Dan Margolies

Editor, Heartland Health Monitor

Dan Margolies is editor of Heartland Health Monitor, a reporting collaboration among KCUR, KHI News Service in Topeka, KCPT television in Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas Public Radio in Lawrence, Kan. Dan joined KCUR in April 2014. In a long and varied journalism career, he has worked as a reporter for the Kansas City Business Journal, The Kansas City Star and Reuters. In a previous life, he was a lawyer. He has also worked as a media insurance underwriter and project development director for a video production firm.

Dan was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. and moved to Kansas City with his family when he was eight years old. He majored in philosophy at Washington University in St. Louis and holds law and journalism degrees from Boston University. He has been an avid public radio listener for as long as he can remember – which these days isn’t very long…

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Heartland Health Monitor
5:08 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

KC-Area Hospitals Penalized For Infection Rates And Other Injuries

These 11 hospitals in the metropolitan area will have to forfeit 1 percent of their Medicare revenues in fiscal 2015 under the Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program, which was established by the Affordable Care Act.
Credit Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Eleven Kansas City-area hospitals have been hit with penalties for hospital-acquired infections and other complications that Medicare deems avoidable.

The hospitals’ Medicare payments will be docked by 1 percent in the fiscal year that runs from October 2014 through September 2015.

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Central Standard
2:18 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

Attorneys In Missouri Debate Role Of Grand Jury

A grand jury's recent decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., has thrown a spotlight on the legal institution of the grand jury:

What’s the prosecutor’s role in grand jury proceedings? Who brings the charges? What are the standards of proof?

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Heartland Health Monitor
4:32 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

Missouri and Kansas Rank Among Lowest Spending States For Tobacco Prevention

Missouri has the lowest cigarette taxes in the nation, at 17 cents a pack. Kansas has the 15th lowest, at 79 cents a pack.
Credit Creative Commons-Wikimedia

States continue to spend a miniscule portion of the billions of dollars they collect annually in tobacco revenues on smoking prevention and cessation programs, according to a new report by six leading health organizations.  

Missouri spent $76,314 on tobacco prevention in the latest fiscal year, the report says. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended it should have spent nearly $73 million.

Only one state, New Jersey, spent a smaller percentage of its tobacco funds on anti-smoking programs. New Jersey allocated no funds for tobacco prevention.  

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Government
2:45 pm
Wed November 26, 2014

ACLU Broadens Suit Over Kansas Ban On Same-Sex Marriage

A couple holds their marriage license in Iowa, a state where same-sex couples can go to get legally married.
Credit Alan C. / Creative Commons-Flickr

 

The American Civil Liberties Union has broadened its lawsuit over Kansas’ ban on same-sex marriage, seeking to enforce inheritance, driver's license and health insurance rights on behalf of same-sex couples.

The original lawsuit was filed in October by two lesbian couples and sought a ruling that Kansas’ same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional. The amended complaint seeks to require state officials to recognize the marriages of couples who were wed in other states as well as in Kansas.  

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Government
2:44 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

Same-Sex Marriages In Missouri Remain On Hold After Judge’s Order

A federal judge in Missouri has declined to lift the hold on his judgment striking down the state’s same-sex marriage ban.

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Heartland Health Monitor
4:41 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Annette Bloch Donates $10 Million To KU Hospital For Expansion Project

Annette Bloch's $10 million grant will help fund construction of KU Hospital's building expansion, shown in this rendering.
Credit University of Kansas Hospital

The University of Kansas Hospital announced this afternoon that civic leader Annette Bloch will contribute $10 million toward a $279 million expansion to accommodate the hospital’s fastest growing specialties.

The 92-bed addition, which was announced earlier this year, will be located north of the hospital on the northeast corner of 39th and Cambridge streets in Kansas City, Kan. It will house surgical oncology, neurology, neurosurgery, and ear, nose & throat services.

Bloch structured the donation in the form of a challenge grant that must be matched by June 2016.

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Heartland Health Monitor
4:47 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Two Kansas City-Area Companies Won’t Have To Comply With Birth Control Mandate

Two Kansas City-area companies that challenged the Affordable Care Act’s so-called contraception mandate won’t be required to cover birth control as part of their employees’ health care plans.

Citing the U.S. Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, Senior U.S. District Judge Ortrie Smith on Wednesday barred federal officials from enforcing the requirement against Randy Reed Automotive Inc. and Sioux Chief Manufacturing Co.

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Government
10:59 am
Thu November 13, 2014

Some Kansas Counties Issue Marriage Licenses to Gay Couples

Brian and Randy, a gay couple from Johnson County, sign their marriage license papers Thursday before one of the clerks in Douglas County.
Credit Peggy Lowe / KCUR

Updated at 2:34 p.m.

At least six of Kansas' 105 counties issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Thursday, a day after  the U.S. Supreme Court let take effect an order overturning  a ban state officials had feverishly hoped to keep in place.

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Government
11:50 am
Tue November 11, 2014

Timeline: Same-Sex Marriage In Missouri And Kansas

TV cameras catch a protest against Proposition 8 in 2010 in Kansas City, Mo.
Credit Flickr, Creative Commons

  Updated 2:51 p.m. Nov. 25

The whirlwind of gay marriage decisions in Missouri and Kansas has left same-sex couples, court watchers and even reporters a bit breathless.

In an effort to keep us all up-to-date with these quick-moving issues, KCUR has pieced together this timeline, which highlights significant legal developments in both Missouri and Kansas in the state and federal courts. The list is not exhaustive but represents our best attempt to make sense of the rush of events while offering a look back at some of our coverage.

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Government
10:28 am
Fri November 7, 2014

Federal Judge In Kansas City Strikes Down Missouri’s Ban On Same-Sex Marriage

The Jackson County Recorder of Deeds began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples after a judge ruled Missouri's ban on gay marriage unconstitutional. John Kenny Rodericks and Robb Gann were first in line.
Credit Jeremy Bernfeld / KCUR

Updated, 5:10 p.m. Friday:

The Jackson County Recorder of Deeds began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples Friday afternoon after a federal judge in Kansas City struck down Missouri's same-sex marriage ban.

Jackson County officials had told couples seeking marriage licenses they would have to wait because the judge's order had been stayed. But  Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders directed the Recorder of Deeds office to begin issuing licenses to same-sex couples Friday afternoon.

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Election 2014
11:57 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

Kansas Judges Targeted For Ouster Retain Seats

Kansans voted to retain two Kansas Supreme Court justices under fire for their decision to overturn the death sentences of two brothers in one of the most notorious murder cases in the state’s history.

The two, Justice Eric S. Rosen and Justice Lee A. Johnson, were appointed to the court by former Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.

Kansas Supreme Court justices are appointed by the governor but stand for retention by voters at the end of their six-year terms.

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Community
3:52 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

Federal Judge Says Kansas Must Allow Same-Sex Marriages, Puts Order On Hold

Donna DiTrani (left) and Kerry Wilks, a Sedgwick County couple who were denied a marriage license, are plaintiffs in a federal case.
Credit CJ Janovy / KCUR

A federal judge today struck down Kansas’ law and constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, ruling they violated the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and handing a major victory to same-sex marriage proponents.

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Heartland Health Monitor
4:43 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

Most Kansas City-Area Hospitals Ranked Near Middle On Patient Safety Measures

Only three Kansas City area hospitals received grades of A in the latest hospital safety report card issued by The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit group founded by large employers that aims to improve hospital quality and safety.

The three — Belton Regional Medical Center, Research Medical Center and Shawnee Mission Medical Center — were among 19 area hospitals surveyed by Leapfrog. Five of the hospitals received grades of B and the rest got C’s.

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Heartland Health Monitor
8:59 am
Thu October 30, 2014

Lawsuit Against KanCare Company Puts Program In Spotlight Again

A lawsuit alleging that one of the for-profit companies running KanCare ordered employees to shift KanCare members away from high-cost providers has put a renewed spotlight on the program, one of the Brownback administration’s signature achievements.

In the lawsuit filed this week in federal court in Kansas City, Kan., a former official of the company, Sunflower State Health Plan Inc., claimed she was fired after she objected to the directive, saying it was unethical and possibly illegal.

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Heartland Health Monitor
3:19 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

KU Hospital: Patient Admitted Monday Does Not Have Ebola

The University of Kansas Hospital says a patient admitted Monday with symptoms that included diarrhea does not have Ebola.
Credit File photo

A man who was admitted Monday to The University of Kansas Hospital suffering from diarrhea and who worked recently near Africa's west coast does not have Ebola, the hospital said Tuesday afternoon. 

Results of blood tests showed the patient has not contracted the virus, which has killed more than 4,000 people in the West African nations of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. 

At a news conference, KU Hospital's chief medical officer, Dr. Lee Norman,  said preliminary tests on the patient were negative. 

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Heartland Health Monitor
5:41 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

KU Hospital: Patient Admitted Monday At 'Low To Moderate Risk' Of Ebola

The University of Kansas Hospital said it admitted a patient Monday who had recently been on a ship off the coast of West Africa and is testing him for Ebola.
Credit File photo

The University of Kansas Hospital says a patient who recently worked as a medic on a ship off the coast of West Africa came to the hospital early Monday morning feeling sick and is being tested for Ebola.

The hospital said the patient was at "low to moderate risk" of Ebola but the hospital was taking no chances.

In a statement, it said the patient was met by staff wearing personal protection equipment and following guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Heartland Health Monitor
5:05 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

Hospitals In Kansas City Area To Be Fined For ‘Excessive’ Readmission Rates

CLICK TO ENLARGE
Credit Kaiser Health News

 

Twenty hospitals in the Kansas City area will be penalized by Medicare starting Oct. 1 for excessive readmissions, although eight of them will be hit with lower fines than in Medicare’s previous round of penalties.

Saint Luke’s East Hospital in Lee’s Summit will get hit with the biggest fine, 2.08 percent of its Medicare reimbursements, according to an analysis by Kaiser Health News of data released this week by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

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Heartland Health Monitor
2:57 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Suit Seeks To Force Feds To Disclose Missouri Health Insurance Rates

A Missouri consumers group has sued the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services over its alleged failure to disclose health insurance rates insurers propose to charge in Missouri in 2015.  

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in federal court in St. Louis by the Consumers Council of Missouri, comes just six weeks before the enrollment period for coverage under the Affordable Care Act begins on Nov. 15.

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Heartland Health Monitor
3:12 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Missouri, Kansas Universities Receive Mental Health Grants

Academic institutions in Missouri and Kansas were awarded federal grants of more than $1.2 million to train mental health providers, the Department of Health and Human Services announced Monday.

The grants were among $99 million disbursed by HHS under the Obama administration’s “Now Is the Time” plan aimed at reducing gun violence, increasing access to mental health services and making schools safer, according to a department news release.

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Election 2014
5:09 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Kansas High Court Orders Democrat's Name Off U.S. Senate Ballot

The Kansas Supreme Court has ordered that the name of the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Kansas be removed from the ballot. 

The Democrat, Chad Taylor, announced he was dropping out of the race two weeks ago, but Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said Taylor had failed to meet the requirements of a state law allowing candidates to drop out.

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Heartland Health Monitor
12:15 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Missouri, Kansas Health Clinics Get $9.6M For Primary Care Services

The Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center has been awarded nearly $270,00 in federal funds to expand primary care services.
Credit Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center

 

Twenty-five health centers in Missouri and 16 in Kansas have been awarded $9.6 million in federal funds to expand primary care services.

The funding is part of $295 million awarded to 1,195 health centers nationwide under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

The money is to be used to hire new staff, help the clinics stay open longer and provide services such as oral health, mental and behavioral health, pharmacy and vision services.

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Heartland Health Monitor
4:17 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

Missouri Lawmakers Approve Sales Tax Exemption For Farmers Markets

Vegetables and other products sold at farmer's markets in Missouri will be exempt from sales tax, after a bill veto was overridden by the House and Senate.
Credit Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

Products sold at Missouri farmers markets will be exempt from sales taxes following a veto override by the Republican-led Legislature.

The bill was among a slew of last-minute tax-exemption measures that Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, had vetoed earlier this year as fiscally irresponsible. Republicans said some merely clarified state policy and others helped the state remain economically competitive.

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Heartland Health Monitor
10:04 am
Wed September 10, 2014

Rare Respiratory Ailment Afflicting Children Appears To Be Waning

Enterovirus D68, a virus causing sickness in children, seems to be waning.
Credit Cynthia Page / Flickr--CC

A respiratory ailment that sent some 500 children to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City appears to be tapering off.

The enterovirus D68 can cause mild to severe respiratory illness. At its peak several weeks ago, Children’s Mercy was seeing 30 patients a day. That number has now fallen to about 15 a day, says hospital spokesman Jake Jacobson.

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Heartland Health Monitor
11:45 am
Thu September 4, 2014

Report: Missouri, Kansas Weigh In On The Obese Side

Kansas and Missouri rank among the top 20 most obese states in the nation.
Credit Cookie M / Flickr--CC

Missouri is the 16th most obese state in the nation, according to a report released Thursday.

At No. 19, Kansas doesn’t fare much better.

The 11th annual report on state obesity rankings by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation says adult obesity rates increased in six states over the past year, with Mississippi and West Virginia topping the scales. More than a third of adults in those two states – 35.1 percent – are obese, according to the report.

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Heartland Health Monitor
4:11 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

KU Hospital Joins Forces To Oppose Liver Transplant Proposal

Dr. Timothy Schmitt, left, and Dr. Sean Kumer perform a liver transplant at KU Hospital.
Credit University of Kansas Hospital

 

Doctors at the University of Kansas Hospital have teamed up with dozens of other transplant programs to urge delay of a proposal that would change how livers for transplant are distributed around the country.

The proposal, scheduled to be taken up in Chicago in mid-September, would have a profound impact on KU Hospital, which runs one of the top liver transplant programs by volume in the country, and other regional transplant centers.

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Heartland Health Monitor
2:45 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

Report: Kansas Improperly Claimed $11 Million In Medicaid Reimbursements

A report by the inspector general for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that Kansas improperly received Medicaid reimbursement for school-based health services.
Credit Wladyslaw / Wikimedia-CC

Kansas improperly billed Medicaid for nearly $11 million in school-based health services, a government watchdog has found.

In a report released Monday, the inspector general for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services determined that Kansas received $10.75 million in unallowable reimbursements for services provided during the one-year period from July 1, 2009, through June 30, 2010.

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Heartland Health Monitor
11:32 am
Wed August 6, 2014

Poll: Kansas Uninsured Rate Goes Up By 40 Percent

Credit Bigstock

Kansas was one of just three states that saw their rates of people without health insurance go up since last year, according to a new survey.

And, if the poll results are accurate, Kansas was the one whose rates went up the most.

The data, collected as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, show that the uninsured population in Kansas rose from 12.5 percent in 2013 to 17.6 percent by midyear 2014 — a whopping increase of 5.1 percentage points.

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Heartland Health Monitor
4:02 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

Cerner To Acquire Siemens Unit For $1.3 Billion In Cash

Cerner's headquarters in North Kansas City.
Credit Elana Gordon / KCUR

 

Kansas City, Mo.-based Cerner Corp., has agreed to acquire the assets of Siemens AG’s healthcare information technology unit for $1.3 billion in cash.

The combined companies will have more than 20,000 employees in 30 countries and $4.5 billion in annual revenue, according to a news release.

Cerner, a major provider of electronic health records, has more than 14,000 employees worldwide — about 9,600 of them in the Kansas City area — and posted nearly $400 million in profits last year.

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Heartland Health Monitor
1:58 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

KC-Based Subsidiary Of DST Settles Medicare Fraud Allegations

A subsidiary of Kansas City, Mo.-based software company DST Systems Inc. will pay more than $2 million to settle charges that it fraudulently billed Medicare.

Argus Health Systems Inc. has agreed to pay $2,029,210 to the Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to resolve the case, which involved reimbursement for Medicare Part D drugs.

Medicare Part D subsidizes the costs of prescription drugs and prescription drug insurance premiums for Medicare beneficiaries.

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Heartland Health Monitor
4:36 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Ex-Employees Of KC-Area Hospitals Sold To Prime Healthcare Sue Over Severance Pay

A class-action lawsuit by former employees of Providence Medical Center says they did not receive severance pay after they were laid off.
Credit Mike Sherry / Hale Center for Journalism at KCPT

Just days after Prime Healthcare Services agreed to buy two Kansas City-area hospitals, laid-off employees of two other area hospitals owned by Prime sued the company, claiming they were not provided with promised severance benefits.  

The suit seeks class-action status on behalf of other terminated employees. It says 49 workers were let go immediately after Prime bought Providence Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan., and Saint John Hospital in Leavenworth, Kan., from the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System in April 2013.

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