson Edwin Nieves did not offer details because “it could jeopardize an investigation.” The inquiries could take more than a year and could result in penalties and payment of back benefits and wages, as required by federal law. The cases could also be referred to the U.S. Justice Department for criminal inquiries.

Noble closed the hospitals in late March, citing on social media “a technology issue” and a need to “restructure their operations.” Interviews with former employees and a KHN review of Noble documents and internal communications offer a portrait of a business in a free fall. Employees were shorted their pay and benefits. Vendors sued over more than $4 million in unpaid bills, lawsuits show. And as its crisis deepened, Noble borrowed nearly $10 million in risky loans with interest rates from 25% to 50%, according to former employees with knowledge of the company’s finances.

No Noble executive responded to requests for interviews or to specific questions.

Why Noble was in such dire straits is unclear: The company, which acquired both hospitals during the pandemic, accepted nearly $20 million in federal covid-19 relief funds, including $4.8 million from paycheck protection programs, according to public records.

On April 20, Noble sold both hospitals — for $2 — to Texas-based Platinum Neighbors, which assumed all liabilities, according to the sales agreement. The day before, Platinum Health Systems President Cory Countryman, in a sharp blue suit, promised to do right by employees as they gathered in the Audrain hospital cafeteria, most wearing jeans and sneakers, according to a video shared with KHN.

“Several things are going to be on the priority list for us. Get everybody paid up to where they should be. That’s you guys,” Countryman said. He also said the company would reopen the hospitals. Months later, neither has happened.

Countryman did not respond to a reporter’s questions for this article.

Amy O’Brien, chief executive of the Audrain hospital, said “the doctors and staff are hanging in here with us and really fighting for the community and the patients they serve.” Platinum hopes to open Audrain in September, O’Brien said. She declined to comment on Callaway.

Rural hospital closures are not unusual — 140 have failed nationwide since 2010. Most often, they slowly fade away because payments for the typical patient base — people who are uninsured or covered by low-paying government programs — can no longer sustain modern care.

But Lovell said Noble’s methods felt particularly “evil.” At 64 years old, she lost her husband and left her job. Now Lovell fears the unpaid medical bills will jeopardize her financial security: “I can’t believe they would do this to human beings.”

‘Where Did All the Money Go?’

Noble’s finances were buckling by the time Lovell and others said they realized they were uninsured.

Noble was launched in late 2019 by venture capital and private-equity firm Nueterra Capital. Nueterra bought the Callaway County hospital in 2014 before handing over management to Noble in December 2019. Noble later bought Callaway Community Hospital and then Audrain. Nueterra and Noble shared office space in Leawood, a suburb south of Kansas City, Kansas, according to former employees and public records.

A Missouri state filing lists Noble’s directors as Nueterra Chairman Daniel Tasset and Donald R. Peterson. Its executives included Tom Carter and, eventually, William A. “Drew” Solomon. In a March email to KHN, Peterson said they created the company to “save a rural hospital that was about to close.”

Tasset didn’t respond to requests for comment, and Peterson said he was unavailable for an interview.

Although the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services vets such purchases, these seemed less-than-ideal buyers: None had experience running a hospital, and Peterson had been accused of Medicare fraud. Peterson settled that case without admitting wrongdoing and agreed to be excluded for five years from Medicare, Medicaid, and all other federal health care programs, according to the U.S. Health and Human Services Department’s Office of Inspector General.

More than a dozen lawsuits were filed in Missouri courts alleging that Noble owed money to vendors and contractors that provided services including nursing, landscaping, food, and covid testing. In nearly half, judgments have been entered against Noble, many of them for “failing to appear.”

Shortly after Noble took over the Audrain hospital, Kristy Melton, the facility’s blood bank supervisor, received an email from its blood supplier saying it hadn’t been paid for several months. Patient care deteriorated: The Callaway hospital was considered so “at risk” that state health department inspectors removed its patients.

Melton, 63, had worked at the Audrain hospital for nearly 25 years. As of July, neither Noble nor Platinum had fully paid her wages, she said. Melton and others are relying on unemployment benefits, she said, adding that hers are set to end in September.

In late June, Platinum requested that Missouri officials extend a deadline to reopen the hospitals to September.

Whether Platinum, a private company, realized the extent of the liabilities, or debt, it accepted when purchasing Noble is unclear.

One former high-level Noble employee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of fear of litigation, estimated that Noble’s debt totaled $45 million to $50 million, including what was owed to vendors and on more than a dozen high-interest loans from multiple lenders.

Noble acquired its first high-interest loan in August 2021, the employee said, and received the final one — at 48% interest — the month before the hospitals closed.

“Where did all the money go for the taxes and benefits?” the employee said in an interview. “I’d get a forensic auditor in there.”

One lender, Itria Ventures, which offers financing to businesses, is a subsidiary of Biz2Credit, a New York-based online lender. In a lawsuit filed in April, Itria alleges that Noble failed to pay on three loans it took out in January 2022.

Itria’s agreements work much the same way as payday loans do: Noble borrowed nearly $2 million, with interest rates of 25%, promising to pay it off within seven months. Itria expected weekly installments of $67,000. Noble stopped paying in early March, according to the lawsuit. Noble has not responded to Itria’s claims, but court records show it has asked for more time to do so.

‘I Didn’t Have Real Insurance’

In early April, Noble Health emailed employees, saying “we can’t tell you how sorry we are that you’re in this situation” and assuring them that their medical, dental, and vision coverage would remain in place “at least through April 30, 2022.”

By then, hospital workers knew better. Radiology technician Jana Wolthuis had taken screenshots showing that her dental and vision coverage was “terminated as of 1/31/2022.” Later, the insurer would ask Wolthuis to help claw back $240.40 it “overpaid” the dentist.

The blood bank’s Melton was calling the insurer before every appointment. She had already paid more than $1,400 for dental bills that weren’t covered. “I was extremely gun-shy,” she said, noting that she had an insurance card but “I didn’t have real insurance.”

In March 2022, the Health Cooperative of Missouri, which had been hired in January as Noble’s insurance broker, detailed the missing payments to Noble’s leadership team in a presentation. As of March 16, Noble owed more than $307,000 in outstanding premiums to Principal, Humana, HealthEZ, and the Hartford.

Over the past 11 weeks all of the employee benefits plans have been terminated or have had potential termination for lack of payment,” the presentation deck stated, adding that Noble was the broker’s only client that did not have an automatic electronic withdrawal.

This had come up earlier, too. In 2021, Meritain administered Noble’s self-insured benefits plan, which meant it was paid a fee to process claims for hospital employees’ medical, dental, and vision insurance. Noble was supposed to pay the fee and fund the plan.

Peterson, Noble’s executive chairman, had not approved the automatic bank withdrawals for Meritain’s administration fees, according to a Noble email shared with KHN. When sent forms to set up electronic withdrawals, the email shows, Peterson passed the message on to others, writing: “I hope you guys are handling this. — Don.”

The email showed Meritain could not access funds to pay its fees for Audrain hospital since Noble bought it in March 2021. Callaway fees had not been paid in July and August 2021.

Noble’s Meritain account appears to be a focus of the Labor Department’s employee benefit investigation, according to the March 2 letter sent to Solomon. Federal investigator Casey Branning requested documents and interviews with Noble leaders and indicated the agency would examine the Noble People Employee Benefit Plan, the company’s human resource subsidiary. Solomon could not be reached for comment.

The investigator’s eight-page letter asked for agreements, payroll records, and more. One bulleted item: copies of payments to Meritain. Another was for “any and all correspondence with employees regarding the Plan and any failure to fund claims.”

Tara Lovell’s husband, Donald, the cancer patient, was not the only former employee or family member to suffer:

The family of Michael Batty, 63, a hospital janitor who had an aortic aneurysm at work in January 2022, said they had no idea his life insurance had been terminated for nonpayment. His daughter, Stephanie Hinnah, was the beneficiary of the policy — with an expected payout of $60,000. She was initially told she wouldn’t get a cent because the policy had lapsed before her father’s death.

Hinnah, who endured months of stress, said her father would not have wanted to leave his daughter in debt. Unfortunately, she said, “my dad doesn’t really have a voice to speak about it.”

To pay for her father’s cremation, Hinnah raised $700 by selling Batty’s belongings in a garage sale. She said she owed the funeral home about $8,000. She filed an appeal to the Hartford, and months passed. In late July, after KHN contacted the Hartford, a spokesperson, Suzanne Barlyn, told KHN that “after further review” the insurer would pay the benefits.

KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operating programs at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization providing information on health issues to the nation.

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This story can be republished for free (details).

KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. @kff.org.

 

 

This is an NPR story also about rural hospitals in financial trouble:

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2022/08/16/1116960419/buy-a-rural-hospital-for-100-investors-pick-up-struggling-institutions-for-pennies

Local Health Officer on COVID-19 and Polio

Rebecca Johnson, SEKMCHD Director.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment just announced to local health agencies that they will be adopting the CDC’s “public guidance” for COVID-19, according to Becky Johnson, Southeast Kansas Multi-County Health Department Administrator/SEK Local Health Officer.

“They’re reviewing K-12 and healthcare workers COVID-19 guidance and plan to release it at a later date. Here is a link that discusses the CDC’s recommendations: https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2022/p0811-covid-guidance.html ” she said.

“Also, this article was just brought to my attention. It is from the CDC regarding the Polio case in New York: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/71/wr/mm7133e2.htm?s_cid=mm7133e2_e&ACSTrackingID=USCDC_921-DM87893&ACSTrackingLabel=MMWR%20Early%20Release%20-%20Vol.%2071%2C%20August%2016%2C%202022&deliveryName=USCDC_921-DM87893″ she said.

“At this time we are not considered at risk for Polio, but would recommend the Polio vaccine to those who are not vaccinated. Those individuals 2 months of age and older may be vaccinated for Polio.”

“I encourage our residents to be current on all recommended vaccinations for their age group,” Johnson said.

SEKMHD is located at 524 S. Lowman in Ft. Scott. She can be reached at (620)223-4464 or fax (620)223-1686 or

[email protected]

Nevada Hospital Earns High Rating

NRMC Earns 5-Star Rating


Nevada Regional Medical Center recently earned a 5-star quality rating
from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the highest rating a hospital can achieve. The overall star rating is based on 48 quality measures in five different categories.

To earn a 5-star rating, NRMC met or exceeded the national benchmark in all 5 categories, which include:
mortality, safety of care, readmission, patient experience, and timely and
effective care.


“We are most pleased with the recent news that NRMC has been

designated a 5-Star Hospital,” says Jason Anglin, NRMC’s Chief Executive
Officer. “This has certainly been a team effort, as everyone has pulled together to consistently provide our patients with excellent care and quality services. Nationwide, only about 14% of hospitals achieve a 5-Star Rating.”


Nevada Regional Medical Center believes that their continued commitment
to “Caring with P.R.I.D.E.” (Professionalism, Responsibility, Integrity, Dedication, and Excellence) has helped them earn this prestigious 5-star rating.

About Nevada Regional Medical Center
Serving a six-county area since 1937, Nevada Regional Medical Center is a 71-bed
acute, intensive and skilled care hospital. Nevada Regional Medical Center has earned
recognition as a respected regional medical center for its comprehensive health care
services, skilled and caring employees and state-of-the-art medical technology. Staff
represent more than a dozen medical specialties, including family practice, women’s
services, neurology, urology, psychiatry, wound care services, and general, vascular,
thoracic and oncological surgery. Additionally, consultation clinics are held regularly by
specialists in oncology, pulmonology, podiatry, ear, nose, and throat and cardiology.

Walk-In Mammograms Today at CHC

CHC/SEK Fort Scott to provide walk-in mammograms July 27

FORT SCOTT — Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas is hosting a walk-in mammogram event for women age 40 and older who have not received a recent mammogram. 

The event will be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 27 at the Fort Scott main clinic located at 401 Woodland Hills Blvd Fort Scott. Refreshments and a gift will be provided.

Women in Southeast Kansas rank far below state and national averages in receiving this life-saving screening, and having the service available within the clinic helps remove barriers many women have in receiving timely breast cancer screenings. Likewise, the walk-in event will give patients an option on when they can arrive. 

Because CHC/SEK believes every woman should have the best quality mammogram available, every patient receives a 3D exam. A physician’s referral is also not required. The screening is available to eligible women regardless of ability to pay. 

CHC/SEK uses the Hologic Genius system that screens the breast in 4 seconds for a much less compression time, with less radiation exposure than many conventional mammography machines. The Genius exam is also superior for denser breasts that that can hide early signs of cancer in a traditional mammogram. 

In addition, the Hologic Genius scans potentially reduce patient callback by up to 40 percent compared to 2D, sparing the emotional and economic toll of additional testing, including biopsies when there could be nothing wrong. 

For more information people can call 620-223-8484.

Free COVID-19 Tests Available for Vulnerable Communities

 

TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has partnered with The Rockefeller Foundation’s public charity, RF Catalytic Capital, and Project Access to Covid Tests (Project ACT) to offer free at-home COVID-19 tests directly to Kansans in vulnerable communities. More than 2,000 Kansas families have ordered over 10,000 tests through Project ACT to date. Kansans can visit AccessCovidTests.org to check if their zip code is eligible.

Frequent testing is especially important for those with more exposure outside the home, such as kids in school or people who spend time in a group setting. By visiting AccessCovidTests.org, Kansans will be able enter their zip code to see if free, rapid, at-home COVID-19 test kits are available in their area.

Kansans who need more support in ordering may call 866-534-3463 (866-KDHEINF).

CHC/SEK Fort Scott to provide walk-in mammograms July 27 

 

Sliding fee discounts and financial assistance is available to eligible patients, as stated on the front door of the CHC/SEK Clinic in Fort Scott.

FORT SCOTT — Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas is hosting a walk-in mammogram event for women age 40 and older who have not received a recent mammogram. 

The event will be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 27 at the Fort Scott main clinic located at 401 Woodland Hills Blvd Fort Scott. Refreshments and a gift will be provided.

Women in Southeast Kansas rank far below state and national averages in receiving this life-saving screening, and having the service available within the clinic helps remove barriers many women have in receiving timely breast cancer screenings. Likewise, the walk-in event will give patients an option on when they can arrive. 

Because CHC/SEK believes every woman should have the best quality mammogram available, every patient receives a 3D exam. A physician’s referral is also not required. The screening is available to eligible women regardless of ability to pay. 

CHC/SEK uses the Hologic Genius system that screens the breast in 4 seconds for a much less compression time, with less radiation exposure than many conventional mammography machines. The Genius exam is also superior for denser breasts that that can hide early signs of cancer in a traditional mammogram. 

In addition, the Hologic Genius scans potentially reduce patient callback by up to 40 percent compared to 2D, sparing the emotional and economic toll of additional testing, including biopsies when there could be nothing wrong. 

For more information people can call 620-223-8484.

New Mental Health Crisis Line 988, Offers Life-Saving Resources

By: U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.)

July 16, 2022

 

A mental health crisis requires help from trained professionals much like any health care emergency. Starting today, Americans experiencing a mental health crisis can dial 9-8-8 to immediately speak to a trained counselor at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

 

Just like Americans reach for their phones to dial 9-1-1 in an emergency, this three-digit number for the suicide prevention lifeline can provide a life-saving call to help those struggling with mental illness.

 

In Kansas, suicide is tragically increasing. A recent study by the Behavioral Health Services, housed under the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS), reported a 70 percent increase in suicide rates between 2000 and 2018.

 

These statistics represent our friends, neighbors, co-workers and family members. People of all ages, from all backgrounds, of all races and religions, can fall victim to struggles with mental health. Suicide and mental illness do not discriminate.

 

In 2019, I joined with my Senate colleagues in introducing the bipartisan National Suicide Prevention Hotline Improvement Act, legislation designating 9-8-8 as the official suicide hotline number for those seeking help to battle suicide and mental illness. The implementation of this three-digit number will be crucial to save lives and offer hope to those struggling with mental illness.

 

Before this legislation was implemented, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline had to be reached by dialing a 10-digit number. While that number will remain active, 9-8-8 is easier to remember and quicker to dial. For those struggling with mental illness or suicidal thoughts, 9-8-8 will provide immediate help from trained, experienced professionals who can offer resources and hope to make it through a mental health crisis.

 

Access to mental health care became even more important during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many Americans felt isolated and depressed, exacerbating mental health illnesses and increasing suicide rates, especially in adolescents. In 2021, concern for the emotional well-being of young adults led to the American Academy of Pediatrics declaring a state of emergency regarding child and young adult mental health.

 

In addition to our younger generation, another group of Americans who have suffered from increased mental illness, and who are at greatest risk of suicide, are our nation’s veterans and servicemembers. On average, around 17 veterans a day die by suicide, and the suicide rate for active-duty servicemembers has more than doubled over the past decade. Together, the suicide rate for our veterans and active-duty servicemembers is 50 percent higher than among civilians. According to the CDC, suicide rates for farmers and agriculture workers are worse than almost any other occupation.

 

These alarming numbers motivated Congress to act quickly and pass the National Suicide Prevention Hotline Improvement Act, providing a timely response to the current mental health crisis. This legislation was signed into law in October of 2020, and today the National Suicide Prevention Hotline goes live, making 9-8-8 the official emergency number to call in a time of mental health crisis.

 

This is just one step towards protecting and caring for those facing mental health challenges, but it is a significant one. This hotline creates an easily accessible avenue for those requiring immediate assistance and care.

 

I encourage anyone who is experiencing a mental health challenge to call 9-8-8. There is no shame in asking for help, and there is always hope even on the darkest days.

 

I remain committed to do all I can in Congress to develop concrete solutions for those who are struggling with mental illness and who are at risk of suicide. As we make progress to develop and promote mental health resources, I also encourage each of us to recommit ourselves to looking out for those around us. We need each other in this battle against mental illness, and the implementation of this hotline is a crucial step forward in this fight.

 

Sen. Moran represents Kansas in the United States Senate and authored the legislation to designate 9-8-8 as the official suicide hotline.

Mental Health Lifeline Begins Tomorrow

Governor Laura Kelly Celebrates the Launch of the 9-8-8 Mental Health Lifeline in Kansas:
Here’s What They’re Saying

TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly ceremonially signed Senate Bill 19, bipartisan legislation that launches 9-8-8 as the official 24/7 three-digit dialing code for the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

Beginning Saturday, July 16, Kansans and all Americans can call 9-8-8 during mental health and substance abuse emergencies.

988

Here’s what they’re saying:

“We know we need to make it easier for Kansans to get the kind of help they need, whether they need mental health care resources, or the community needed to live with and overcome harmful substance use disorders. Just like with 9-1-1, Kansans who need someone to talk to about a mental health challenge or a substance use disorder will be able to get connected to important public resources through 9-8-8.”
– Sen. Carolyn McGinn, Chair of Senate Ways & Means Human Services Subcommittee and Vice Chair of the 2021 Special Committee on Kansas Mental Health Modernization and Reform

“9-8-8 will be a blessing for so many, it could mean the difference between life and death. 9-8-8 will provide hope and save lives.”
– Rep. Barbara Ballard, Ranking Minority Member of the House Social Services Budget Committee and Member of the 2021 Special Committee on Kansas Mental Health Modernization and Reform

“This new 9-8-8 number is an important resource to the people of Kansas whether you or a loved one use it or not. I am pleased to have worked across the aisle to ensure that we sent a bipartisan bill to the Governor’s desk that avoided any increase in cell phone fees or taxes. Health care—including mental health care and substance use treatment—is a public good that all Kansans should have access to regardless of ability to pay.”
– Rep. Annie Kuether, Ranking Minority on the House Committee on Energy, Utilities, and Telecommunications

“KSPHQ is proud of our 50-year history providing suicide prevention and crisis services to the people of Kansas. The 988 Suicide Prevention and Crisis Hotline is a necessary innovation which will immediately connect Kansans from many backgrounds with evidence-based and lifesaving services”
– Monica Kurz, Vice President for External Programming, Kansas Suicide Prevention Headquarters

“Kansas is joining states and territories across the nation in transition to the easy-to-remember, 3-digit number for the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.  This is a top priority for me and our entire leadership here at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).”
-Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D., the HHS Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use and the leader of SAMHSA


Press: 

Business Health Coverage Webinar July 14

Interested in learning more about the Chamber Blue of Kansas?

 

Join us for a webinar:

Thursday, July 14, 2022 at 2PM

 

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas (BCBSKS), in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce Executives of Kansas (CCEKS) and local Chambers across the state have created an association health plan (AHP) – Chamber Blue of Kansas. This AHP offers member businesses access to health insurance savings associated with large group medical coverage.

 

Join us as Andrew Gutierrez, group sales consultant at Blue Cross, discusses information about this health plan, including eligibility, benefit, and enrollment information.

 

Register now!

If you are unable to attend, a recording of the webinar will be posted on the Chamber Blue of Kansas website following the event.

Click here for Webinar Registration

Thank you to our Chamber Champions for all of your support!

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Presumptive Positive Case of Monkeypox in Kansas City Area

KDHE has identified a presumptive positive case of monkeypox in Kansas

TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), working with the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment, has identified a presumptive positive case of monkeypox in Kansas based on testing at the Kansas Health and Environment Laboratories. This is the first presumptive positive case in Kansas.

The patient is an adult resident in Johnson County, KS who recently traveled out of state. To protect the individual’s privacy, no additional information will be shared at this time. The patient is working with KDHE to identify contacts who may have been exposed.

“The risk of monkeypox spreading in Kansas remains low,” Janet Stanek, Secretary of KDHE, said. “If you are experiencing symptoms of monkeypox illness, it’s important to stay home and contact your health care provider as soon as possible to avoid spreading the disease to others.”

In typical cases, a person may experience symptoms including fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion followed by the appearance of a rash that can look like pimples or blisters that may appear on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body like hands, feet, chest, or genitals. However, it is important to note that not all cases will show symptoms before the onset of a rash, so KDHE strongly recommends anyone experiencing symptoms of a monkeypox-like rash with other risk factors contact their health care provider as soon as possible. Risk factors for monkeypox infection include the following scenarios within 21 days of first symptom onset:

  • Contact with a person or people with a similar appearing rash or who received a diagnosis of confirmed or probable monkeypox, OR
  • Close or intimate in-person contact with individuals in a social network experiencing monkeypox activity including meeting partners through an online website, digital app or social event, OR
  • Recent travel outside the US to a country with confirmed cases of monkeypox or where Monkeypox virus is endemic, OR
  • Contact with a dead or live wild animal or exotic pet that is an African endemic species or used a product derived from such animals (game meat, creams, lotions, powders, etc.)

The monkeypox vaccine is available to those with a known exposure to a confirmed monkeypox case; however, with the vaccine supply extremely limited in the United States, residents who have not been contacted by KDHE or clinic partners are not able to be vaccinated at this time. KDHE will expand eligibility as additional doses are available.

The KDHE Phone Bank is available to assist in answering general questions about monkeypox. Individuals can call 1-866-KDHEINF (534-3463) Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. or can email their questions.

 

About monkeypox

Monkeypox is a rare disease that is caused by infection with monkeypox virus. Monkeypox virus spreads between people primarily through direct contact with infectious lesions, scabs, body fluids, or by respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact. The virus can also spread through direct contact with materials that have touched body fluids or lesions, such as clothing or linens. However, standard cleaning practices and laundering reduces spread through these materials. Individuals are considered infectious from the onset of symptoms until lesions have crusted, those crusts have separated, and a fresh layer of healthy skin has formed underneath.

The incubation period of monkeypox is usually from 7 to 14 days but can range from 5 to 21 days. Initial symptoms usually include fever, fatigue, headache and enlarged lymph nodes. A rash often starts on the face and then appears on the palms, arms, legs, and other parts of the body. Over a week or two, the rash changes from small, flat spots to tiny blisters that are similar to chickenpox, and then to larger blisters. These can take several weeks to scab over and fall off. For more information about monkeypox visit the KDHE monkeypox webpage.

CHC/SEK Fort Scott to provide walk-in mammograms July 27 

 

FORT SCOTT — Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas is hosting a walk-in mammogram event for women age 40 and older who have not received a recent mammogram.

 

The event will be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 27 at the Fort Scott main clinic located at 401 Woodland Hills Blvd Fort Scott. Refreshments and a gift will be provided.

Women in Southeast Kansas rank far below state and national averages in receiving this life-saving screening, and having the service available within the clinic helps remove barriers many women have in receiving timely breast cancer screenings. Likewise, the walk-in event will give patients an option on when they can arrive. 

Because CHC/SEK believes every woman should have the best quality mammogram available, every patient receives a 3D exam.  A physician’s referral is also not required. The screening is available to eligible women regardless of ability to pay. 

CHC/SEK uses the Hologic Genius system that screens the breast in 4 seconds for a much less compression time, with less radiation exposure than many conventional mammography machines. The Genius exam is also superior for denser breasts that that can hide early signs of cancer in a traditional mammogram. 

In addition, the Hologic Genius scans potentially reduce patient callback by up to 40 percent compared to 2D, sparing the emotional and economic toll of additional testing, including biopsies when there could be nothing wrong. 

For more information people can call 620-670-6710.

 

 

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