Mike Shields

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Mike Shields, Managing Editor of the KHI News Service, directs news content and special communications projects. Before joining KHI, he was the city editor at the Lawrence Journal-World. He has covered Kansas government as a reporter for Harris News Service and other news organizations for almost three decades. He has won multiple state and national awards, including the Burton W. Marvin Kansas News Enterprise Award in 1993. Shields earned bachelor’s degrees in journalism and history from Wichita State University and has a special interest in Geographic Information Systems. He is fluent in Spanish.

Work by Mike

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Overuse of antipsychotic drugs in some Kansas nursing homes endangering patients

State ranks 47th worst for use of powerful drugs to control behavior of residents with dementia

Experts say powerful antipsychotic drugs are used too much as “chemical restraints” or sedatives to control the behavior of Kansas nursing home residents suffering from dementia, and that efforts to curb the practice are showing weak results compared to other states.

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Local food movement thriving on the High Plains of Kansas

Online food coop links farmers in four states with customers

Direct marketing food to customers is proving to be a boon for members of a western Kansas producers' cooperative that has seen strong sales growth. "For one thing, it has made it possible for my nephew to come back to the farm," said Chris Schmidt, a Rawlins County farmer who grows 2,000 acres of commodity grain but also is selling direct to online customers.

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Rural Kansas hospital focuses on 'mission-driven' medicine to recruit doctors

Distinctive approach has brought early results

In Kearny County, on the High Plains near the Kansas-Colorado boundary where there are only about five residents per square mile, one small hospital has adopted a distinctive approach to recruitment that in a relatively short time has produced a staff that includes five doctors, five physician assistants and a growing volume of patients.

Surprise halt to health homes program dismays Medicaid providers

Portion dealing with the chronically ill put on ice for at least six months

Kansas Medicaid providers with expansion plans ready to go after spending months and thousands of dollars preparing for the state’s new health homes initiative said they were “shocked” and “disappointed” that state officials abruptly chose to indefinitely delay much of the program’s implementation while giving the providers less than 24 hours' notice of the state’s decision to change course.

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Where KanCare meets Obamacare

Kansas officials poised to launch health homes initiative

Gov. Sam Brownback once called Obamacare “an abomination,” and with the federal health reform law now four years on the books bad-mouthing it has become a conservative Republican ritual. But this week, after more than a year of planning and preparation by Kansas and federal officials, the Affordable Care Act and Brownback’s own KanCare initiative begin coming together in ways that will make the two programs indistinguishable to thousands of Kansas Medicaid beneficiaries.

Kansas sees significant increase in Medicaid-CHIP enrollment

Unlike some other states that haven’t expanded eligibility including Missouri, which reported the nation’s largest decrease

According to a new report from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, enrollment in Medicaid-CHIP - together branded as KanCare - rose in April to a historic high of 426,642 people, or roughly one in seven Kansans. That’s up from 396,374 in April 2013.

Kansas prepares for new federal HCBS rules

Full consequences yet to be determined

Providers of home- and community-based Medicaid services and their state overseers are preparing for a raft of new federal rules intended to assure that the people who receive the services have more say in how they are helped and that their living conditions are “non-institutional.”

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Robot helps save the day at rural hospital

Device links big-city and small-town care providers

Some small, rural Kansas hospitals are using highly sophisticated medical robots in ways that are helping ease the shortage of specialists in their areas and - in at least one instance - boosting the bottom line.

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Privatization initiative offers window on Kansas government

Child support enforcement story blends politics, policy and procurement

A private meeting among political insiders in a Statehouse office soon after Gov. Sam Brownback took office may have been pivotal to a subsequent privatization initiative that occurred with no significant public debate. This is a story about Kansas government and the blending of politics, policy and procurement.

KDADS secretary moving to budget office

Kari Bruffett will shift from KDHE health care finance division to lead KDADS

Shawn Sullivan, secretary of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, will become the state budget director and Kari Bruffett, head of the division of health care finance at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, will step in as KDADS chief.

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