KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City is among a handful of Blue Cross plans that federal authorities are looking to determine whether agreements with hospitals stifle health care competition.
Spokeswoman Sue Johnson said the local Blue Cross plan received a "civil investigation demand" from the Justice Department last month, asking for information about its use of so-called "most-favored-nation" provisions in contracts with hospitals and other care providers.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The four-mile stretch of Independence Avenue, between Paseo Boulevard and Interstate 435, contains hundreds of businesses: taquerias, mechanics, and check-cashing agencies to name a few. But there's only one place where you can find basic medical care. It's the solo practice of Dr. Elaine Joslyn. Dr. Joslyn's been caring for residents in Kansas City's Northeast neighborhood for over two decades. But as KCUR's Elana Gordon reports, doctors like her are becoming increasingly hard to find.
TOPEKA, Ks. – Kansas is now taking part in a multi-state online system aimed at better tracking medication used to make methamphetamine. Attorney General Derek Schmidt and members of the Kansas Board of Pharmacy announced the new controls Monday.
Pharmacies will now link to an online system to see if buyers have purchased the legal limit of pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in meth. Kansas already limits the sale of the medication, but Schmidt says this will strengthen the law.
TOPEKA, Ks. – Kansas governor Sam Brownback has signed into law a bill requiring both parents to consent to an abortion for a girl under 18. The bill would only require one parent in some cases, such as divorced parents.
Current law only requires that parents be notified.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Republican leaders in the Missouri House are pleased, but not impressed, with Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster's decision to file a legal brief in support of Florida's lawsuit challenging the federal health care law.
Salina, Ks. – Self-injury, also known as self-harm or self-mutilation, is nothing new. But modern technology has brought a new twist: internet videos about people cutting, burning, or otherwise inflicting pain on themselves. Now, mental health experts are worried these videos may make such conduct seem more normal and reinforce that behavior. Kansas Public Radio's Bryan thompson has more.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Up until the 1950s in Kansas City, if you were sick, the color of your skin determined where you could go for care. A new documentary commissioned by Truman Medical Center, From Separate to Equal: The Creation of Truman Medical Centers, explores the history of segregated medicine in Kansas City. KCUR's Elana Gordon recently caught up with the film's creators, Kevin Willmott and Greg Hurd, who previously made Confederate States of America and The Only Good Indian.
KANSAS CITY, Ks. – The news of Google's fiber-optic network coming to Kansas City, Kansas has captured a lot of attention. But KCK has also been in the spotlight for a very different reason. The same day of Google's big announcement last week, a national report ranked Wyandotte - for the second year in a row - as the least healthy county in all of Kansas. But how the county's responding to this is making some local, and even national, waves.
ST. LOUIS, Mo. – More than a million Americans are living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. About a quarter of them are women, and throughout the country, African-American women are disproportionately affected. St. Louis Public Radio's Veronique LaCapra reports on how one photography project is giving some HIV-positive women a new way to look at their disease and its challenges.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A not-for-profit group that represents the pharmaceutical industry is running radio ads in Missouri to combat legislation that would require a doctor's prescription to buy certain cold medications.
The Consumer Healthcare Products Association produced the ads, which urge people to tell lawmakers to "keep government out of your medicine cabinet."
TOPEKA, Ks. – One part of the federal health reform law that went into effect one year ago requires companies to spend most of the premium dollars they collect on health care for their customers, but some companies may struggle to meet that requirement.
TOPEKA, Ks. – The Kansas Senate has approved a bill restricting abortions after the 21st week of pregnancy. Supporters of the bill say that is when a fetus can feel pain. The legislation has already passed the House and should soon be sent to Governor Sam Brownback. Senator Terry Bruce, a Hutchinson Republican, brought the bill to the Senate floor.
"We are saying that the state believes we have the compelling interest to protect a child from harm when they can feel that pain," Bruce said.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The next mayor of Kansas City will be facing a number of tricky public health issues. KCUR's Elana Gordon recently sought out Mike Burke and Sly James to find out what each would do to improve the health of the city and its residents.
Kansas City is a place where about one sixth of the population is uninsured, where at least a quarter of all deaths are premature, where one in three residents is obese. But what exactly can a mayor do about any of this?
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Within a year or so, Children's Mercy hopes to be doing heart transplants for kids and newborns. Dr. Michael Artman is chair of pediatrics. He says the hospital currently refers a child out for a heart transplant once every six to eight weeks.
"It's not huge, but it's a definite need," Dr. Artman says. "And it seems to be a growing need."
Dr. Artman says medical advances are enabling more and more children born with heart complications to survive, but that can mean they need a heart transplant.
KANSAS CITY, Ks. – The Kansas Department of Social Services plans to close 14 in-patient psychiatric beds at Rainbow Mental Health Facility in Kansas City, Kansas, lowering the number of beds there from 50 to 36. Bill Miskell, a spokesperson for the department, says a recent Centers for Medicare and Medicaid review found the public facility does not have enough staff to operate all of its units.
TOPEKA, Ks. – The Kansas House today (Friday) gave approval to the so-called "Health Care Freedom Amendment" to the state constitution. The amendment is aimed at exempting Kansans from any federal requirement to purchase health insurance. It passed the House with a 91-27 vote but will likely face an uphill battle in the Senate.
Steve Morris, a Hugoton Republican, is president of the Senate. He generally doesn't favor constitutional amendments.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The number of babies born in Kansas City is on the decline after nearly two decades of being on the rise. Births dropped by about three percent between 2007 and 2009. Gerald Hoff, with the health department, says he doesn't have an exact reason for the recent change.
"Best guess is people can't afford to have kids or choose not to because of this economy," says Hoff.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Kansas Senate will be considering changes to the state's high risk insurance program today. The program, which is separate from the new federal high risk pool, is designed for people who can't get health insurance in the private market due to a pre-existing health condition.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Missourians with developmental disabilities have a new option for getting community and home-based services. Governor Jay Nixon met with families and health workers at the Developmental Disability Services of Jackson County office on Friday to highlight the new program's goal: getting care to people before they're in crisis.