Medical leaders push for KanCare expansion


MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT) —  Leaders of Via Christi Hospital in Manhattan and Stormont Vail in Topeka say the situation is getting worse for Kansas health systems. Stormont Vail announced it is closing rural clinics in Lyndon and Alma by the end of January. In May, Saint Francis Health, one of Topeka’s two hospitals, announced it was up for sale. In-large, part because of the failure to expand KanCare.

“It will cover 150,000 very vulnerable citizens who don’t have healthcare right now,” President of Kansas Hospital Association, Tom Vell said. Secondly, it will support our healthcare system — which is experiencing cuts and layoffs right now”

Now, hospital leaders are fighting for change. They’re sick of not getting paid for the healthcare they provide.

“More and more people come into the emergency room for their primary care coverage. They don’t have a family doctor to go to and they don’t have access to a clinic.

The concern comes over a lack of money to Medicaid – which has seen cuts in Kansas. Plus, the state has refused to expand the system under Obamacare. President of Via Christi Hospital in Manhattan, Robert Copple, said the expansion will only cost $50 million.

“There’s 150 million that actually flow into the state because of that expansion and so the net to the state is actually positive,” Copple said.

Supporters have tried repeatedly to get lawmakers to accept federal money, but the legislature has rejected the push several times — most recently this past spring. Hospital leaders say they’re trying to avoid passing the costs on to people who have insurance. Lawmakers will be debating the issue when they return in January.


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