Public Health and Welfare

Public Health and Welfare

Nutrition Education

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Nutrition training and courses should be required in medical and health-related education curricula.

We support and encourage nutrition education and food handling/preparation training programs in Kansas schools. School food personnel should also receive nutrition education and food handling and preparation education.

We strongly urge monitoring the use of federal funds for nutrition education in order to assure that all recipients are aware of the nutrition standards.

Rural Health Care

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Access to high quality and affordable health care is essential to all Kansans. Access and affordability will not be achieved by mandating employers to pay health insurance costs for employees, nor by enacting a single-payer, government-based health care plan.

Health care is primarily the responsibility of the individual. Health care policy should embody the following principles:

1. Promotion of personal wellness, fitness and preventative care;

2. Minimal government intervention in decisions between providers and receivers of health care; and

3. Tax policies that encourage individuals to prepare for future health care needs.

We support the following measures that will assist in preserving health care delivery to rural Kansans:

1. Encouraging students to enter health care professions and developing programs which encourage and incentivize practice in rural areas;

2. Promoting the specialty of family medicine and practice in rural areas;

3. State scholarship programs for health care professionals, where recipients agree to provide services in underserved areas in Kansas, and creation of a strong disincentive for any scholarship recipient to "buyout" of service in an underserved area;

4. Visas for foreign doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals who are qualified, willing to work in rural areas and sponsored by a rural hospital or clinic; and

5. Establishing innovative managed care programs through incentives for government, providers and private insurers where medical services are offered through a network of physicians and hospitals at discounted costs.

In order to provide affordable health insurance coverage to all Kansans, we encourage consideration of the concept of "community-based health insurance rates." If the insurance industry continues to use a review of health care utilization as a method of establishing rate increases in Kansas it should use a running average to establish rates. Limitation on insurance riders should provide ample protection to the insurance industry while providing the insured with an acceptable health care coverage plan.The increasing number of non-paying patients is threatening the financial stability of some hospitals. We support efforts to help assure financial stability of hospitals in Kansas.

Health care programs for senior citizens in Kansas should maximize the independence of the elderly for as long as possible. Local Home Health Care would assist both affordability and availability of health care. The legislature should provide more flexibility in the allocation of per diem rates for nursing staff.

We support free market efforts to make insurance coverage more available to all Kansans without expanding government programs or increasing expenses. Farmers, ranchers, and other small business owners should be allowed to participate in Association Health Plans and voluntary regional insurance purchasing cooperatives to permit individuals and small companies to receive the same price advantages that corporations/ businesses receive.

We support development of certification programs for volunteer emergency medical service providers and rural volunteer fire fighters to allow cost and time effective training and to ensure that services are provided to rural communities.

Safety

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We support:

1. A farm safety program focused on educating children and families about safe and age-appropriate tasks on the farm;

2. The concept that safety begins with each individual employer and that employees have a responsibility to observe safe working rules and conditions;

3. Continued efforts for uniform state vehicle codes, traffic guides and the furtherance of safety practices on highways and farms;

4. The proper and lawful use of the slow-moving vehicle (SMV) sign;

5. The strict enforcement of drinking and driving and habitual offender laws;

6. The use of additional automobile safety devices;

7. Establishment of uniform release mechanisms on all seat belts on newly manufactured vehicles;

8. Vehicle and child safety seat manufacturers working together to develop universal child safety seats that are compatible with all vehicles;

9. Clarification of statistical categories used by the National Safety Council and federal governmental agencies in determining rate of accidents, hazardous exposures and fatalities in production agricultural occupations;

10. Efforts to reduce farm accidents, injuries and fatalities on the farm with an emphasis on education and voluntary programs;

11. Regular inspection of all railroad crossings and signals; especially multitrack crossings;

12. Marking the sides of railroad cars to increase night visibility;

13. Adequate advanced warning for road and bridge construction projects; and

14. We strongly encourage the use of helmets by motorcycle riders.

We encourage the Farm Bureau Safety and Health Network and others in their efforts to promote agricultural safety programs and encourage farmers and ranchers to install and maintain safety equipment.

Primary seatbelt legislation should exclude vehicles not originally equipped with seatbelts.

Toxic Fume Dispersal

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Toxic fumes from gas and oil wells should be regulated to prevent risk to human health, crops and livestock production. The standards should be enforced by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC).

Welfare Payments

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We recommend development/enhancement of a database of welfare recipients so the state and counties will have the ability to clearly identify and prevent duplication of payments.