Kansas City, MO – Just about one in every hundred fifty kids will be diagnosed with autism. Parents and autism researchers say early treatment can make a huge difference in the child's later life. That treatment can cost a lot - tens of thousands of dollars a year. But most insurance companies don't cover it. Well, at least not here. Nine states now require group insurance plans to pay for the diagnosis and treatment of autism. Lawmakers in Kansas and Missouri pushed for similar legislation this year.
Kansas City, MO – The Kansas City Public Safety and Neighborhoods committee heard a report from the Health Department on the city's preparedness for a possible swine flu outbreak Wednesday.
Dr. Rex Archer emphasized that the virus that appears to have showed up in the Kansas City area Wednesday is new and may still be mutating, so no one knows if it is as potent as the one that has caused a large number of deaths in Mexico.
But if an epidemic develops, he says the city is well-prepared, and offers this status report:
Kansas City, MO – Two Kansans are among the some twenty people infected with a new strain of swine flu in the U.S.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment, or KDHE, reports the infected couple live in Dickenson County. That's about 150 miles west of Kansas City. One of the infected individuals recently traveled from an airport in Wichita to Mexico, where the strain has likely sickened more than 1300 people and killed at least twenty. None of the U.S. cases have been fatal.
Kansas City, MO – A Kansas house budget committee asked social service agencies yesterday to trim their budgets by an additional five percent, in an effort to deal with the state's lower revenue projections. But the Kansas Health Policy Authority - which oversees the state's Medicaid program - says the move would have devastating effects. KCUR's Elana Gordon reports.
Kansas City, MO – Representatives Cleaver, Moore, and Emerson met with leaders of the area's health care industry Monday at what they called a bipartisan listening session on health reform. KCUR's Elana Gordon has more.
Kansas City, MO – Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius faces the Senate Finance Committee today for a hearing on her nomination as the nation's next Secretary of Health and Human Services.
KCUR's Elana Gordon recently caught up with Donna Shalala...the former HHS Secretary under the Clinton Administration and longtime colleague of Governor Sebelius. Shalala, who's now President of the University of Miami, says there are many challenges in store for the next secretary, but that it's one of the most rewarding jobs on Capitol Hill.
Kansas City, MO – Emergency services at the area's public psychiatric hospital, Western Missouri Mental Health center, are going private. The Department of Mental Health says putting care in the hands of a comprehensive hospital ensures people will receive more integrated medical and psychiatric care. But as KCUR's Elana Gordon reports, some mental health advocates are concerned.
Kansas City, MO – The 2005 cuts to Missouri's Medicaid program stressed hospitals, federally qualified health centers, and even individuals with insurance. That's according to a new report released by the Missouri Foundation for Health and the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City. KCUR's Elana Gordon has more.
Kansas City, MO – The Missouri Department of Health is hoping to change the way it hands out some twenty seven million dollars in funds for home and community-based services for seniors across the state. But some agencies are worried about the effect. KCUR's Elana Gordon reports.
Kansas City, MO – Hospitals and clinics that treat the uninsured are busy places. But Truman Medical Center - the area's private non-profit hospital - is one such facility that's finding itself in an increasingly strained position. John Bluford is the president there, and says about a third of Truman's budget last fiscal year went toward treating patients who couldn't pay.
Kansas City, MO – Tuberculosis is on the decline in Missouri. That's according to recent reports from the state health department. But with a third of the world currently infected with the bacteria, local health officials say the region must remain committed to eliminating the spread of the disease. KCUR's Elana Gordon has more.
Kansas City, MO – The Missouri House voted down legislation yesterday to expand Medicaid through an increased tax on hospitals. Republican leaders say they're concerned the move would lead to future state costs and put lawmakers on a path of expanding welfare. Meanwhile, Governor Jay Nixon continued to rally for support of the plan yesterday in Kansas City. KCUR's Elana Gordon reports.
Kansas City, MO – Missouri health officials report it's been an unusually mild year for the flu. KCUR's Elana Gordon has more.
Flu season can run anytime from October through May and usually includes a couple of spikes in cases. Last year, Missouri's biggest peak occurred in mid to late February - the state documented more than 5,000 cases during that period alone. Jeff Hershberger is with the Kansas City Missouri Health Department and says overall, the number of flu incidents has been extremely low this year.
The military's recent effort to improve soldiers' mental health has reached Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
Some 400 mid-career soldiers at the base's one year professional training school recently heard from a panel of chaplains and behavioral health staff. Lieutenant Colonel Lanier Ward is in charge of academics and says the event marks a new addition to orientation at the school. Ward says he hopes this - along with other new initiatives - will reduce the stigma of asking for help.
Kansas City, Kan. – More people are turning to local sexual and domestic violence programs. KCUR's Elana Gordon reports.
The Kansas Coalition against Sexual and Domestic Violence says requests for services in both rural and metro parts of the state are at an all time high. Johnson County alone last year experienced a twenty percent increase in hotline calls and a ten percent rise in shelter requests.
There are major disparities in the health of Kansans, depending on their race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. That is according to a new report from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Harvard Researcher Dr. David Williams (pictured)led the study, and says racial differences in the rates of stroke, obesity, and infant mortality are particularly alarming.
Kansas City, KS – President Barack Obama signed a bill yesterday expanding the federal State Children's Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP. The move could mean more Kansas children have health insurance, but as KCUR's Elana Gordon reports, the state will have to find more money for its share.
About 40,000 Kansas children are enrolled in the state's health insurance program. State lawmakers approved legislation last year to expand coverage to an additional 8,000 children, as long as Congress agrees to help fund it.
Kansas City, MO – People with mental illnesses, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse issues can easily fall through the cracks in the health care and social services systems. That's according to a new study from the Mid America Regional Council, or MARC. KCUR's Elana Gordon reports.
Kansas City, MO – The economic stimulus package could have effects around the state, bringing in as much as one and half billion dollars to Missouri's Medicaid Program. KCUR's Elana Gordon reports.
The final version of a federal stimulus bill is not clear yet, but both the House and Senate are calling for a temporary increase in funding for Medicaid, the state-run health program for low-income families and people with disabilities.
Kansas City, MO – The flu season is officially underway in Missouri. KCUR's Elana Gordon reports.
The Missouri Department of Health has reported its first confirmed cases of influenza for the current flu season. The department's already received nearly 500 reports of flu from throughout the state, but the two recent ones in Eastern Missouri, mark the state's first cases confirmed by lab tests.
Topeka, KS – Opponents and supporters of a proposed statewide smoking ban are converging on the Kansas capitol this week.
The Senate Health and Welfare Committee is holding its first hearings of the 2009 session on a bill that would ban smoking throughout the state. Republican David Wysong of Mission Hills introduced the bill. He says with the state anticipating a billion dollar deficit, now's a good time to move forward on legislation that could significantly lower state health costs.
Kansas City, MO – The recession is bearing down on everything from factories to schools...even basic medical research. Across the country many research institutes have stopped hiring, but one of the biggest in Kansas City is still looking for help. The Stowers Institute boasts one of the largest medical research endowments in the country. That's helped a lot recently, but it doesn't mean the institute is immune from the national economy. KCUR's Elana Gordon reports.
Kansas City, MO – Smoking has plummeted in Kansas City Missouri, and so has the number of smoking-related deaths.
About a third of all adults living in the Kansas City region smoked cigarettes in 2001. By 2007, the number of smokers had fallen by 25 percent, according to a new report from the Kansas City Missouri Health Department. Dr. Rex Archer is the director there and told a city council committee yesterday the decline has saved many lives.
Kansas City, MO – Area Veterans hospitals are reporting that the number of hospital-acquired staph infections has sharply declined.
The V.A. Medical Center in Wichita says it's cut contagious staph, or MRSA, infections in half since March of 2007. That's when the hospital launched new MRSA prevention protocols. Peggy Hopkins coordinates those efforts and says the V.A. now screens patients for the potentially deadly bacteria when they're admitted, transferred, or discharged from the hospital.