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 Kansas Medicaid Expansion

Sent to the Kansas State Legislators February, 2017-
 
Hello,
 
My name is Sharon Lee. I am a family doctor in Kansas City, Kansas. But, I grew up in Wichita and spent holidays at my Aunt’s in Haysville, went with a boy from Park City, and spent summers in Ulysses and Pittsburg. I have family roots in Oskaloosa, McClouth, and Cottonwood Falls and have helped my cousin at the ranch outside of Manhatten during spring round-up. I have worked in a number of Kansas Hospitals during training- Atchison, Wamego, Lawrence, St.Francis, Stormont Vail, St.Joseph. I am a Kansan to my core and I know how important the community hospitals are to these towns and to our fellow Kansans.
 
A 2016 report found that 31 of the State’s 107 rural hospitals share characteristics of the hospitals that have closed in the past few years. Example- Independence Mercy Hospital that closed in October, 2015. That is close to double the 17 risky hospitals in the 2015 report.
Read more here: http://www.kansas.com/news/business/health-care/article58026428.html#storylink=cpy
 
Please, so many of our hospitals have lost income as the government has shifted payments from Critical Access Hospitals and their Disproportionate Share funding to more adequately cover individuals with expanded Medicaid. Financial experts have estimated that Kansas Has forfeited more than a billion dollars in federal funds by declining to expand Medicaid. More importantly more than 100,000 Kansans are without health insurance and hospitals have closed or are edging toward closure. The significance of these shortfalls include uncounted morbidity and deaths of our neighbors.
 
You have an opportunity to expand KanCare to improve the health of 150,000 Kansans, create jobs and protect our hospitals and rural communities.
 
 
Please, do this. Vote for Medicaid expansion.
 
Thank you!
Sharon Lee, MD


Affordable Care Act

The updated Affordable Care Act – the new Trump “Care” will make it harder for millions to afford health insurance. Experts have estimated more than 15 million people will lose their current coverage and others will have weakened protections and much higher costs. Trump “Care” reduces even further the funding for Medicaid which will ensure patients who need it most will have even less access to lifesaving coverage. This bill reduces Public Health Coverage and Prevention Funding. It will hurt seniors and people who have chronic illness the most.

 

As a doctor providing health care for the poor for thirty years, I am very worried the bill falls far short of providing affordable coverage for many who now receive health services. The bill actually helps giant pharmaceutical companies over millions of middle and low income people. It is not hyperbole that the cost of this bill will be borne by those with greatest needs. Many with diabetes, cancer or other serious illnesses cannot afford to have their care disrupted and will have serious decline in their health or even die without access to services. Please contact your representatives and senators- ask them to help not hurt.

 

Sharon Lee MD

See analysis by Doctors for America

Click here for a Channel 4 interview with Dr. Lee about Trump "Care"

AMA Supports ACA

Transgender

 

A horror movie could be made of a person awakening to find their body transformed to the opposite sex. As a physician, I understand our gender is most strongly held in our brain. There are people who have the misfortune to have a birth defect in that part of their brain resulting in switching their gender identity from that of their external genitalia. When children have birth defects such as a cleft lip or club foot we don’t think it odd to have those surgically repaired, to become normal. But, a transgendered child or adult is erroneously considered by many to have made a “choice”. People who would never dream of laughing at a person with a scarred face, a missing leg or other severe defect see a transgender person as fair target for social ostracism (or worse). There is no connection between gender dysphoria and pedophila or abuse of children. Many trans-people live among us, working, shopping, attending school; without attracting notice. Most transgendered individuals want nothing more than acceptance and to be allowed to live their lives in peace, as the gender fitting their brain. Those who don’t suffer from this biologic solecism should be grateful and gracious.

 

SLeeMD

Zika

 

 

Zika is not Ebola. It is worse for us. Ebola was mostly far away, Zika is coming. It is certain. The number of US cases increases every week, carried by infected people. When Mosquito season hits this season- thousands of Americans will become infected by mosquito bites, especially in the Southern states. There is no cure, there is no vaccine. The virus does not kill in the way Ebola kills. Zika causes severe birth defects. It kills the hopes and dreams of mothers and fathers by causing untreatable microcephaly (very small brain).

 

In February 2016, President Obama asked Congress to approve emergency funds to help control the mosquitoes that spread the virus and support vaccine research. The funding is opposed by members of Congress from our State. By July and into the next year, we will see the terrible results of this inaction. As a physician, I ask you to urge our members of Congress to act now to approve the Zika funding. It is time to put the lives of patients and unborn children over politics to provide this important emergency money to help control the spread of Zika.

 

SLeeMD

   

 

AMA, ACP, other health associations laud court decision that allows physicians to discuss gun safety with patients

February 20, 2017

Multiple medical groups are commending a recent federal appeals court ruling that overturned a Florida state law that prohibited doctors from talking to their patients about reducing injuries and deaths from firearms.

According to the AAP, had the law, known as the Firearms Owners Privacy Act, stayed in effect, physicians who asked patients routine questions and had discussions about firearm safety could be subject to penalties akin to those experienced under “egregious professional misconduct,” such as sanctions and loss of license.

The Florida chapters of the AAP, the AAFP and the ACP, and a group of six individual physicians challenged the 2011 law, arguing it violated free speech. Although a U.S. district court judge agreed with these parties, the state of Florida appealed the decision.

The AAP signed an amicus brief supporting the district court ruling to enjoin the law in November 2012, along with the AMA, the AAFP, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the American College of Surgeons, the American College of Preventive Medicine, and the American Psychiatric Association. 

 “We are delighted that the constitution has been defended, particularly when it comes to the First Amendment," Fernando Stein, MD, FAAP, president of AAP, said in a press release. “Pediatricians routinely counsel families about firearm safety just as they offer guidance on seat belt use, helmets and parental tobacco use to reduce the risk of injury to children where they live and play. These are all topics that families should feel very comfortable talking about with their pediatrician."

In a statement, the AMA said it was also relieved physicians will be able to speak freely without fear of repercussion.

“This case has always been about the First Amendment right to free speech, not the Second Amendment right to own and possess firearms. The court found no evidence that any doctor has infringed on patients’ Second Amendment rights,” the AMA wrote in a statement. “Counseling patients we care for makes a difference in preventing gun-related injuries and deaths. The political interests of state lawmakers do not justify infringing on the patient-physician relationship and stifling relevant medical discussions that are entitled to First Amendment protection.”

The ACP, which stated that it has been recommending physicians ask their patients about gun ownership during normal screenings for some time, was also grateful that doctors can continue to have open, unrestricted dialogue about gun safety with their patients.

“This is a huge victory for patient safety, and for physicians’ First Amendment rights” said Nitin Damle, MD, MS, MACP, president, ACP, said in a press release. “It clearly establishes that physicians have the right under the Constitution to freely discuss with their patients ways to prevent injuries and deaths, including those associated with having unsecured firearms in their home.”

The AAP stated that the conversations being threatened would save lives rather than harm them, as parents who discuss gun locks and safety with their doctors are more likely to use them.

The ACP echoed that sentiment, citing data from the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence that indicated unintentional firearm injuries caused the deaths of 606 people in 2010 and that almost 3,800 people in the U.S. died from unintentional shootings from 2005 to 2010. The ACP had also issued a call to action in 2015 regarding policy reform on gun laws to help aid in the reduction of firearm-related injuries and deaths. – by Janel Miller

Disclosure: Stein is president of AAP, Damle is president of ACP.