Dan Margolies | KCUR

Dan Margolies

Health Editor

Dan Margolies is editor in charge of health and education news at KCUR.  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 Community Health Center

This story was updated at 3:22 p.m. on March 15 to include Jon Stewart's statement.   

The CEO of a safety net clinic in Lawrence, Kansas, has been suspended pending completion of a review of the organization's finances.

In a release Wednesday evening, the board of Heartland Community Health Center said it had suspended Jon Stewart and appointed the clinic’s chief operating officer as interim CEO.

Matt Kleinmann / Community Health Council of Wyandotte County

New county health rankings once again show Wyandotte County as one of the least healthy counties in Kansas. The good news: It’s no longer the worst.

This story was updated at 2:43 p.m. to include the comments of ACLU of Missouri legal director Tony Rothert.  

Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt has lost his bid to unseal documents over Missouri’s execution protocol.

A federal appeals court on Tuesday ruled that the safety of members of Missouri’s execution team, as well as the state’s interest in carrying out its executions, overcame the general presumption that the public should have access to judicial records.

Donald and Laurie Draughon

After a seven-month deployment in 2004 in Iraq as a squad leader and gunner, Cpl. William P. Draughon received a citation for heroic service and was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps.

Several members of his squad were killed in Iraq, and when he returned stateside, the North Kansas City High School graduate began experiencing depression and nightmares and became withdrawn and moody. He also started drinking heavily.


City Manager Zach Walker announced the news Wednesday and said the department’s functions would be transferred to other city departments.

Independence is facing a projected $3 million budget shortfall for the upcoming fiscal year. Walker said the move would save about $375,000 a year for the city’s general fund.

“This is certainly not a pleasant move, but it’s one that allows us to be innovative, to reduce our overhead associated with that operation, but still provide the core basic services associated with the health department,” Walker said.   

file photo / Kansas News Service

Missouri and Kansas have joined 18 other states in seeking to have the Affordable Care Act declared unconstitutional following Congress’ repeal last year of the tax penalty associated with the individual mandate.

In a lawsuit filed late Monday in federal court in Texas, the coalition of 20 mostly red states claimed that the elimination of the tax penalty for those who don’t buy health insurance renders the entire healthcare law unconstitutional.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department

Editor’s note and Feb. 28 update: One of the prosecutors in the invasion of privacy case against Gov. Eric Greitens said they do not have the photo that he allegedly took of the woman with whom he had an affair in 2015.

Media outlets reported that at a hearing on Wednesday, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Robert Steele said prosecutors are hoping to obtain the photo, although one of Greitens’ lawyers said the photo “does not exist.”

The judge set a May 14 trial date for the case. That’s a few days before the end of the 2018 Missouri legislative session.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department

A St. Louis grand jury indicted Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens on Thursday for felony invasion of privacy, possibly jeopardizing his tenure in office as legislative leaders said they'd begin an investigation. Impeachment talk began to circle the Statehouse.

Ten Kansas City-area companies and their owners ran a fraudulent sweepstakes operation that took in more than $110 million since 2013, according to a lawsuit filed this week in federal court in Kansas City, Missouri.

The suit, filed jointly by the Federal Trade Commission and the state of Missouri, charges that the companies sent out mailers to consumers in the United States and abroad falsely representing that they had won, or were likely to win, cash prizes of as much as $2 million. In return, the consumers were required to pay fees ranging from $9 to $139.99.

KCUR 89.3

This story was updated at 4:12 p.m. to include the comments of Planned Parenthood Great Plains' president and CEO.

Kansas improperly sought to end Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday, rejecting the state's claims that the organization illegally trafficked in fetal parts and committed other wrongdoing.


A pediatric rheumatologist who once worked at Children’s Mercy Hospital is facing new charges in Michigan after losing his license over sexual misconduct allegations.

Mark Franklin Hoeltzel, 46, was charged last month in a criminal complaint for receiving and possessing child pornography. He was arrested at Detroit Metro Airport last week after undergoing treatment for addiction at a clinic in Philadelphia.

Ged-Carroll / Creative Commons-Flickr

It’s a standard practice in the confectionary industry: under-filling, or leaving empty space in, candy boxes.

And now a judge has ruled that a Columbia, Missouri, man’s claim that he was defrauded by the practice is just as empty.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey tossed Robert Bratton’s class-action lawsuit, saying Bratton knew the boxes of Reese’s Pieces and Whoppers he purchased had a lot of "slack-filled" space.


While media attention has focused on the plight of Syed Jamal, the Lawrence chemistry professor whom immigration agents seized last month and tried to deport, another area immigrant is facing a similar predicament. 

James Cavallini / Science Source

The Kansas Medicaid program sets too many barriers for patients to receive a potentially life-saving, if extremely costly, drug regimen, a lawsuit filed Thursday contends.

The class action filed in federal court argues that KanCare should cover the cost of medications that have proven effective in treating hepatitis C without subjecting patients to a lengthy list of conditions.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

Syed Jamal, the Lawrence resident detained by immigration authorities for overstaying his visa, was returned to the Kansas City area on Wednesday after the Board of Immigration Appeals in Virginia stayed his deportation.

Courtesy of Sharma-Crawford Attorneys at Law

Update Feb. 14, 12:55 p.m.: Jamal's attorneys say Immigration and Customs Enforcement is returning Jamal to Kansas City and he will arrive this afternoon.  

Syed Jamal family

This story was updated at 6:27 p.m. with new information about the case and comments from Jamal's attorneys.

In a wild day that saw immigration authorities put him on a plane headed for Hawaii, an immigration appeals board halted the deportation of Lawrence resident Syed Jamal, whose case has become an international cause celebre.

The move came after an immigration judge on Monday cleared the way for Jamal’s deportation after denying motions to reopen Jamal’s case and dissolving a stay that he granted last week.

Joe Gratz / Creative Commons-Flickr

Federal officials are moving to strip the naturalization of a U.S. citizen who pleaded guilty several years ago to sending more than $1 million to Iraq in violation of U.S. sanctions.

Mubarak Ahmed Hamed, 61, was sentenced to 58 months in federal prison. He was released from a facility in Texarkana, Texas, in August 2016.

The Columbia, Missouri, resident and native of Sudan was executive director of the Islamic American Relief Agency (IARA), which was based in Columbia and served as the U.S. office of the Islamic Relief Agency based in Khartoum, Sudan.

Allison Shelley

Longtime health reporter Julie Rovner is chief Washington correspondent for Kaiser Health News, a nonprofit news service providing in-depth coverage of health care policy and politics. Before joining KHN, Rovner was a health reporter for 16 years at NPR, where she helped lead coverage of the enactment and implementation of the Affordable Care Act. 


Area hospitals are continuing to see high numbers of influenza patients, suggesting that the flu season has yet to peak.

At the University of Kansas Health System, 913 patients have tested positive for the flu so far, 162 of them in the last week alone, according to spokeswoman Jill Chadwick. Seventeen patients currently remain hospitalized.

“This is going down as one of the more aggressive flu seasons in recent memory for us as well as the rest of the nation,” she says.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

This story was updated at 4:40 p.m. to include comments from a spokewoman for Frank White and from Scott Burnett, the chairman of the Jackson County Legislature.

Jackson County Executive Frank White says an ordinance transferring control of the COMBAT anti-drug tax to the Jackson County prosecutor has sown chaos among county employees, and White has asked a judge to declare it illegal.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Former Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders, once a rising star in the Democratic Party, pleaded guilty Friday to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in federal court, effectively ending a promising career. 

Sanders, 50, entered his plea in a loud and clear voice before U.S. District Judge Roseann Ketchmark. 

Via Christi Health

A whistleblower suit unsealed Thursday in federal court alleges Wichita-based Via Christi Health engaged in an illegal scheme to maximize Medicare reimbursements.

The lawsuit was filed in November 2016 but only unsealed after the government declined to intervene. It was brought by Mazen Shaheen, a cardiologist who formerly practiced in the Wichita area.

The suit, which seeks triple damages under the federal False Claims Act,  alleges Via Christi defrauded Medicare by performing  unnecessary cardiac tests and procedures, often on the same patient.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Five days after he was inaugurated as president, Donald Trump issued an executive order cracking down on illegal immigration.

It included money for tighter security at the border, plans for a border wall with Mexico and tougher standards for becoming a U.S. citizen.

As doctors repeatedly warn, it’s not too late to get your flu shot.

That’s especially so in Kansas City, which, according to the maker of a “smart thermometer” app, has one of the highest rates of flu in the country.

Michael Coghlan / Creative Commons-Flickr

A federal appeals court has stayed a potentially explosive hearing – at least for the time being – aimed at determining whether federal prosecutors impermissibly obtained and used recordings of attorney-client phone calls.

The hearing was set to begin today in federal court in Kansas City, Kansas, but the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Kansas filed an emergency motion to block it, arguing the court was poking into the internal affairs of a separate branch of government.

Eschipul / Creative Commons-Flickr

Another lawsuit alleging racial discrimination has been filed in federal court against the Power & Light District in downtown Kansas City.

Shawnee resident Arthur Brown, a 55-year-old African American, says that on Oct. 26, 2014, he was watching the World Series between the Royals and San Francisco Giants on Power & Light’s Jumbotron with thousands of other fans.

Courtesy of KCPT

For Mike McGraw, it was always about the story, never about his ego.

He was a relentless truth teller, a reporter who, once having latched on to a subject, wouldn’t let go until he got to the bottom of the matter.

He was offended by injustice, despised phoniness and had no patience for pieties and platitudes.

Level 5 Motorsports/Wikipedia Commons

Leawood businessman Scott Tucker was sentenced in New York today to more than 16 years in prison for running an illegal internet payday lending empire.

Tucker, who’s also a race car driver, and Timothy Muir, an Overland Park lawyer who worked for him, were convicted in New York in October of all 14 counts against them. Muir was sentenced to 7 years in prison.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

In what may have amounted to his farewell address, departing Kansas City, Kansas, Mayor Mark Holland decried corruption in the city’s fire department at a Unified Government meeting that failed to muster a quorum of commissioners.

Holland, the mayor and CEO of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas, called the meeting after a government report found that KCK firefighters had been paid $920,000 in taxpayer money in 2017 for work they didn’t do.