Kansas stories: Mary

April 2023

Mary is from Prairie Village. She is a mom who moved to Kansas from Arizona many years ago. When she moved here, she wanted to settle down, establish roots, and buy a home.

After arriving in Kansas, Mary started working in a factory. She also took jobs landscaping and cleaning houses. Unfortunately none of her jobs offered employer-sponsored health insurance.

But in 2007, she started having trouble with her back. About six years ago she had to stop doing this work due to three herniated discs. She also developed high blood pressure, COPD and breathing issues.

Because she didn’t have health insurance, Mary started seeing providers at Health Partnership Clinic to address her health issues. Health Partnership Clinic is a federally qualified health center (FQHC) who provides care on a sliding fee schedule and sees patients with or without health insurance. However, there is more care Mary needs to address her health issues, like physical therapy and prescription medication. Unfortunately she is unable to get these things because she is uninsured.

Mary has tried to qualify for the state’s Medicaid program, KanCare, many times, but is denied each time because the parameters for the program are so narrow.

“I feel like I have been swept under the rug,” Mary said. “If I was able to go to physical therapy twice a week, I think it would allow me a little more mobility.”

Mary feels that not having health insurance has kept her from being a productive member of society. She wants to get back to working and volunteering and doing all of the things she used to do, but in order to do that, she needs access to affordable health care.

“Having access to Medicaid would make me a better and more productive citizen in my community.”