To improve care at nursing homes across the state, AARP is pressing lawmakers to bring Kansas standards up to par with federal guidelines.
Based on more than 20 years of research, the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recommends at least 2.75 hours of nursing care daily, and preferably 3.9 hours. In Kansas — where the minimum requirement is just two hours over a 24-hour period — nearly a third of nursing homes have been cited in the past year for one or more deficiencies causing harm or putting residents at risk.
AARP is encouraging members to ask lawmakers to support increasing the hours required. For contact information, go to kslegislature.org or call 1-800-432-3924.
Health Insurance Purchasing Power
AARP Kansas is part of an advisory committee designing an online health insurance marketplace. Once it's set up, Kansas consumers will be able to comparison-shop for plans based on their ability to pay.
The idea is to give individuals and small businesses pooled purchasing power to buy coverage. For some people, subsidies from the federal government will help pay for premiums, and in some cases, low-income consumers will be referred directly to Medicaid plans.
Federal law requires states to have such marketplaces in place by 2014. Kansas has been awarded $32.5 million in federal grants to help with planning, largely because the state's insurance department has pioneered the use of health information technology. To learn more, visit the Kansas Insurance Department at ksinsurance.org.
No Hunger Pangs
AARP will be at the Kansas Speedway next month to cheer driver Jeff Gordon as he steers the No. 24 Chevrolet car not only in a NASCAR race, but also in the Drive to End Hunger.
Gordon's car is emblazoned with AARP's Drive to End Hunger logo. Donations made at the speedway in Kansas City on June 5 will help local food banks. In addition, as part of a nationwide food drive, AARP is encouraging members to contribute to the National Association of Letter Carriers "Stamp Out Hunger" effort on May 14, when nonperishable food products left in a bag by your mailbox will be donated to a local food bank.