Dr. Rex Archer is the director of the Kansas City, Mo., Health Department, which administers everything from flu shots to restaurant inspections. Archer says he is responsible for 480,000 patients and that social equity is the key to the city's future.
He answered five questions as part of our monthly series, KC Checkup.
What do you see as the biggest priority for health right now?
A device invented by scientists at the University of Kansas Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University may one day restore movement in people with traumatic brain injuries. It works in rats, and researchers are hopeful that the promise won't stop there.
The device is a battery-powered microprocessor designed to record electrical impulses in one part of the brain, and relay them to another part of the brain.
Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Mo., has named Jacqueline DeSouza as its next CEO. DeSouza is currently CEO of Lee’s Summit Medical Center. Both hospitals are part of the HCA Midwest Health System.
In 2012, DeSouza was named one the Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare in America by Modern Healthcare magazine. She is the first woman and person of color to head the organization. She will start Feb. 10.
At the University of Kansas, some chemical engineers study petroleum, others work on solvents. Then there’s Professor Stevin Gehrke. He casts his scientific lens downward, looking for the future of medicine in things that scurry underfoot.
“What’s different about a bug that goes ‘squish’ when you step on it and a bug that goes ‘crunch’ when you step on it?” Gehrke describes his work.
Gov. Sam Brownback talks with Capt. Doug Paresi of the Kansas City, Kan. Police Department. Paresi said the reconfigured Rainbow Mental Health Facility would give law enforcement a new option for dealing with mentally ill persons who otherwise might end up behind bars.
Gov. Sam Brownback Thurday unveiled his administration’s plan for reopening the Rainbow Mental Health Facility.
“I think this is a winner,” Brownback said, referring to a Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services plan for privatizing the state hospital’s operations.
The plan calls for converting the former 50-bed inpatient facility to a 10-bed “crisis stabilization resource” designed to connect people with serious and persistent mental illness to community-based services.
A federal Medicaid official says Kansas is making "substantial progress" toward a major expansion of the Medicaid privatization program known as KanCare.
During a statewide teleconference Wednesday, Kansas officials said the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is on the verge of approving the state’s plan to move residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities to the program. It would put residential, employment, and independent living services under the control of the private insurance companies that run KanCare.
Kansas ranks near the top of states and Missouri near the bottom when it comes to protecting physicians against lawsuits.That's according to a new report card from the American College of Emergency Physicians. The report applauds Kansas’s malpractice tort reform but condemns Missouri for its higher-than-average malpractice award payments.
The physician’s group behind the new rankings says medical lawsuits drive up health costs as much as 108 billion dollars a year nationally.
Three years ago, a Spring Hill High football player collapsed on the field after a stunning play. The cause? Brain hemorrhaging due to a concussion that went unrecognized and untreated. With sports-related brain injuries on the rise, many are calling for major safety reforms and a new approach to handle the problem.
On Thursday's Up to Date, we discuss how the approach to these types of concussions is changing and check in with the experts who are leading the culture shift in concussion treatment.
The Kansas legislature is back in session this week but they probably won’t be debating a Medicaid expansion, after a recommendation from Gov. Sam Brownback.
Expansion supporters had hoped that at least an expansion compromise could happen this year. But the governor’s statement makes any expansion in the near future all but impossible, because the GOP controlled House has said they will only take up the issue at the governor's urging.
Still, many in the state are pushing for some change to Medicaid, which was intended to be part of the Affordable Care Act.
Changes to insurance have been getting all the headlines, but the Affordable Care Act aims to change the way doctors operate as well.
The federal law offers incentives for health providers to work together to keep Medicare patients healthy in hopes of saving money. Whether this approach can actually create savings is still unclear, and many doctors remain skeptical. But in Kansas City, a few doctors are teaming up.
The so-called swine flu is back. New numbers come out last week, but still early in the season, the virus has sent droves to the hospital and put an unlikely section of the population at risk.
Back in 2009, the H1N1 virus caused a pandemic, infecting nearly 60 million in the United States. This season, local reports of H1N1, along with other flu types, began to surge in early December 2013, according to the Kansas City, Missouri Health Department.
The Department’s Jeff Hershberger says it’s not just the elderly and children in danger.
Halfway through January, and it's a time for a serious question. Are you going to bear down and get started on that new year’s commitment to regular exercise and healthy eating? Or are you going to let this year's goal lapse and be forgotten?
On Tuesday's Central Standard, Brian Ellison talks with an exercise scientist and a behavior modification expert helps us understand how we can change those habits and why we usually don’t. You can learn why for so many of us, the resolutions are already over.
The University of Kansas School of Medicine announced Tuesday afternoon that Dr. Robert Samari will become the school's new executive dean.
Samari comes from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., where he currently serves as vice chair of the Division of Cardiovascular Diseases and co-director of the Mayo Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences.
Simari grew up in Overland Park and graduated from Shawnee Mission West High School. He received his medical degree from KU in 1986.
Kansas will receive a bonus of $10.8 million in federal Medicaid funding for improving access to and increasing enrollment in the Children's Health Insurance Program, which is part of the Medicaid program.
Kansas has received similar bonuses from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for each of the last five years. Bonus amounts correspond to increases in enrollment of children in Medicaid.
Editor's note: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services did not approve the inclusion of long-term services for the intellectually and developmentally disabled into KanCare, according to a report published this morning by the Kansas Health Institute. We will update this post as more information becomes available.
The original story, reported prior to the report, starts here:
Kansas City has seen a steady, week-by-week rise in the number of people reported suffering from influenza.
That is a significant increase, according to Jeff Hershberger of the health department, who said 264 cases, most of which were Type A, turned up the week of Dec. 15, 100 more than the week before and more than double from Dec. 1.
The most recent report includes 259 of Type A flu, two of Type B and three that are undefined.
Since the flu season started at the end of September, Hershberger says they’ve counted 570 cases.
Late nights, too much microwave popcorn and a whole lot of work—getting used to college in your first semester is tough.
On Monday's Up to Date, psychologist Wes Crenshaw joins us to talk about the difficulties freshmen have adjusting to a whole new lifestyle away from home. Steve Kraske's son, Nick, just finished his first taste of college, and he joins us to give the view from the trenches.
In a phone conversation on Thursday afternoon, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius discussed some of the current issues surrounding the Affordable Care Act.
Sebelius has faced criticism over the health exchange rollout, canceled insurance policies and abortion coverage. Some of her strongest critics hail from Kansas, the state where Sebelius twice served as governor.
Insurance shoppers will need to register on the marketplaces by Monday, Dec. 23 to get coverage starting on Jan. 1, 2014. Open enrollment will continue until March 31.
Gov. Jay Nixon says Missouri is sorely lacking in mental health services, but he hopes to fix that with more higher education spending.
Speaking Wednesday at UMKC’s School of Nursing, the Governor said his balanced budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2015 included $20 million in grants for schools to train future psychiatrists, psychologist and mental health nurses.
Only 10 of the state’s 114 counties currently have adequate mental health care, according to a federal report.
In the past, the standard treatments for hepatitis C have been nearly as bad as the disease, making some patients feel like they have a severe flu. And, even with treatment, hepatitis C often doesn’t get better. But things could be changing for the over three million people infected in the United States. A new class of improved hepatitis C drugs is emerging, and they're being tested in Kansas City.
“When you get a call that says you’ve got hepatitis, it’s a wakeup call,” says 57-year old Bob Barber.
Bacterial meningitis has been in the news recently, with outbreaks at Princeton University and the University of California, Santa Barbara. But nine years ago, it made local headlines when a University of Kansas student became seriously ill with the disease overnight.
In the second part of Wednesday's Up to Date, we talk with that student, now a reporter in Topeka, about the disabling effects of the disease and how it's changed his life.
Perhaps you feel a little warm, more tired than usual, congested and maybe even achy. At this point you might ask yourself is it worth it to go to work?
Or perhaps your child looks pale and complains of an upset stomach, do you let her or him stay home from school? If you decide to tough it out perhaps you wonder if you're putting others at risk by going to work or sending your child to school.
Now that healthcare.gov has undergone some major tweaks, supporters of the Affordable Care Act hope that a lot more people will go online and compare insurance rates. But what might surprise shoppers is how rates and subsidies vary depending on their address.
In Missouri, insurance buyers in different parts of the Show-Me State are seeing some of the most extreme cost differences in the country.
On Monday morning, Kansas Department of Health and Environment director of Health Care Finance, Kari Bruffett, addressed a packed legislative oversight meeting about issues with Kansas' new privatized Medicaid program, KanCare. Her department oversees the work of the three managed care companies that started administering the program that was rolled out this year.
She said that most of the glitches that came at the start of KanCare have been fixed, and the new system is now working nearly as well as the old Medicaid system.