Dan Margolies

Health Editor

Dan Margolies is editor in charge of health 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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The American Humanist Association on Wednesday sued Kansas prison officials, alleging the Topeka Correctional Facility promotes Christianity in violation of the First Amendment.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Kansas City, claims the prison displays prayers and messages on prison bulletin boards, has erected an eight-foot cross in one of its multi-purpose rooms and often broadcasts movies with Christian themes on inmates’ televisions.

University of Kansas Hospital

The University of Kansas Hospital is denying allegations by a patient that it wrongly diagnosed her with pancreatic cancer and then covered it up.

In an answer filed this week, the hospital says that many of the allegations made by Wendy Ann Noon Berner “reference undisputable hearsay and speculation, and many would arguably constitute defamation” if they were not part of a lawsuit.

The hospital’s 18-page answer broadly disputes Berner’s allegations of malpractice and cover-up, and terms many of them “vague and ambiguous.”

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

Emily Dumler, a 36-year-old mother of three, is petite, energetic and appears to be the very picture of health. To look at her, you’d never know that four years ago she was at death’s door.

Atchison County Detention Center

A former physician assistant was found guilty Wednesday of sexually abusing patients at the veterans hospital in Leavenworth.

A Leavenworth County jury convicted Horton, Kansas, resident Mark E. Wisner, 66, of one felony count each of aggravated sexual battery and aggravated criminal sodomy and three misdemeanor counts of sexual battery. The crimes occurred between 2012 and 2014.

Wisner is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 29.

Platte County

In a rare complaint against an elected prosecutor, the Missouri agency responsible for investigating allegations of lawyer wrongdoing has recommended that Platte County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd be punished for professional misconduct.

The matter now goes before a disciplinary hearing panel – two lawyers and one non-lawyer – which will hear evidence and recommend what discipline, if any, to impose.

The Missouri Supreme Court is authorized to review the panel’s decision and impose punishment ranging from a public reprimand and suspension to disbarment.

Elana Gordon / KCUR 89.3

A provider of electronic health records systems for the U.S. Department of Defense is challenging the contract awarded to Cerner Corp. to develop the next-generation electronic health records system (EHR) for the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City Star reporters are being given new assignments as part of parent company McClatchy Inc.’s “reinvention” of newsrooms across the newspaper chain.

The health beat has been transformed into the “bad medicine” beat, the education beat into “raising Kansas City” and the crime beat into “courts uncovered,” to cite three examples.

jasonesbain / Wikimedia Commons

A federal judge has given the go-ahead to a lawsuit filed by the parents of an autistic teenager who was shot multiple times with a Taser after he stopped to tie his shoe on the lawn of a Missouri Highway Patrol trooper.

U.S. District Judge Fernando Gaitan this week denied dismissal motions filed by the five law enforcement officials named as defendants in the case by the parents of Christopher Kramer.

Google 2017

This story was updated at 1:47 p.m. and at 3:36 p.m. to include comments from the Putnam County prosecuting attorney and a spokeswoman for Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley. 

What began as a routine audit of Putnam County took an extraordinary turn when Missouri state auditors uncovered what appears to be a massive, fraudulent billing scheme in tiny Unionville, Missouri’s lone hospital.

University of Kansas Hospital

Two area hospitals earned spots on U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Hospitals” list.

The University of Kansas Hospital was deemed to be the best hospital in Kansas and in metro Kansas City, while Saint Luke’s was ranked the second best hospital in Missouri, behind Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.

Stormont Vail Hospital in Topeka was deemed the second best hospital in Kansas, the only other hospital in the state to earn top honors.   

Google 2017

This story was updated with new information at 4:13 p.m.

About 10 employees at the IRS Center on 333 Pershing Road complained of sickness this morning after coming into contact with a suspicious envelope left in the building.

Susanna Marking, a spokeswoman for the Federal Protective Service, a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, said the envelope smelled of ammonia. She said several people reported feeling ill with watery eyes and seven people were hospitalized. 

Andy Marso / KCUR 89.3

The director of the University of Kansas Cancer Center says it will continue to pursue “comprehensive” status after the National Cancer Institute denied it that coveted designation this week.

“We’re just going to be absolutely fearless in moving forward with this initiative,” says Dr. Roy Jensen, who has led the KU Cancer Center since 2004.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has denied the University of Kansas Cancer Center’s campaign for a much coveted “comprehensive” designation. But the center's certification as a nationally recognized center has been renewed for five years.

"We were disappointed but not surprised to learn that we did not receive comprehensive status,” Dr. Roy Jensen, director of the KU Cancer Center, said in a statement. “On average, it takes an NCI-designated cancer center 15 years to achieve comprehensive status, and we received our NCI designation just five years ago.”

Friday is Laura McQuade’s last day as president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, based in Overland Park, Kansas.

She’s leaving to become head of Planned Parenthood of New York City. In her three years in the region, she has overseen Planned Parenthood’s geographic expansion – it now operates 12 clinics in Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma – and the expansion of its health and reproductive services.

University of Kansas Hospital

The once-anonymous patient at the center of a whistleblower action filed against KU Hospital by one of its own pathologists is now suing the hospital herself for fraud, negligence and civil conspiracy.

Corbis / Flickr — CC

A lawsuit alleging the Missouri Department of Corrections systematically denies medical treatment to prisoners with chronic hepatitis C has taken a big leap forward after a judge certified it as a class action.

ROLANDOJONES / Flickr — CC

A former University of Kansas student who alleges she was raped in a college dorm can proceed with her lawsuit against the university, a federal judge has decided.

U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten on Thursday ruled that the dismissal of a separate class action lawsuit against KU over sexual assaults on campus did not preclude Daisy Tackett’s individual lawsuit against the university.

Riley County and Lawrence police departments

Riley County and Lawrence police issued a plea to the public for information on a serial rape suspect in 14 rapes or attempted rapes since 2000 near the Kansas State and University of Kansas campuses.

At a joint news conference Thursday in Manhattan, the home of K-State, they said they believed an attempted rape near the campus that took place two years ago was linked to the suspect.

All of the assaults occurred off-campus. The victims were all college students.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

This story was updated with additional information at 1:32 p.m. 

Heavy rains overnight caused severe flooding in parts of the Kansas City metropolitan area. 

In some areas of downtown, the rain at times fell at a rate of 2.5 inches per hour, according to the National Weather Service. Southern Cass County and parts of Lafayette County saw up to nine inches. 

Flooding was still widespread Thursday afternoon across the metro area, especially across portions of Wyandotte, Johnson and Jackson counties. 

Plantlady233 / Wikimedia Commons

This story was updated at 2:45 p.m. to include the comments of the plaintiffs' attorney.  

A Leawood, Kansas, couple whose home was raided by a police tactical team in a bungled SWAT-like search for marijuana will get their day in court after all.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

Southwest Boulevard Family Health Care, a safety net clinic in Kansas City, Kansas, will reopen its Quindaro facility after several years’ hiatus.

The satellite clinic will be located in a church building owned by Family Health Care. Initially, it will be open a couple of half-days per week and, depending on demand, may increase its hours of operation.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

The Kansas City Star’s historic headquarters building at 1729 Grand Blvd. has been sold to a local developer who wants to redevelop the property as a first-class office project for up to 1,200 workers.

On Friday, The Star’s parent company, Sacramento-based McClatchy, announced it had sold the historic property and the 11-year-old Press Pavilion across McGee Street for a combined $42 million.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

KU Medical Center on Thursday officially opened its new health education building, an $82 million, 170,000-square-foot facility that will serve as the primary teaching venue for its medical, nursing and allied health profession schools.

The state-of-the-art building, at the northeast corner of Rainbow Boulevard and 39th Street, was funded with $26 million in state money, $21 million from the University of Kansas Medical Center, $25 million from the Hall Family Foundation and the rest in additional private money.

Jeremy Bernfeld / KCUR 89.3

A federal judge has dismissed the lawsuit of a former Haskell Indian Nations University student who says she was raped by two of the school’s football players. She sought damages from the school, the federal government, the Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Haskell employees.

The 21-page order by U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten ruled that the government and university were immune from damages under the doctrine of sovereign immunity and that the ex-student had other remedies against the employees.

Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

This story was updated at 1:06 p.m. to include comments by Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley in a phone interview.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley struck back Wednesday at Backpage.com, the controversial classifieds website that sued him the day before, saying “there is no First Amendment right to engage in human trafficking.”

Urban Institute

Kansas’ uninsured rate would be 35 percent higher by 2022 under the Senate’s health care proposal than under the Affordable Care Act, according to an analysis by the Urban Institute.

File Photo / Kansas Public Radio

A federal magistrate judge on Wednesday refused to reconsider his order fining Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach $1,000 for misleading the court.

U.S. Magistrate Judge James P. O’Hara said the reconsideration request raised arguments that Kobach should have made earlier.

Eschipul / Flickr — CC

This story was updated at 2:11 p.m. to include the comments of a Cordish representative and at 4:52 to include comments by Williams' lawyer.

A federal appeals court has reinstated part of a lawsuit alleging that the operator of Kansas City’s Power & Light Entertainment District engaged in a “pattern and practice” of racial discrimination.

Paul Sableman / Creative Commons-Flickr

Centene Corp. will step into the breach created by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City’s decision last month to exit the Affordable Care Act marketplace in 2018.

The Clayton, Mo.-based insurer will begin selling health plans next year in all 25 western Missouri counties that Blue KC’s withdrawal would have left “bare” — that is, without any insurer offering health plans in the individual market. 

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United States Mission Geneva / Wikipedia Commons

In a post Tuesday on the Health Affairs blog, former Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius calls the Republican health care plans passed by the House and proposed by the Senate “a very cruel war on the poor.”

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