Health at the Capitol

Health at the Capitol Podcast Logo

The Kansas Health Institute supports effective policymaking through nonpartisan research, education and engagement. Each legislative session, KHI is hard at work keeping you informed on the latest health policy discussions from across the street, in downtown Topeka.  

Health at the Capitol is a KHI production – a monthly recap with our legislative monitoring team –offering you a closer look at policy work happening now in Kansas and coming up.  

Feb. 6, 2024

Episode 1: The first month

By Linda J. Sheppard, J.D.Theresa Freed, M.A.Emma Uridge, C.H.E.S.Valentina Blanchard, M.P.H., L.M.S.W., & Shelby C. Rowell

Join us for Health at the Capitol– a Kansas Health Institute webcast focused on health-related policy discussions and action at the Kansas Legislature.    

On Episode 1, host Theresa Freed introduces viewers to some of the Kansas Health Institute legislative monitoring team – Linda Sheppard, Strategy Team Leader and Cynthia Snyder, Senior Analyst. They discuss the first month of the Kansas Legislative session. It has included some anticipated discussions on Medicaid expansion but also some not-so-expected topics. The team has a look at what’s happened and what’s coming up. 

Episode Highlights: 

  • 0:58 – 1:24: Theresa Freed notes that there has been a lot of activity during the first month of the 2024 legislative session
  • 1:58 – 5:05: Linda Sheppard discusses the topic of homelessness, which has been discussed in the House Welfare Reform Committee, including how other states are addressing homelessness. Cynthia Snyder noted the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) has $46 million in state general funds enhancements in 2025, $40 million of which are proposed to address homelessness.
  • 5:10 – 6:49: Linda notes there has been a lot of interest in the marketing of Medicare Advantage plans, which are insurance products for seniors that are regulated by the federal government, not by states.
  • 7:01 – 8:02: Linda talks briefly about Medicaid expansion, noting the Governor has introduced bills in both the House and the Senate, neither of which have yet received a hearing.
  • 8:21 – 10:14: Linda and Theresa talk about upcoming KHI products that could help inform policy discussions on Medicaid in general.
  • 10:48 – 11:41: Cynthia notes that the Social Services Budget Committee previewed enhancements for the three largest health-related budgets in Kansas: KDADS, the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) and Kansas Department for Health and Environment (KDHE).
  • 11:50 – 12:45: Linda notes she hasn’t seen any action on medical marijuana.
  • 12:46 – 14:45: Linda discusses how work on the budgets will start picking up. She also notes that KDHE has completed the state palliative care plan and is actively looking for opportunities to discuss it.
  • 14:46 – 16:49: Linda notes that the House Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee has discussed issues such as fentanyl use and distribution, crimes against children, cyber attacks on hospitals, and the lack of mental health services for both community members and first responders.

Health at the Capitol Archive

About the Host

Theresa Freed is the KHI Director of Strategic Communication and Engagement. She joined KHI in 2023, after serving several Kansas state agencies and Johnson County Government. While overseeing digital communications at Johnson County, she launched a government podcast. Theresa produced and hosted 145 episodes. She is currently the producer for Health on the Plains, a KHI podcast that got underway in September 2023. She has extensive experience in broadcast journalism. She served as a reporter, producer, videographer, anchor, writer and editor for several news organizations across Kansas and in California. She has bachelor’s degrees in broadcast journalism and political science. She also has a master’s in mass communication and journalism.

Health at the Capitol Production Team

Theresa Freed, M.A., Host, Producer, Editor

Stewart Cole, Editor, Graphic Designer