Kansas Common Sense
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Addressing the Ebola Crisis
Discussing Ebola Response and Preparedness at KU Hospital
This week, an individual called The University of Kansas Hospital reporting symptoms of Ebola. Because the patient had recently worked on a medical boat off the west coast of Africa, he was immediately isolated on a special infectious disease unit and underwent tests. Hospital staff met the patient wearing personal protection equipment and followed the hospital’s plan for this kind of illness. While there were many other diseases that fit the patient’s symptoms, the hospital followed all appropriate precautions for infectious disease. On Tuesday, KU Hospital reported that lab results showed the isolated patient does not have Ebola and that the patient is showing improvement. I contacted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to request that the agency expedite the confirmatory test that definitively ruled out any possibility of Ebola Virus Disease in this patient.
On Thursday, I traveled to Kansas City to visit KU Hospital to learn more about these developments and how to properly evaluate, isolate and care for patients who present at a hospital with concerns of Ebola. During this visit, I received a demonstration on how nurses and physicians properly utilized personal protective equipment and safety protocols, as well as the hospital’s process for caring for patients who may present with Ebola symptoms. It was great to see that these providers and other KU Hospital staff performed so well under difficult circumstances. I was glad I was able to thank them for doing their job so well. I also wanted to learn how I may be of assistance to providers across our state to prepare for Ebola and other infectious disease responses. As Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Health Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), I want to make sure that resources are being allocated in a way that supports these efforts in Kansas. On Thursday, I had a conference call with Dr. Robert Moser, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, and Major General Lee Tafanelli, Adjutant General of Kansas, regarding these important topics. Thank you to KU Hospital President and CEO Bob Page, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Lee Norman, and their team for hosting my visit. Click here to watch a video on my visit to the hospital.
Requesting an Ebola Hearing in the Senate
Last month, I participated in a Senate hearing on the response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Things have changed significantly since that hearing occurred, and the Senate needs to do its job to consider strategies for improving coordination and vigilance to address this health crisis. We were told by the Senate Appropriations Committee that a Senate hearing on Ebola would not take place until after the election. While I believe a hearing should not be delayed to make certain there is the appropriate funding to work to solve this crisis as well as an effective organizational structure that can coordinate a response, I look forward to participating in the full Senate Appropriations Committee Hearing on November 6.
Calling on the Administration to Implement Travel Restrictions
The single most important thing that can be done to protect Americans is to stop Ebola at the outbreak’s source in West Africa. But, as we fight Ebola in Africa, we need to make certain we are protected at home as well. I urge the Administration to implement travel restrictions on commercial airline passengers traveling from nations afflicted by Ebola. While Americans were assured that our public health infrastructure was ready to handle Ebola, unfortunately reality has shown we still have a lot of work to do. Travel restrictions will also give us time to make certain our hospitals are procedurally ready to handle Ebola patients. And, coordination with the proper agencies to make certain that medical personnel and supplies can still come in and out of West Africa is critical. I also recently called on the CDC to implement Ebola-specific screenings at U.S. airports. The Administration is now implementing enhanced screening measures at certain high-traffic U.S. airports. Given Ebola’s long incubation period, entry screenings are not the full solution, but they could be helpful.
Administration Appoints Ebola Response Coordinator
On Friday, President Obama selected Ron Klain to serve as the Administration’s Ebola Response Coordinator. Mr. Klain is former chief of staff to Vice President Biden and Vice President Gore, and a longtime political operative to Democratic campaigns. Without the right person in charge, I am concerned the President’s appointment of a political operative will only add to the bureaucratic inefficiencies that have plagued Ebola response efforts thus far. He must be able to cut through red tape and make unbiased decisions across multiple agencies – the buck has to stop with him. Unfortunately, the White House is treating this critical role like an appointment to be the “Green-Jobs Czar” or the “Great Lakes Czar” – political operatives with titles – not handling it with the seriousness it deserves. This is a real crisis and worthy of an individual with extensive background in international diplomacy, public health, experience coordinating large-scale interagency missions, as well as a proven ability to work with Congress and across the aisle. The stakes are high and Americans need confidence that their government is working in their best interest.
Service Academy Interview Day
On Saturday, I had the honor of meeting more than 60 students from Kansas at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library in Abilene as part of my annual Service Academy Selection Day. Students applying for admission to the U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy and U.S. Merchant Marine Academy interviewed with my Selection Board, and the Board provided me with recommendations regarding nominations. This day has always been a favorite of mine because I get to meet some of the best and brightest of Kansas. It also served as a reminder that Kansas produces smart, hard-working, civic-minded people who want to serve their country.
Big thanks to Michelle Kopefer at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library for hosting us. And, this important process would not be possible without the help of my selection board, made up of community leaders from across the state who take great interest in seeing students succeed. The members review applications and conduct interviews before giving me their recommendations. Members of the 2014 Service Academy Selection Board include: Maceo Braxton of Salina; Karen DeGraaf of Mulvane; Anne Emerson of Fort Scott; Major Nicholas Falcetto of Fort Riley; Ron Whitney and Steve Harmon of Emporia; Ron Lucas of Goodland; Paula Ripple of Dodge City; Jill McCarthy and Ernie Garcia of Overland Park; Steve Hawley of Lawrence; Robin Jackson of Hutchinson; Ryan Kriegshauser of Topeka; Katrina Lewison and Janet Nichols of Manhattan; Wendell Maddox of Kansas City; Lynne Murray of Baldwin City; Jayne Pearce of Wallace; Matt Treaster of Newton and Sam Turner of Leawood. I would also like to thank 2nd Lt. Taylor Pearce, a recent graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, for traveling to Abilene to visit with this year’s applicants, and his dad Cecil Pearce of Wallace for providing a parent’s perspective of having a child at an academy.
Hiawatha Community Hospital Visit
On Thursday, I was in Brown County to visit Hiawatha Community Hospital (HCH). HCH, a 25-bed Critical Access Hospital (CAH), has been serving the health care needs of the community since 1951. The hospital offers a wide range of health care services and operates two health clinics – the Heartland Health Clinic of Hiawatha and the HCH Highland Clinic in Highland.
I have had the opportunity to visit each of the 128 community hospitals in Kansas, and I learn something new at each visit. My discussion with HCH administrators and staff spanned a variety of topics including unreasonable physician supervision regulations threatening hospitals’ ability to provide routine outpatient therapy services to patients, inflexible Medicare patient admission criteria, and unnecessarily burdensome and flawed Medicare audit regulations that divert resources away from patient care. Thanks to HCH CEO John Moore for hosting my visit. I also spoke with Dr. Crosby Gernon, a local radiologist who is also the Mayor of Hiawatha. At hospitals across our state, there are so many people involved in making certain patients are cared for – just like Debbie Hunsaker (pictured below).
Kansas Listening Tour Stops Continue
This week, I hosted town hall meetings in Northeast Kansas including Nemaha and Doniphan Counties. Thanks to all the area residents who came out to share their feedback on how to improve Kansas and the nation. For a full listing of my upcoming Kansas Listening Tour stops, visit my website.
On Thursday, I hosted a town hall meeting at Sabetha Middle School. I appreciated the more than 20 folks who came out to discuss how to preserve our special way of life in Kansas. I appreciate Sabetha Middle School Principal Tom Palmer for hosting the meeting.
On Friday, I visited with folks at Highland Community College. Our conversation focused on concerns with federal mandates and overregulation, as well as the importance of preserving rural Kansas. Thanks to Highland Community College President David Reist for attending and hosting the town hall meeting.
Now Accepting Spring 2015 Internship Applications
I am now accepting applications for paid congressional internships in my Washington, D.C., and Kansas offices for spring 2015. An internship in my office – either legislative or communications – provides a unique opportunity to work closely with Senate staff on behalf of the state of Kansas. Legislative interns will gain a better understanding of the legislative process in the U.S. Congress, and develop knowledge and professional skills valuable to future career pursuits. Communications internships offer an intern the chance to learn about how political communications and the legislative process intersect, and gain practical knowledge about the inner workings of a fast-paced press office.
The application deadline for spring 2015 is November 1, 2014. Applications may be obtained and completed under the “Services” section of my website at www.moran.senate.gov. Applicants should submit a completed application form, resume, academic transcript, two letters of recommendation, and a cover letter explaining their interest in public service and addressing a policy issue of personal importance and a suggested recommendation to resolve that issue. Please submit required materials to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kansas City Royals to the World Series
On Wednesday, Kansas City Royals fans awoke to realize the World Series is not just a dream, but will actually be played at The K on Tuesday night. My wife Robba was at the games in ‘85 and we’ll be cheering on the Royals again this time as they seek to bring the world championship back to Kansas City. Let’s go, Royals!
Kansans in the Office
AUSA Manhattan Delegation
Christine Benne of Manhattan
Robert Boyd of Manhattan
Wynn Butler of Manhattan
Ron Fehr of Manhattan
Rich Jankovich of Manhattan
Janet Nichols of Manhattan
Mike Shilling of Manhattan
Fred Willich of Manhattan
AUSA Junction City Delegation
Cheryl Beatty of Junction City
Jon Weigand of Junction City
Ben Falennett of Junction City
Mike Ryan of Junction City
Mick McCallister of Junction City
Randy O’Boyle of Manhattan
Mennonite Central Committee
Karin Kaufman Wall of Newton
Irma Gonzalez of Newton
Mike Hagedorn of Leawood
Steve Hower of Olathe
Liana Hower of Olathe
Morgan Moxley of Leavenworth
Tresann Dawson of Lawrence
Justin Dawson of Lawrence
Timothy Underwood of Olathe
Tammy Underwood of Olathe
Justine Underwood of Olathe
Donna Rusco of Great Bend
Clark Rusco of Great Bend
Mike Watkins of Great Bend
Dixie Watkins of Great Bend
Honored to Serve You in Washington
It is an honor to serve you in Washington, D.C. Thank you to the many Kansans who have been calling and writing in to share their thoughts and opinions on the issues our state and country face. I appreciate the words of Kansans, whether in the form of a form of letter, a Facebook comment or a phone call, who wish to make their voice heard.
Very truly yours,
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