Treads and Threads benefit raises $2.3 million

Treads and Threads, the annual benefit for the University of Kansas Health System, has raised more than $2.3 million, according to a news release.

It is the largest amount ever raised by the fundraiser. Proceeds will go to the new Proton Therapy Center and to help cancer patients at the University of Kansas Health System.

The event, held last weekend, featured creative black-tie attire, food and drink, the country music band Alabama, all at the Truman Sports Complex area between Arrowhead and Kauffman stadiums.

“What a great night,” said Shawn Long, vice president of philanthropy and corporate outreach, in the news release. “This was an incredible venue. We want to thank the Chiefs and Royals for being such wonderful hosts.” The University of Kansas Health System is the official healthcare provider of both teams.

The news release also expressed thanks to all sponsors and supporters, including chairs Greg and Deanna Graves, Frank and Barclay Ross and Lisa and Barry Ginter.

Bivalent COVID boosters available starting today in Wyandotte County

The Unified Government Health Department is offering the new bivalent COVID boosters beginning this week.

Eligible persons ages 12 and older will be able to receive the bivalent COVID boosters at the Unified Government Health Department, 619 Ann Ave., Kansas City, Kansas, starting today through appointment only, according to a spokesman. To make an appointment for the COVID vaccines and boosters, call 913-573-8815.

The new Pfizer and Moderna boosters are bivalent, meaning they protect against both the original virus that causes COVID as well as the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variants of the virus, the variants responsible for most recent COVID cases.

The bivalent booster is available for those ages 12 and older who have completed the primary vaccination series and received their most recent COVID vaccine or booster at least two months ago, according to the Health Department.

The availability of the vaccines follows Federal Drug Administration authorization and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

The CDC, KDHE and UG Health Department recommend that everyone who is eligible get the new bivalent booster to stay up-to-date on their vaccinations to get the best protection against COVID. The Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of the virus began increasing in May 2022, and they now account for almost all recent COVID cases in Kansas, Missouri and the United States, according to the Health Department.

These variants are predicted to continue circulating this fall and winter. These subvariants are more contagious than previous strains of the virus, the Health Department stated. While COVID vaccination and the old boosters still protect against serious illness or hospitalization, they offer limited protection against getting mild to moderate COVID illness from the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variants. The new bivalent COVID boosters, however, are made specifically to protect against these subvariants, in addition to continued protection against the original strain, according to the Health Department.

Under the updated Emergency Use Authorizations from the FDA, the previous monovalent boosters, which did not have the same level of protection against Omicron, are no longer authorized for people ages 12 and older, according to the Health Department. For this reason, the Health Department and other COVID vaccine providers had put booster appointments for people ages 12 and older on hold until the new vaccines arrived.

The bivalent COVID boosters are authorized for people ages 12 and older who have been vaccinated and received their most recent dose at least two months ago.

This includes:
• Individuals ages 12 and older who completed the primary series of COVIC vaccinations at least two months ago, and have not yet received a booster; and
• Individuals ages 12 and older who completed the primary series and have received one or more doses of the previous monovalent COVID booster at least two months ago.

People ages 18 and older can receive either the Pfizer or the Moderna bivalent booster, according to the Health Department. People ages 12 to 17 can only receive the Pfizer bivalent booster at this time.

Recommendations for children under age 12 have not changed. Children ages 6 months and older are eligible to receive a primary series of COVID vaccines. Some children ages 5 to 11 are eligible for the original monovalent booster, Pfizer only at this time.

For more information, see

– Information from UG Health Department

New law to lower prescription drug costs will help Kansas residents

U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, D-3rd Dist., said allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower drug costs will help put money back in residents’ pockets.

Rep. Davids recently held a roundtable discussion on new provisions to lower the cost of prescription drugs in Kansas. Davids also joined Glenda DuBoise, state director of AARP Kansas for a virtual town hall to speak directly to Kansas seniors about these new cost-saving measures.

Americans pay two to three times what citizens of other countries pay for prescription drugs. Thanks to a new federal law, beginning next year several policies will go into effect to help Kansans afford their medications, including a cap on insulin prices for Medicare beneficiaries, rebates if pharmaceutical companies raise prices faster than inflation, and the first-ever out-of-pocket cap on seniors’ medication costs.

“There’s no reason Kansans should pay so much more for medicines than people in other countries, and we’re finally starting to change that,” Rep. Davids said. “Allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower drug costs has been a priority of mine since coming to Congress, and I am so glad we were finally able to get it done. These new provisions will put money back in Kansans’ pockets and reduce the stress of having to choose between life-saving medications and other necessary expenses.”

New, key provisions that will save Kansans’ money on prescription drugs include:

• Capping insulin copays at $35 per month for Medicare beneficiaries. An estimated 28,000 Kansas Medicare beneficiaries used insulin in 2020. Starting next year, their costs will be capped at $35 a month for life-saving insulin.

• Capping seniors’ out-of-pocket costs at $2,000. Starting in 2024, Medicare prescription drug plans must offer improved financial protections and in 2025, a $2,000 out-of-pocket cap will take effect. Each year, that will benefit about 18,000 Kansas Medicare beneficiaries who would otherwise have out-of-pocket costs above the cap—and, for the first time, all 401,000 Kansans with Medicare Part D will have the peace of mind of knowing their pharmacy costs are capped.

• Allowing Medicare to negotiate prices for high-cost drugs. Approximately 5 to 7 million Americans on Medicare will likely see reduced costs on their most expensive medications thanks to Medicare negotiation. Additionally, billions of taxpayer dollars will be saved and put towards reducing the national debt.

• Addressing skyrocketing prescription drug prices. Starting next year, companies will be required to pay Medicare a rebate if they increase prices faster than inflation.

While these savings were included in the Davids-supported Inflation Reduction Act, comprehensive legislation to lower health care and energy costs and reduce the national debt by more than $300 billion, Rep. Davids has been working to lower health care costs since before her election. She led her colleagues on similar actions to lower the price of prescription drugs and co-sponsored legislation to do so. She also released a report on the high price of insulin in the Kansas Third and held a roundtable with local parents to discuss how the rising cost of insulin impacts their family after voting to cap insulin co-pays at $35 a month for all Americans.

  • Story from Rep. Davids’ office