Health

Health
7:58 am
Wed April 2, 2014

After ACA Deadline, Still No Break For Kansas City Health Navigators

The deadline for open enrollment in Affordable Care Act insurance has passed, but enrollment helpers in the Kansas City area won’t get a vacation just yet.

During Monday’s website problems, insurance navigators and counselors were asking enrollees to come back – either later in the week or next week – after the enrollment deadline.

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Health
3:59 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

ACA Final Enrollment Glitches Don't Faze Kansas City Navigators

Application Counselors Lauren Paul, Molly Moffett and Leigh Loving wait for healthcare.gov website to function at Wyandotte County Health Department.
Credit Alex Smith / KCUR

The healthcare.gov website was stalled for several hours in the final day of open enrollment for Affordable Care Act insurance.

But with the deadline extended for many, those involved in enrollment in Kansas City, Kan., shrugged off the glitches.

Enroll Wyandotte at the Wyandotte County Health Department signed up 30 to 40 people for insurance in the past week, compared to a slow trickle in the first few months of the year.

The Department of Health and Human Services says that the nationwide crush of visitors and a software bug caused website problems Monday.

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Health
7:57 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Wyandotte County At Bottom, Johnson At Top In New Health Rankings

The fifth annual County Health Rankings are out, and the parts of Kansas that have struggled in prior years are still at the bottom of the list.

The rankings provide a clear picture of just how much health depends on social factors like poverty and education.

Johnson County tops the list again this year as the healthiest county in Kansas. Dr. Gianfranco Pezzino, of the Kansas Health Institute, says it’s more than just coincidence that the Kansas City suburb is also the state’s wealthiest county.

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Health
6:00 am
Thu March 27, 2014

KC Checkup: Five Questions For Sandy Praeger

Sandy Praeger, Kansas Commissioner of Insurance, in her office in Topeka, Kan.
Credit Alex Smith / KCUR

The Affordable Care Act has put Sandy Praeger at odds with most of her fellow Republicans in Topeka, Kan.

The Kansas Commissioner of Insurance shared the frustration many had over the health exchange website problems, and she’s voiced concern over how shifting rules and delays impact the insurance industry.

But Praeger has remained a supporter of federal health reform, a proponent of Medicaid expansion, and a critic of Gov. Sam Brownback’s approach to health policy.

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

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Health
5:01 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Kansas City Groups Pursuing Mental Health Crisis Center

Kansas City, Mo., Municipal Judge Joseph Locascio is leading an initiative to establish a mental health crisis stabilization center in the city.
Credit Mike Sherry / The Hale Center For Journalism

Kansas City, Mo., would be home to a regional facility aimed largely at diverting substance abusers from jail and hospital emergency rooms under a plan that has garnered support from law enforcement officials, political leaders and health care providers.

The vision actually represents dual efforts that began independently, but which might coalesce as a collaboration between area hospitals and a coalition formed by Joseph Locascio, the presiding judge of Kansas City Municipal Court. He also oversees the city’s specialty court aimed at substance abusers.

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Health
5:50 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Opponents Speak Against Kansas Bill To Restrict Healthcare Navigators

Opponents of a bill creating new restrictions for Obamacare navigators showed up in force today for a hearing on the bill in a House committee.

They said Senate Bill 362 would needlessly impeded the navigators' work while ostensibly addressing consumer protection problems that don’t exist.

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Health
3:25 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

KCK Mayor Pushes Plan For 'Healthy Campus' Downtown

Alicia Ellingsworth, manager of the Cultivate Kansas City Gibbs Road Farm in Kansas City, Kan., watered some head lettuce Tuesday. One vision for a "healthy campus" near downtown KCK would be for it to have a greenhouse like the one at the farm.
Credit Mike Sherry / Hale Center for Journalism at KCPT

The southern vista from Big Eleven Lake — situated along one of the busiest streets in Kansas City, Kan. — features the crescent roof of a self-service car wash and the clutter of an auto body shop wedged onto a tiny corner lot.

On Tuesday, the litter along the lake’s muddy bank included an empty bottle of peach vodka and a crumpled pack of Pall Malls.

Down the hill was fisherman Alvin Suttington, a KCK native who said the park is a relaxing, convenient amenity for urban families. But, he said, “It would be better if (municipal officials) kept it up better.”

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Health
7:36 am
Wed March 19, 2014

More Than 200 Rally For Medicaid At Kansas Statehouse

People gathered at the Kansas Statehouse on Tuesday to urge lawmakers to expand Medicaid eligibility.
Credit Dan Brennan / KHI News Service

  Medicaid expansion is nowhere to be found on Gov. Sam Brownback’s list of priorities and those of Republican legislative leaders as they work through a legislative session now dominated by school finance issues.

But that didn’t stop nearly 200 expansion supporters from crowding into a wing of the Statehouse adjacent to the governor’s office on Tuesday for a noisy rally. The event was staged by more than 50 health care and social service organizations organized under the banner of the Kansas Medicaid Access Coalition.

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Health
7:44 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Bill Before Kansas Senate Aims To Eliminate KanCare Payment Delays

Payment delays to health providers have been one of the most contentious parts of KanCare. But a bill before the Kansas Senate this week aims to eliminate the problem.         

The bill requires the three for-profit companies that run Kansas’s Medicaid program to pay on time. Official state numbers show payments have been timely, at least in the past several months, but many doctors and hospitals have reported some significant problems.

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Health
6:15 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Missouri Politicians Hopeful of Medicaid Expansion Compromise

Missouri policy makers might be inching toward middle ground that would expand Medicaid eligibility while reforming the safety-net program to encourage recipients to work, two key participants in the talks said Monday.

The comments came from Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, and state Rep. Noel Torpey, an Independence Republican.

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Health
12:01 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

UMKC Awarded $7 Million To Establish HIV Prevention Resource Center

Jacki Witt (left) and Laurie Krom will be co-directors of the new center at the UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies.
Credit Janet Rogers / UMKC Division of Strategic Marketing and Communications

  The University of Missouri-Kansas City announced a $7 million grant Monday to establish its School of Nursing and Health Studies as a national HIV-prevention resource center.

The award comes from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is the largest in the school's history.

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Up to Date
9:50 am
Mon March 17, 2014

Parents, Teens And A Different Gender War

Girls seem to be winning the gender war, according to Dr. Wes Crenshaw.
Credit DJOtaku / Flickr-CC

The idea of a gender war is nothing new, but what has changed is who’s winning: It's the girls.

On Monday's Up to Date, psychologist Wes Crenshaw joins us to talk about the switch and why it’s happening. We’ll look at how lower graduation rates and grades from boys are affecting this trend.

We’ll get a teen perspective on what we can change to help boys regain equal footing.

Guests:

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Central Standard
4:01 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Children's Mercy Expanding Summer Camp For Children With ADHD

Children's Mercy Hospital is expanding a camp designed for kids with ADHD for the summer of 2014.

The camp was modeled on the work of Bill Pelham who opened the first one in 1980. What makes these camps different is a focus on behavioral modification with an intense connection between the camp, the campers and the parents.

According to Dr. Trista Perez Crawford, the camp costs about $4,000 for the summer but offers the equivalent of what would be approximately six years of weekly hour long behavioral therapy.

Health
7:53 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Senate Budget Committee Says 'No' To Funding For New KU Med Building

Democratic Sen. Laura Kelly said the KU Med facilities "will not pass muster."
Credit Phil Cauthon / KHI News Service

The chairman of the Kansas Senate’s budget writing committee Wednesday defended the panel’s recent decision to withhold state funding for a new classroom building at the University of Kansas Medical School.

Sen. Ty Masterson, an Andover Republican, said he’s not convinced the university needs additional state funding to construct the building on its medical school campus in Kansas City, Kan.

Masterson said KU has the resources to complete the project if it’s the priority that university officials say that it is.

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Health
3:47 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Kansas City Consumers, Advocates Rushing Toward Health Reform Deadline

Renan Raven (left, center), a marketing specialist with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, provided answers about health insurance at a Saturday health fair in Kansas City, Kan. Raven is bilingual, and he was in high demand from the large number of Hispanics who attended the fair.
Credit Mike Sherry / Hale Center for Journalism

As an uninsured agriculture worker, Salvador Lopez said he’d welcome health coverage so he could afford diabetes medication.

Health insurance would also help his wife, said the Excelsior Springs, Mo., resident. Not feeling well on Saturday, she actually had her blood pressure checked at the health fair the couple attended with their two daughters in Kansas City, Kan.

But organizers said the main point of the two-day fair was to enroll people for health insurance through the new marketplace established through the Affordable Care Act.

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Health
6:17 am
Wed March 12, 2014

New Mental Health Crisis Strategy To Launch In Kansas City

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback announces mental health crisis center in Kansas City, Kan.
Credit Alex Smith / KCUR

Every day, police in the Kansas City metro area are inundated with calls to handle mental illness emergencies.

"Usually more than one time a day,” says Don Ash, sheriff of Wyandotte County, Kan.  “Calls could come in from a family member. Calls could come in from the general public. From a business owner.”

Someone might be picked up for something as simple as loitering or trespassing, and even though it might clearly a mental health emergency, police typically have little choice but to take them to jail or possibly an emergency room.

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Health
4:05 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Health Exchange Enrollment Slowing In Kansas, Missouri

Federal health exchange in enrollment is slowing, according to data released Tuesday.

The Department of Health and Human Services reports that 29,309 in Kansas and 74,469 in Missouri selected insurance plans by the end of February. That is up 31 percent in Kansas and 38 percent in Missouri from the previous report, a slow-down compared with an increase of about 60 percent in both states during January.

In a conference call, Julie Bataille of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services brushed aside concerns about slowing momentum.

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Central Standard
4:00 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Examining The Reality Of Eating Disorders

Credit Brent Weichsel / Creative Commons

We eat every day and most of us enjoy it. It satiates our hunger, and provides us with nutrition and complex and pleasurable flavors and textures. But for some people eating can become the center of an obsession, an inescapable part of the date filled with anxiety. Eating disorders impact 2.7 percent of population, according the National Institute of Mental Health, but the problem extends far beyond the struggling individual.

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Health
4:45 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Kansas Will Allow Extension Of Non-ACA-Compliant Insurance

Kansas insurers will be allowed to renew for an additional year health insurance policies that do not comply with Affordable Care Act requirements.

The Kansas Insurance Department announced Thursday that it would accept the Obama administration’s offer for states to extend policies that do not comply with new federal health insurance requirements.

The offer came as part of new Affordable Care Act regulations issued by the Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday.

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Health
4:18 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

KU Announces Plans For Multiple Sclerosis Center

The University of Kansas Medical Center will create a new center to help those with multiple sclerosis improve their physical and emotional health as well as lifestyle.

KU announced Wednesday morning that an $800,000 grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation would help fund the project.

A former day care facility at 3503 Rainbow Blvd. will be renovated to house the new Comprehensive Center for Multiple Sclerosis Care.

The new center will serve between 100 and 125 participants weekly.

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Up to Date
9:56 am
Tue March 4, 2014

Difficult Choices: Considering Long-term Care

On Up to Date, we take a look at the process people go through when making decisions about elder care.
Credit Mark-Adkins / Flickr-CC

As the parents of baby boomers move into their twilight years, an elephant enters the room: when should we start to talk about long-term care? 

With 12 million Americans already in need of attention and a further 15 million just around the corner, that question of how to best look after ourselves and loved ones is becoming more important by the day.

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Central Standard
4:00 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Integrative Medicine: Does It Work?

Many Americans are turning away from pharmaceuticals and experimenting with integrative medicine. This type of treatment aims to heal the entire body and not just the disease. Acupuncture, yoga, essential oils, vitamins and herbal supplements are just some of the ways patients are seeking relief from everything from headaches to cancer.

On today's Central Standard, two integrative medicine doctors weigh in on this alternative to Westernized treatments.

Guests:

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KC Checkup
6:15 am
Thu February 27, 2014

KC Checkup: Five Questions For Jim Heeter

Jim Heeter is CEO and President of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.
Credit Alex Smith / KCUR

Jim Heeter is President and CEO of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. His four years in the role have given him a front-row seat to watch the growth of Kansas City's heath care industry, as well as how health reform is affecting Kansas City business overall.

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

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Central Standard
4:31 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Challenges For Autism Coverage Looming in Kansas

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) autism therapy often requires one-on-one instruction.
Credit Ministere du Travail, de I'Emploi et de la sante / Flickr -- Creative Commons

Autism advocates argue that legislation being considered in Kansas falls short of best practices for treating the disorder.  

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in every 88 children in the United States has autism

It’s a disorder that impairs a variety of verbal and non-verbal communication skills. For some, the effects can be mild, but for others, the symptoms can be so severe that they leave individuals unable to care for themselves.

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Health
12:15 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Truman Medical Centers CEO John Bluford To Retire In July

Truman Medical Centers CEO John Bluford announced his retirement Friday morning.
Credit Truman Medical Centers

Truman Medical Centers announced Friday that CEO John Bluford will retire this summer after 15 years in the position.

His retirement is effective July 18, according to a news release. Bluford turns 65 on May 1.

Bluford is working with a committee that includes TMC board members and appointees from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine on details of his departure and transition efforts, according to the release.

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Health
7:23 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Teen Tanning Bans Grow Across U.S., But Opposition Remains In Missouri

This map shows tanning regulations across the United States. Alaska and Hawaii are not pictures, but both have no regulations.
Credit Briana O'Higgins / KCUR

Every year about this time, teenagers everywhere hear the call of spring break. To get pale, winter skin ready for the beach, lots of spring breakers make a few visits to a local tanning salon. Recent studies show around 30 percent of white high school girls tan at salons.

Many new proposed state laws aim to reduce that number, but health advocates have found Missouri especially resistant to any legislation that gets between skin and UV bulbs.

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Up to Date
1:44 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Using Science To Stop Violence

Dr. Gary Slutkin is the founder of Cure Violence.
Credit cureviolence.org

An expert on the epidemic of gun violence that has gripped Kansas City and cities across the country for decades, says the issue has been "completely misunderstood."

In the second part of Wednesday's Up to Date, we talk with him about his method of viewing violence as an epidemic, a condition that can be reversed using "science-based methods."

Guest:

  • Dr. Gary Slutkin, epidemiologist and founder/executive director of Cure Violence
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Central Standard
5:28 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Arthritis: Not Just An Old Person's Disease

A hand affected by rheumatoid arthritis. Dr. Smith says that with proper treatment and early diagnosis many people can avoid this kind of debilitating arthritis.
Credit James Heilman, MD / Flickr -- Creative Commons

Imagine waking up in pain, imagine every motion leading to discomfort, and even if you’re able to avoid movement the weather changes and pain comes again. For many people this can be a daily reality. Arthritis — the wearing down of the soft tissues around our bones — is actually something we all will have to confront, to varying degrees, as we age. But it’s not just a disease of growing older, children and young adults can suffer from the disease as well.

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Up to Date
11:17 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Prairie Village Surgeon Confronts Death By Building His Own Coffin

Dr. Jeff Piehler of Prairie Village reacted to his stage-four prostate cancer diagnosis by building his own coffin.
Credit Shari Hartbauer / Lincoln Journal Star

It’s one thing for a doctor to counsel a seriously-ill patient about how to deal with his illness and how to face the idea of death. But imagine going from being the doctor to being the patient.

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Health
4:16 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

KU Hospital Seeking Private Support For Expansion

Burns & McDonnell head Greg Graves announces $3.5 million in support of new KU Hospital building.
Credit Alex Smith / KCUR

The University of Kansas Hospital kicked off a campaign Monday to raise private money for a new $250 million building on its main Kansas City, Kan., campus.

The Hospital aims for $100 million in donations for the "Cambridge North" project.

At a hospital leadership meeting Monday afternoon, Burns and McDonnell chairman and CEO Greg Graves and his wife, Deanna, announced their pledge of $1 million for the building, as well as a Burns and McDonnell Foundation pledge of $2.5 million.

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