Kansas

Amid COVID Surge, Hospitals Scramble To Find Beds For Patients

Nov 19, 2020

As COVID-19 cases rise dramatically across the Midwest, hospitals in Colorado and Nebraska are calling Kansas in desperate search of beds for new patients. But Kansas hospitals are asking them for the same.

November has brought on the strongest surge yet of the coronavirus across the region — and that’s before Thanksgiving gathers families together.

“The entire Midwest is on fire,” says Steven Stites, chief medical officer at the University of Kansas Health System.

Photo by Coburn Dukehart /Wisconsin Watch.

One by one, COVID-19 outbreaks popped up in April and May at meatpacking plants across the country, fanning fears that the infectious coronavirus could spread rapidly into rural states. Plants closed temporarily in small metro areas such as Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Waterloo, Iowa, and in smaller towns like Iowa’s Columbus Junction and Perry

Over the past decade, more than 100 hospitals in rural parts of America — including at least 20 in the Midwest — have closed.

In some cases, the shuttered hospital had been the only one in town, and the ripple effects are enormous, affecting not just access to health care, but also the town’s economy and even identity.

As Kansas Foster Care System Sets Records, Advocates Call For More Family Services

May 22, 2017
Meg Wingerter / Kansas News Service

Editor’s note: Kansas privatized its foster care system in 1997 after a lawsuit revealed widespread problems. Twenty years later, the number of Kansas children in foster care has shot up — by a third in just the last five years — and lawmakers are debating whether the system once again needs serious changes. 

ALEX SMITH/HEARTLAND HEALTH MONITOR

At his apartment in Olathe, Kansas, 42-year-old Nick Fugate catches up on washing dishes and remembers the 22 years he spent doing it at a local hotel, trying to stay on top of a never-ending-stream of plates, glasses and silverware.

 


J. Stephen Conn/via Flickr

Kansas community mental health centers are sending a distress signal to state policymakers.

The association that represents the state’s 26 community mental health centers issued a statement Wednesday expressing “strong concerns” about the $30 million in funding cuts that it says its members have suffered in the past 12 months.

Side-By-Side Kansas Counties Are Worlds Apart When It Comes To Health

Mar 21, 2016

At her home studio in Westwood, Kansas, yoga instructor Marilyn Pace leads a class of 5-to-8-year olds. With the help of songs, games and other kid-friendly teaching methods, she guides her small students through poses like the cobra, the triangle and the downward-facing dog.

Tatjana Alvegard takes her daughter, Kaya, to Pace’s classes regularly.

liquor bottles
GREYERBABY via Pixabay

When Kelli was growing up in the 1970s in suburban Johnson County, Kansas, southwest of Kansas City, it was a quiet, clean community boasting single-family homes and good schools. And with state laws prohibiting alcohol sales on Sundays, in grocery stores and by the glass, outsiders could have been forgiven if they found life there to be pretty straight-laced.

“You just never know what goes on behind closed doors,” says Kelli, who asked that her last name not be used.

David Sanford, CEO of Wichita-based GraceMed, says health centers that serve Kansans who lack insurance or have trouble paying for health care are seeing growing demand for their services.
Bryan Thompson / Heartland Health Monitor

Health centers that serve Kansans who lack insurance or struggle to pay for primary health care are seeing no lack of demand for their services.

Rebecca Lewis of McPherson, a small town in the center of the state, was once a part of that group. In 2011, Lewis found herself working three part-time jobs and trying to complete a college degree. As a single mom with three young boys — then ages 8, 5 and 2 — it was hard to make ends meet.