Health

Health
8:19 am
Thu June 26, 2014

KC Checkup: Five Questions For Scott Lakin

Scott Lakin
Credit Alex Smith / KCUR

Kansas City is known for lots of things: barbecue, the Country Club Plaza, broad boulevards, the place where Walt Disney grew up.

Less flatteringly, Kansas Citians are fatter, exercise less and smoke more than most of the rest of the country.

As leader of the Mid-America Regional Coalition’s Regional Health Care Initiative, Scott Lakin works to address those unhealthy distinctions. Lakin is a former Missouri state representative and one-time director of the Missouri Department of Insurance.

He answered five questions as part of our monthly series, KC Checkup:

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Health
2:10 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Children's Mercy Hospital Homes In On LGBT Health Disparities

Children's Mercy Hospital is the only hospital in the Kansas City area currently recognized as a 'Leader in LGBT Healthcare.'
Credit wikipedia.org

Different populations have different healthcare needs, and providing optimal care to the estimated 89,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals in Kansas City is an ongoing challenge for local hospitals and clinics.

Studies have identified the many health disparities faced by the LGBT community, and Kansas City is no exception. A 2012 report by the Missouri Foundation for Health says that LGBT Missourians are more likely to experience poor health outcomes than their heterosexual peers. 

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Health
6:24 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

KC Photo Exhibit Takes Aim At Stigma Associated With HIV And AIDS

Keith
Duane Cramer Duane Cramer Creative

This Friday is National HIV Testing Day, first created almost 20 years ago to encourage members of the public to learn their HIV status. Since then, what it means to be HIV-positive has changed dramatically.

Individuals diagnosed as positive today can expect to live as long as they would without the virus, as long as they receive treatment.

But many HIV patients, especially in African American communities, don't receive the treatment they need, and health advocates blame that on the stigma associated with HIV and AIDS.

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Health
5:43 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Truman Med Could Get Hit With Penalty Over Infection Rates

Truman Medical Center Hospital Hill
Credit Wikimedia-CC

Truman Medical Center Hospital Hill is among 175 hospitals nationwide most likely to be penalized with the loss of Medicare payments because of high rates of infection and other complications.

In April, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services calculated preliminary “hospital-acquired condition” scores from 1 to 10, with one being best and 10 being worst.

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Health
4:37 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Groups Question Changes To Kansas Nursing Home Disclosures

Mitzi McFatrich, executive director of Kansas Advocates for Better Care, has some concerns about a change in the state's nursing home inspection reporting process.
Credit Dave Ranney / KHI News Service

The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services is changing the way it shares its reports on nursing home conditions with the public.

The new system, officials say, will make the reports more accurate and more accessible.

But for a group that supports nursing home residents and their families, the changes will make it harder to know which homes are the subjects of complaints and investigations of substandard care.

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Health
10:19 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Missouri Measure Would Enact ‘Right to Try’ Drug Program For Dying Patients

If you were dying and had exhausted all conventional treatment options, wouldn’t you want immediate access to a drug that might prove to be a miracle cure?

That’s the promise of legislation that, if signed by Gov. Jay Nixon, would make Missouri the third state in the country - after Colorado and Louisiana – to enact a so-called “Right to Try” law, which aims to get  investigational drugs into the hands of terminally ill patients as quickly as possible.

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Health
9:48 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Report: Expanded Liquor Sales In Kansas Could Have Health Consequences

Credit Matteo Paciotti / Flickr -- Creative Commons

Expanding liquor sales to grocery and convenience stores in Kansas could lead to more underage drinking, according to a new report from the Kansas Health Institute.

The report, called a health impact assessment, is designed to give policymakers information about the potential health consequences of expanded liquor sales.

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Health
4:32 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Rose Brooks Domestic Violence Shelter Opens On-Site Clinic

Women and children escaping domestic abuse often need more than shelter. Many also have serious medical issues.

To address them, Rose Brooks Center, one of the area's largest domestic violence shelters, on Thursday opened a new two-bed health clinic inside its Kansas City facility.

Susan Miller, Rose Brooks' CEO, says the clinic will fill a vital need for the more than 800 women and children sheltered by the agency each year.

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Central Standard
3:26 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Glore Psychiatric Museum Is A Missouri Mental Health Time Capsule

Devices like "fever cabinets" (on view at the Glore Psychiatric Museum) were used to treat mental illness before medical advances rendered them obsolete.
Credit Gina Kaufmann, KCUR

On Thursday's Central Standard, we looked back at the history of intervention in mental health crises, going all the way back to the 19th century. 

The Glore Psychiatric Museum (formerly known as State Lunatic Asylum #2) captures both the treatments of the past and the controversies they sparked. Treatments in mental health hospitals once ranged from a "bath of surprise," which disrupted thought-patterns by dropping the patient into a shockingly cold bath, to lobotomies and fever cabinets.

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Health
11:46 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Survey: Most Buying On Insurance Exchanges Weren’t Previously Covered

Kaiser Health News 

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Health
8:23 am
Thu June 19, 2014

AARP Ranks Kansas 17th In Long-term Care For Disabled And Elderly

Kansas’ efforts to address the ever-burgeoning needs of its aged and disabled populations rank 17th best in the nation, according to a scorecard released Thursday by AARP.

“Seventeenth — that places us in the second quartile of states, or somewhere toward the middle of the road,” says Maren Turner, director of AARP Kansas. “Kansas can do better than that. I mean, who wants to receive middle-of the-road services? Most people don’t.”

Kansas ranked 18th in a similar report last year. It came in ninth in 2011.

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Central Standard
3:32 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Counting Kansas City's Pollen

Charles Barnes in his laboratory at Children's Mercy.
Credit Cody Newill / KCUR

On Wednesday's Central Standard, we speak with the person who can explain why you've been sneezing more than usual. Charles Barnes tells us everything we ever wanted to know about pollen, especially how much of it is floating through our air.

Guests:

  • Charles Barnes, Director of the Allergy and Immunology Laboratory at Children's Mercy Hospital
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Health
2:28 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Former Kansas Family Still Hopeful Medical Marijuana Will Help Their Epileptic Son

Ryan and Kathy Reed recently moved from Kansas to Colorado hoping that a marijuana extract legally available in there will help control their son Otis' epileptic seizures.
Credit Trevor Graff / KHI News Service

Ryan and Kathy Reed celebrated their son Otis’ third birthday last week, hoping that better days are ahead for him in the family’s new Colorado home.

Otis suffers from uncontrollable epileptic seizures. His body stiffens with them hundreds of times each day.

The Reeds left Kansas for Colorado in early May to gain access to medical marijuana for Otis. He received his first dose of non-psychotropic marijuana extract – known as Charlotte’s Web – on May 8. In the weeks since, steady increases in the dosage have helped Otis to sleep better but haven’t reduced his seizures.

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Health
11:16 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Obamacare Enrollees In Missouri And Kansas Pay Less Than $100 A Month With Tax Credits

A new report analyzing health plan enrollment through the federal Health Insurance Marketplace shows that most people who signed up — about 70 percent — are paying less than $100 a month for coverage after their advance tax credits are accounted for and nearly half those who enrolled are paying less than $50 per month.

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Health
8:49 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Say What? Many Patients Struggling To Learn The Foreign Language Of Health Insurance

Jessie Yuan, physician at the Eisner Pediatric and Family Health Center in Los Angeles, treats diabetic patient Oscar Gonzales. Gonzalez was unaware he had been switched to Medi-Cal until Yuan informed him about the change.
Credit Anna Gorman / Kaiser Health News

Kaiser Health News

As soon as Deb Emerson, a former high school teacher from Oroville, Calif., bought a health plan in January through the state’s insurance exchange, she felt overwhelmed.

She couldn’t figure out what was covered and what wasn’t. Why weren’t her anti-depressant medications included?  Why did she have to pay $60 to see a doctor? The insurance jargon - deductible, co-pay, premium, co-insurance - was like a foreign language. What did it mean?

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Health
8:44 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Kansas Hospitals Crafting Medicaid Expansion Proposal

Tom Bell, chief executive of the Kansas Hospital Association, says the group plans to submit proposed legislation to expand Medicaid in Kansas.
Credit Kansas Hospital Association

It’s make-or-break time for advocates of Medicaid expansion in Kansas.

Fearing that political events may be conspiring to foreclose the opportunity to use mostly federal dollars to extend coverage to thousands of uninsured poor adults, the Kansas Hospital Association is preparing to shift its lobbying campaign into high gear.

The first step, says Tom Bell, the association’s chief executive, will be to craft an expansion proposal for lawmakers to consider in the 2015 session.

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Health
8:38 am
Tue June 17, 2014

VA Rural Health Care Pilot Under The Gun In Kansas

Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran says a Veterans Administration pilot program offering timely quality health care to rural veterans is being allowed to expire in a few months, even though VA officials tell members of Congress no decision has been made.

Moran and four of his colleagues sent a letter to the VA Secretary seeking an explanation. 

The pilot program, called Access Received Closer to Home, or ARCH, is offered through five pilot sites across the country, including one in Pratt, Kan.

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Health
8:17 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Kansas Sees Significant Increase In Medicaid/CHIP Enrollment

Unlike its neighboring states of Missouri and Nebraska, where significant decreases have been reported, Kansas has seen a significant jump in the number of people enrolled in its Medicaid/CHIP programs, even without loosening its relatively tight eligibility standards.

According to a new report from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, enrollment in the programs — together branded as KanCare — rose in April to a historic high of 426,642 people, or roughly one in seven Kansans. That’s up from 396,374 in April 2013.

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Health
2:22 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Lawmakers: Vets Complain Topeka VA Canceled Or Rescheduled Appointments

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran
Credit file photo

The Topeka Colmery-O’Neil VA Medical Center has not been implicated in the waiting-list scandal unfolding across the country.

But on Friday, two Republican members of the Kansas congressional delegation, U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran and U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, said their offices have fielded numerous complaints from veterans in recent months about long-standing appointments being canceled or rescheduled at the last minute.

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Health
8:13 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Pre-surgery Checklist Aims To Make Wichita Hospitals Among Safest In Nation

Wichita-area doctors and hospitals have adopted a pre-surgery checklist designed to make the city’s operating rooms among the safest in the nation.

“If you go to the Hospital Compare website and look at ‘antibiotic prophylaxis ordered’ under ‘procedures and core measures,’ you’ll see that we’re at 99-plus percent,” says Dr. Randall Morgan, an obstetrician and chair of the Wichita Quality Health Collaborative’s Surgical Safety Committee.

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Health
2:12 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Hospital Association Execs: Medicaid Expansion Would Aid Thousands Of Vets

Tom Bell, president and CEO of the Kansas Hospital Association.
Credit Kansas Hospital Association

The chief executives of  the Missouri and Kansas hospital associations say thousands of uninsured veterans would be eligible for coverage if Medicaid were expanded in those states. 

In an opinion piece that ran in The Kansas City Star on Tuesday, they estimated that more than 37,000 veterans in Missouri and Kansas would qualify for Medicaid coverage under expansion.

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Up To Date
11:05 am
Thu June 12, 2014

Yoga Master Max Strom

Credit www.maxstrom.com

There is no app for happiness. So reads the title of Max Strom's new book that examines what holds us back from being happier people. Turns out that one big obstacle is technology, which has only made many of us more depressed, anxious, sleep deprived and over-medicated. On Thursday's Up to Date Steve Kraske talks with the yoga master about how inner calm and self-awareness can help people cope with the stress our devices bring.

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Health
2:01 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

New Federal Rules Likely To Impact Kansas Assisted Living Facilities

Cindy Luxem, chief executive of the Kansas Health Care Association, says new regulations could have major consequences for senior care providers.
Credit KHI News Service

Providers of home and community-based (HCBS) Medicaid services and their state overseers are preparing for a raft of new federal rules that are intended to assure that the people who receive the services have more say in how they are helped and that their living conditions are “non-institutional.”

The regulations could have major consequences for many beneficiaries and the businesses and organizations that help them, particularly for some senior care providers who operate assisted living facilities attached to or in near proximity to nursing homes.

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Health
3:56 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Want Medicaid Expansion? You Can Move, Missouri Senator Says

Missouri Senator Ed Emery's letter explains his reasons for opposing Medicaid expansion.
Credit Debbie Cole

How divisive was the debate over Medicaid expansion in Missouri this year?

Just ask Debbie Cole, a 51-year-old mother of four who lives in Butler, Mo., and signed a petition asking state legislators to extend Medicaid to cover more low-income residents.

“We all live different lives, and some people out there may be working two or three jobs and have no insurance, and they need it to survive,” she says.

About a month after signing the petition, Cole got a letter from her state senator, Republican Ed Emery of Lamar.

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Veterans
9:16 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Veterans Say Long Wait Times Are Just Part Of The Problem At VA

VFW Adjunct General John Hamilton, center, speaks at a town hall meeting convened to discuss issues with veterans' care.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

For months, Kansas City resident Cherie Fishback has been writing letters to the Department of Veterans Affairs on behalf of her boyfriend, Lee Murphy, who last year had to have emergency gallbladder surgery.

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Health
7:36 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Area Legislator: Missouri Lawmakers Nearly Reached Medicaid Expansion Deal

Missouri state Sen. Ryan Silvey, a Republican from Lamar, says lawmakers came close to expanding Medicaid eligibility.
Credit Missouri News Horizon / Flickr--CC

A last-minute deal to expand Medicaid in Missouri almost materialized in the waning days of this year’s legislative session, briefly breathing life into an issue that had seemed all but doomed.

Missouri State Sen. Ryan Silvey, a Kansas City Republican, provided a behind-the-scenes look at high-level negotiations that occurred just before the session ended without an agreement to expand Medicaid eligibility.

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Foster Care
2:31 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Number Of Children In Kansas Foster Care Hits Record High

The number of Kansas children in foster care is at an all-time high.
Credit Cathy Mores / KHI News Service

The number of Kansas children in foster care has reached an all-time high. The explanations why vary.

In April, there were 6,156 children in the system. That’s 356 more children than in April 2013 and 872 more than two years earlier.

Dona Booe, chief executive of the Kansas Children's Service League, sees the escalating numbers as evidence of a building crisis.

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Health
9:44 am
Mon June 9, 2014

Foundation President Sounds Alarm On State’s Drop In Health Rankings

Dr. David Kessler, a former head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, led an effort to reduce tobacco use and now sees obesity as a top threat to Americans' health.
Credit Jim McLean / KHI News Service

Kansas Health Foundation President Steve Coen was blunt and to the point.

“Kansas is sick,” Coen said in opening remarks Thursday at the foundation’s 2014 Health Symposium in Wichita. “Something has gone seriously wrong in the state of Kansas, and we’ve got to do something to get it back on track.”

Coen’s diagnosis was based on the 2013 health rankings compiled by the United Health Foundation, which listed Kansas as the 27th healthiest state in the nation.

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Health
3:02 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

Two Measles Cases In Johnson County Spur Investigation

Kansas state health officials confirmed two cases of measles in Johnson County Friday. The cases may be linked to four others on the Missouri side of Kansas City.

Kansas Department of Health and Environment spokeswoman Aimee Rosenow says everyone at risk of exposure is being contacted, and the investigation into the two Johnson County cases is ongoing.

One of the patients is an unvaccinated child, the other is an adult. 

"We're not certain of the vaccination status of the adult, but they are connected," she says.

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Veterans Affairs
3:00 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

Sen. Blunt: Kansas City VA Medical Center Kept Unauthorized Cardiology Waiting List

Kansas City VA Medical Center
Credit File / U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Update, 4:45 p.m.:

The Kansas City Veterans Affairs Medical Center says its cardiology clinic never kept a secret waiting list, but "a serious clerical mistake" delayed several veterans waiting for follow-up care.

Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt flagged the facility Thursday in a growing scandal over long wait times for veterans. He told reporters he planned to press the hospital for more information "based on my firm belief the Kansas City Medical Center is likely to be found to be one of those hospitals that has a secret waiting list."

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