Health

Up To Date
10:35 am
Tue May 20, 2014

Clay County Measles Cases Spark Immunization Concerns

'Up to Date' host Steve Kraske sits down with a panel of experts to talk about the recent Clay County measles cases and immunization.
Credit Carol E. Davis, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers / Flickr-CC

A small outbreak of measles stemming from a Clay County family has some area doctors worried that more may catch the illness. After traveling abroad to the Pacific Rim, an infant who wasn't immunized to the disease was diagnosed and spread it to two family members last week.

In the first segment of Tuesday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske sits down with a panel of experts to discuss the recent measles cases and the cultural struggles surrounding immunization in the United States.

Guests:

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Health
10:02 am
Tue May 20, 2014

KDHE Probes 7 Reports Of Toxin-Related Kidney Failure

State health officials are looking for connections in seven reported cases of kidney failure commonly caused by a type of bacteria sometimes found in food. 

A total of seven cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome have been reported to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. These cases have not been confirmed yet, according to KDHE spokeswoman Sara Belfry. 

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Health
2:39 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Why Your Allergies Seem To Be Worse This Year In Kansas City

Pollen from trees and other plants hit an all-time-high in Kansas City about two weeks ago.
Credit Emily Whitty / Submitted photo

If your allergies seem more severe this year in Kansas City, you're not alone.

That's according to Dr. Jay Portnoy, who leads the allergy and asthma department at Children's Mercy Hospital.

"We've been tracking pollen for 15 years in the Kansas City area and over that time, the pollen count has been slowly increasing," Portnoy says. "Each year is getting a little bit worse."  

On Thursday, Portnoy explained to Up To Date Host Steve Kraske that the day's tree pollen count was only 529, but two weeks ago, it hit an all-time high of 9,000.

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Health
11:04 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Survey: Nearly Half Of Kansas City Jail Inmates Report Mental Health Problems

Nearly half of all inmates at the municipal jail in Kansas City, Mo., indicated they had a mental health problem, according to the latest results from a periodic survey administered by an outside contractor.

Roughly 45 percent of the respondents answered “yes” when asked if they thought they had a mental health problem or had been told they had one, according to the survey results, which were delivered earlier this month.

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Health
10:14 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Plans Advance For Mental Health Crisis Center In Kansas City

Mattresses line the walls of the sobering unit in the newly reopened Rainbow Mental Health Facility in Kansas City, Kan.
Credit Mike Sherry / The Hale Center for Journalism

 

Representatives from a broad spectrum of agencies and organizations, including hospitals and courts, are crystallizing plans they hope will help solve a health problem in Kansas City, Mo.

The issue is that people who are high, drunk or in psychiatric crisis clog emergency rooms and tie up first-responders with needs more suited to mental health intervention, according to organizers.

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Up To Date
10:36 am
Thu May 15, 2014

Fighting Off Allergies

Pollen is just one of the perpetrators of seasonal allergies, as 'Up to Date' host Steve Kraske well knows.
Credit Brooke Novak / Flickr-CC

There's one topic that keeps on giving year after year: allergies. From seasonal, to year-round, gluten to peanuts, allergies affect over 65 million people in the United States alone.

In the first segment of Thursday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske discusses all things mold, pollen, and food protein with Dr. Jay Portnoy​, who heads the allergy and asthma department at Children's Mercy Hospital.

Guest:

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Health
5:10 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Community Blood Center To Merge With New York Blood Center

The Community Blood Center of Greater Kansas City will merge with the New York Blood Center, one of the largest independent community-based blood centers in the United States.

In a statement Monday, the Kansas City organization said the merger would provide a “greater breadth of services, efficiency and financial stability.”

Lisa Keller, spokesperson for the Community Blood Center, said plans for the partnership started to develop about three years ago. The merger was prompted, in part, by lower demand for donated blood.

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Health
10:15 am
Tue May 13, 2014

Some Kansans Still Signing Up For Health Coverage Through The Marketplace

In this KHI News Service file photo, Julie Konig, right, a certified application counselor with the Shawnee County Health Agency, talks with a woman seeking insurance through the Obamacare marketplace. People who have had certain "life-changing" events can still enroll in health coverage and need not wait until the 2015 open enrollment period begins on Nov. 15.
Credit Dave Ranney / KHI News Service

More than 57,000 Kansans signed up for health insurance through the federal exchange before the March 31 deadline.

“That was 19.1 percent of all those who were eligible,” said Katrina McGivern, communications coordinator for the Kansas Association for the Medically Underserved, one of the Kansas groups given federal grant dollars to help get people enrolled.

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Health
3:26 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Failure To Expand Medicaid Hits Community Health Centers Hard

Missouri’s refusal to expand Medicaid will leave more than 56,000 patients who use community health centers without insurance, according to a report released Friday by researchers at George Washington University.

Similarly, Kansas’ refusal to expand Medicaid will leave more than 24,000 community health center patients without insurance, according to the report.

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Up to Date
9:00 am
Mon May 12, 2014

Parents, Teens And Attention Deficit Disorder

Dr. Wes Crenshaw joins Steve Kraske to talk about ADD and ADHD.

The terms ADD and ADHD have become common parlance as more and more kids get diagnosed with these attention disorders. But what’s the difference between your average squirmy kid and one who needs treatment?

On Monday's Up to Date, we talk with psychologist Wes Crenshaw and a few local teens about how kids are diagnosed and whether doctors are over-diagnosing when it comes to these conditions. We also take a look at how to get the right treatments and what a difference that can make.

Guests:

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Health
1:52 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

Wyandotte County Officials Face Trust Issue With 'Healthy Campus'

Residents gather to talk about the proposed "Healthy Campus" in Kansas City, Kan.
Credit Mike Sherry / KCPT - Hale Center for Journalism.

A forum on a Wyandotte County health initiative drew a standing-room-only crowd to City Hall Thursday evening, but that level of interest didn’t mean participants believed government officials would follow through with the plan.

In reporting feedback from their break-out sessions, forum organizers said many attendees were skeptical because they believed City Hall had not delivered for them in the past.

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Health
5:08 am
Fri May 9, 2014

Missouri Likely To Remain The Only State Without Prescription Drug Database

Pharmacist Pete Spalitto favors prescription drug monitoring in Missouri.
Credit Alex Smith / KCUR

Missouri has a distinction that troubles many involved in public health: It's the only state in the country that does not monitor prescription drugs.

Some say that heightens the problem of prescription drug abuse.

Missouri legislators are trying to create a drug monitoring system, but concerns over privacy have stirred opposition.

Rising abuse

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Health
7:52 am
Thu May 8, 2014

Missouri And Kansas Rank Low On Public Health Spending, Report Shows

Missouri spends the least on public health per person in the country, according to a new report out from the non-partisan Trust for America's Health. 

The Show-Me state spent just $5.86 per person, compared with a national average of $27.49, in fiscal 2013, the report says.

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Health
9:51 am
Tue May 6, 2014

Study: Expanding Medicaid Would Prevent Cancer Deaths In Kansas

Dr. Edward Ellerbeck, director of the Cancer Control and Population Health Program at the University of Kansas Medical Center, examines a patient.
Credit Jim McLean / KHI News Service

The decision by state officials not to expand Medicaid eligibility could deny thousands of uninsured Kansans access to life-saving cancer treatments, according to a recent report by researchers at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

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Health
12:54 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Summit In KCK Takes Fighting Hunger Beyond The Food Drive

Oran Hesterman, CEO of the Fair Food Network in Ann Arbor, Mich., held up a miniature replica of a billboard his organization had throughout Detroit advertising its Double Up Food Bucks program for food stamp recipients. Hesterman was in Kansas City, Kan., on Thursday for a food summit.
Credit KCPT

John Hornbeck came to a Thursday forum in Kansas City, Kan., with two cans of green beans.

His point was to illustrate that solving hunger isn’t as simple as merely providing someone something to eat — especially when health is thrown into the mix.

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Health
4:34 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

Health Enrollments Through Federal Exchange Double In Missouri And Kansas

Federal health exchange enrollments more than doubled in Missouri and nearly doubled in Kansas in the weeks leading up to the enrollment deadline, according to figures released by the government Thursday. 

In Missouri, enrollment through the federal marketplace shot up to 152,335 - a 105 percent increase over the number who selected a health plan by the end of February. In Kansas, enrollment increased to 57,013 - a 95 percent jump over February.

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Up To Date
1:41 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

Off-Label Drug Use

Credit Google Commons

A doctor looking to help a patient prescribes a medication for a condition it was not originally marketed to treat. How legal, and how risky the off-label use of prescription drugs?On Thursday's Up To Date  Steve Kraske talks with a pharmacist about just how common this practice is among physicians and why drug companies don’t market their products for multiple uses.  

Guest:

Rick Couldry is Director of Pharmacy at the University of Kansas Hospital. 

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Health
4:48 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

HCA To Make Additional $77 Million Payment To Kansas City Health Care Foundation

HCA Inc. on Wednesday agreed to pay $77 million to the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City on top of nearly $162 million it was ordered to pay last year. 

The payment averts a hearing in May in which a judge was to decide how much additional money, if any, HCA owed.

The payment stems from a lawsuit the foundation, which was created from the proceeds of the sale of Health Midwest to HCA in 2003, filed in 2009. The suit alleged that HCA Midwest Health System reneged on obligations it assumed when it bought Health Midwest.

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Health
3:24 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Nixon Proposes Health Insurance Subsidy For Low-Wage Workers

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon unveiled a proposal Wednesday to help low-wage workers get health care coverage.
Credit KCPT

 

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is proposing that the state use federal health dollars to subsidize health insurance for low-wage workers.

Under a program he is calling Missouri Health Works, Nixon wants the state pay a portion of employers’ health insurance costs for their employees who make below 138 percent of the poverty level, or $27,310 annually for a family of three.

The program would be open to businesses with fewer than 150 employees.

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Health
11:59 am
Wed April 30, 2014

Truman Medical Centers Names New CEO

Charles W. Shields has been named the new president and CEO of Truman Medical Centers.
Credit file photo

An executive with TMC Lakewood has been chosen to succeed John W. Bluford III as president and CEO of Truman Medical Centers.  

Charles W. "Charlie" Shields, currently the chief operating officer of TMC Lakewood, part of the TMC Health System,  will replace Bluford, who is retiring in July. 

Shields, a former Missouri state representative and senator, served as president pro tem of the Missouri Senate in 2009. Before joining the TMC system, he was with Heartland Health in St. Joseph. 

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Health
5:47 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Report Finds Kansas Tax Cuts Harm Health Preparedness

Tax cuts in Kansas have "landed with a thud," according to the co-author of a report that criticizes the state's actions for harming public services and sapping the state's long-term economic vitality. 

The report, which was released by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, says massive tax cuts enacted by Kansas lawmakers in 2012 have left the state's schools, public health departments and other public services "stuck in the recession." 

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Health
4:16 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

KanCare Contractors Lost Money In First Year

The three private companies contracted to manage Medicaid services through KanCare lost money in the program's first year, according to a report released this week.

The total losses between the companies come to more than $100 million.

Rep. Jim Ward, a Wichita Democrat, is concerned that could lead to service reductions or the companies pulling out of the program altogether.

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Up to Date
9:00 am
Tue April 29, 2014

Exercise As A Cure-All

Dr. Jordan Metzl is the co-author of 'The Exercise Cure: A Doctor's All-Natural, No-Pill Prescription for Better Health and Longer Life.'

One doctor says he has the ultimate cure-all— and it’s not from a pharmacy.

On Tuesday's Up to Date, we examine the “exercise cure” and how it seems to decrease disease and improve general health.

Guest:

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Health
9:48 am
Mon April 28, 2014

Brownback Makes Move To Deliver On Promise To Reduce Disability Waiting Lists

Nancy Swogar is one of about 230 people served by Johnson County Developmental Supports.
Credit Mike Shields / Kansas Health News

Gov. Sam Brownback said Friday he will ask the Kansas Legislature to approve spending an additional $2.6 million in state funds to help reduce the waiting lists for in-home, Medicaid services for the disabled.

If approved, an estimated 209 additional people would receive the services.

There are about 5,000 people on the waiting lists; more than 3,100 are developmentally disabled. About 1,800 physically disabled people also await services, though administration officials said they were still in the process of verifying the accuracy of that number.

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Up to Date
9:00 am
Mon April 28, 2014

Talking Teeth, Pet-Style

Pet dentist Dr. Scott MaGee asks his patients to open wide.
Credit cloud_nine / Flickr-CC

Cavity-free, pearly-white teeth have long been a status symbol—but how important is it to make sure your pet’s choppers are as pristine as yours?

On Monday's Up to Date, we’ll talk with  Wayne Hunthausen, DVM and veterinarian Scott MacGee who specializes in pet dentistry. We’ll find out just what’s normal for your pet's teeth and, as always, take questions about your companion animal's health and habits.

Guests:

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Health
10:33 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Kansas City Royals To Host Peanut-Free Events For People With Allergies

Weston Miller wears a medical bracelet with information about his severe nut allergies.
Credit Alex Smith / KCUR

The Kansas City Royals said on Thursday that they would offer special events at select games for those with severe peanut allergies.

The announcement was a victory for Janna Miller of Knob Noster, Mo.

In March, Miller started a Facebook group to encourage allergy-sensitive events at Royals games after noticing none listed on this season’s schedule.

Her son, Weston, was diagnosed with a severe peanut allergy when he was three.

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Up to Date
9:00 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Making A Plan For The End

Peggy Battin is the author of 'Least Worst Death.'

Bioethics is a heavy issue to the average person, and most of us prefer not to think about death. But having a plan in place for when the worst happens is crucial.

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Health
8:23 am
Thu April 24, 2014

KC Checkup: Five Questions For Troy Ross

Troy Ross is President and CEO of the Mid America Coalition on Health Care.
Credit Alex Smith / KCUR

All the recent changes to health care in the past few years have shown the U.S. health care system as a kind of Rube Goldberg invention; a costly mismatch of parts that doesn’t necessarily get great results. 

The Mid-America Coalition on Health Care in Kansas City, Mo., aims to changes that by bringing together employers, insurers and medical providers to lower costs and potentially improve health. The coalition is one of the oldest health non-profits in the United States, and members include a lot of big Kansas City businesses like Cerner and Hallmark.

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Health
7:44 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Gov. Brownback Signs Controversial Health Care Compact Bill

Gov. Sam Brownback has signed into law a bill that might make it possible for Kansas to join a compact of states that want the power to run Medicare and Medicaid within their borders.

The new law also creates the possibility that the compact states could circumvent several key provisions in the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

“The Health Care Compact will allow states to restore and protect Medicare for generations to come,” Brownback said in a prepared statement today announcing that he had signed the measure. The actual signing was Tuesday.

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Health
11:34 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Brownback Signs Bill In Attempt To Distance Kansas From Affordable Care Act

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed a bill Wednesday morning that will join the state with others attempting to sever ties with the federal Affordable Care Act legislation.

With the approval of House Bill 2553, Kansas joins the Health Care Compact, a coalition of states seeking exemption from federal health care rules, while retaining federal health funding. The Compact will need to be approved by the U.S. Legislature.

Brownback stated the Compact would allow states to preserve Medicare.

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