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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A lawsuit charging Missouri officials have failed to properly oversee the administration of psychotropic medications to children in foster care was certified Thursday as a class action.

A federal judge has frozen the assets  of 10 Kansas City-area companies that allegedly ran phony sweepstakes contests, preying mainly on the elderly.

U.S. District Judge Greg Kays on Tuesday also ordered the appointment of a temporary receiver to take charge of the businesses and imposed conditions on their operation.

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

Schlitterbahn will tear down the Verrückt water slide in Kansas City, Kansas, nearly two years after 10-year-old Caleb Schwab died on it.

James Cavallini / Science Source

Kansas has agreed to settle a lawsuit alleging the state’s Medicaid program sets too many barriers for hepatitis C patients to receive potentially life-saving but expensive medications.

Terms of the settlement have yet to be finalized, but the parties filed a notice with the court Tuesday afternoon that they had resolved the case after mediation. 

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

Nearly a year after Missouri state Auditor Nicole Galloway released a scathing audit of Putnam County Memorial Hospital in Unionville, Missouri, the tiny hospital is still struggling to recover from a lab billing scheme that's now the subject of criminal investigations. 

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Platte County taxpayers are on the hook for at least $70,000 in legal fees incurred by Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd in connection with an ethics complaint filed against him in May 2016.

Michael Coghlan / Creative Commons-Flickr

In a rare reprieve for an undocumented immigrant, Kansas City resident Maria Garcia-Mata no longer faces deportation to Mexico after a federal appeals court reversed a ruling by the Board of Immigration Appeals.

Garcia-Mata, a married mother of three who has lived in the area since she was eight years old, has been in a Kingston, Missouri, jail since she was detained by immigration authorities in 2015.

The ruling is unusual, said Garci-Mata’s attorney, Matthew Hoppock.

Donald and Laurie Draughon

After finding the Veterans Health Administration liable earlier this year for the suicide of an Iraq war veteran, a federal judge has awarded more than $480,000 to his father and two children.

In what was thought to be one of the few verdicts of its kind, U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson ruled in February that the negligence of the VA directly contributed to the death of Cpl. William Draughon of Kansas City.

First Liberty Institute

Mary Anne Sause was listening to Michael Savage, the conservative radio show host, when Louisburg, Kansas, police showed up at her apartment door. They’d fielded a complaint that her radio was playing too loud.

The retired nurse didn’t open the door at first. She said she was wary after she’d been raped years earlier. She called a friend, who came over just before the police returned and banged on the door. She opened it but left the screen door locked.

“They wouldn’t tell me what they were there for,” she said. “I was told if I didn’t let them in I would get a ticket.”

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After more than three years of litigation, Cerner Corp. is settling a class action lawsuit alleging it improperly failed to pay hundreds of employees overtime wages.

The terms of the settlement, however, may not see the light of day. Earlier this week, Cerner asked the court for permission to file the settlement agreement under seal, a motion unopposed by the plaintiffs.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

The state Public Defender’s Office in Kansas City, the largest in Missouri, will have another chance to argue that its caseloads have become unmanageable.

On Tuesday, the Missouri Court of Appeals ruled that the presiding judge of Jackson County wrongly refused to hold a formal hearing on the issue. It sent the matter back to the judge and directed him to create a record that can be reviewed on appeal.

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The families of five patients who died under mysterious circumstances in 2002 at a Chillicothe, Missouri, hospital got some bad news three years ago.

The Missouri Supreme Court refused to allow their wrongful death lawsuits against the hospital to proceed. The court said the families had filed their lawsuits too late, five years after the three-year statute of limitations had run out.

Joe Gratz / CREATIVE COMMONS-FLICKR

A Kansas law prohibiting lawsuits based on “wrongful birth” claims is constitutional, the Kansas Court of Appeals ruled Friday.

The measure, which Gov. Sam Brownback signed into law in 2013, protects physicians from malpractice suits if they withhold or fail to provide information about fetal abnormalities that might lead the mother to get an abortion.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

Missouri on Friday suspended Medicaid reimbursement payments to Planned Parenthood, a move that will affect thousands of its low-income patients.

The organization’s affiliates got the news in a letter the same day from Dale Carr, director of Missouri Medicaid Audit & Compliance, who said it was required by a provision in the 2018 budget cutting off funds for abortion providers and abortion counselors.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

A federal judge has declined to block a Missouri regulation governing medication abortions, although she found that the restriction “has virtually no benefit.”

Ruling in a case brought by the Planned Parenthood affiliates in Kansas City and St. Louis, U.S. District Judge Beth Phillips said the plaintiffs had not shown that the regulation “is a substantial burden to a large fraction of women seeking a medication abortion.”

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Blue Valley Hospital, an Overland Park facility specializing in bariatric surgery, has lost its bid to retain its Medicare certification, throwing its future in doubt.

A federal judge last week ruled she did not have jurisdiction to hear the hospital’s legal challenge and dismissed Blue Valley’s lawsuit.

The hospital promptly appealed her decision to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which it hopes will take up the case on an expedited basis.

“We’re still hoping for some rather quick relief,” said Curtis Tideman, an attorney for the hospital.

The University of Kansas Health System

It’s been a busy few months for The University of Kansas Health System, formerly known as The University of Kansas Hospital.

Its new $100 million hospital at 107th Street and Nall Avenue in Overland Park opens Monday following two years of construction.

That comes on the heels of its acquisition of the Environmental Protection Agency building in downtown Kansas City, Kansas.

And that came shortly after it purchased St. Francis Health in Topeka as part of a joint venture with Ardent Health Services.

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More than 1,300 phone calls between public defenders and inmates awaiting trial at the Leavenworth detention facility were improperly recorded over a two-year period, according to newly disclosed information in a civil lawsuit.

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Two more individuals face criminal charges in connection with the 2016 death of 10-year-old Caleb Schwab on the Schlitterbahn water slide, bringing to five the number of people charged.

An indictment unsealed Wednesday in Wyandotte County District Court accuses two maintenance workers at the Kansas City, Kansas, waterpark of obstructing law enforcement by giving false information to investigators.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

In a case that has implications for Missouri, Planned Parenthood has asked a federal court for a restraining order to block an Arkansas law that effectively bans medication abortions. 

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up Planned Parenthood's challenge to the law, which requires abortion providers to contract with back-up physicians with hospital admitting privileges. Planned Parenthood says it has sought in vain to find such physicians

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to hear a challenge to an Arkansas law that effectively blocks medication abortions, leaving the fate of a similar Missouri law up in the air.

A medication abortion is a procedure involving a combination of two pills. The woman takes the first at an abortion clinic and typically takes the second at home. Complications from the procedure are rare, with fewer than 1 in 400 patients requiring hospitalization. 

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill is calling for a federal investigation of billing practices at Putnam County Memorial Hospital, which was the subject of a highly critical state audit last year.

Platte County

This story was updated 8:58 a.m. Wednesday to include Eric Zahnd's reaction to the Supreme Court order.  

The Missouri Supreme Court has issued a public reprimand of Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd after finding that he violated three ethical rules governing attorney conduct.

The terse, one-page order did not lay out the court’s reasoning. Instead, it merely listed the rules Zahnd was found to have violated and stated that he should be disciplined.

Johnson County Sheriff's Office

 Editor's note: Offensive language is used in this story.

The Olathe resident who shot and killed an Indian national and wounded two other men last year at an Olathe bar pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to two hate crime offenses and one firearm offense.

Adam W. Purinton’s plea agreement with the government calls for him to serve consecutive life sentences on the three pleas as well as to the life sentences he was given in state court earlier this month.

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Already facing highly restrictive abortion laws in Missouri and Kansas, Planned Parenthood Great Plains now confronts the prospect of losing its federal family planning funds if a proposed Trump administration rule goes into effect.

The administration unveiled a proposal Friday that would make clinics that provide abortion services or referrals ineligible to participate in Title X, which helps fund birth control, cancer screenings and treatment for sexually transmitted infections.

Elana Gordon / KCUR 89-three

Acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie said Wednesday afternoon that the VA has reached a 10-year, $10 billion contract with Cerner Corp. to update the VA’s electronic health record system.

The deal calls for the North Kansas City-based company to use the same platform as the one it’s implementing for the Department of Defense so that the two giant agencies’ record systems can “talk” to one another. Cerner secured the defense department contract, worth more than $4 billion, in 2015.

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Federal prosecutors in Kansas have agreed to address issues arising from the furor over their use of recordings of phone conversations between attorneys and clients at the pretrial facility in Leavenworth.

Details remain to be worked out, but after a highly charged day-long hearing Tuesday in federal court, U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said Wednesday that his office was prepared to work out an agreement with the Federal Public Defender’s Office and the special master appointed to look into the tapings.

Johnson County Sheriff's Office

Adam W. Purinton, the Olathe resident who was sentenced to life in prison last week for killing a Garmin engineer and wounding two other men, plans to plead guilty to hate crime charges and avoid a possible death sentence in federal court.

A change of plea hearing is set for May 21, the day Purinton turns 53 years old, before U.S. District Judge Carlos Murguia, according to courtroom minutes filed on Wednesday. Purinton had previously pleaded not guilty to the hate crime charges.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

It’s been three months since Crecensio Mendez Ramirez, an undocumented immigrant who’d been living in the United States for 12 years, was taken into custody. Despite a letter-writing campaign and calls for his release, he remains in detention in a jail in Versailles, Missouri.

Jeremy Rothe-Kushel

A Kansas City Public library patron who was forcibly removed from a public event nearly two years ago is suing Kansas City police officials and others, saying they deprived him of his constitutional rights.

Jeremy Rothe-Kushel, an activist and documentary filmmaker who lives in Lawrence, was physically restrained and escorted from the event on May 9, 2016. It was the inaugural Truman and Israel Lecture, given at the library's Plaza branch by American diplomat Dennis Ross.

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