health care

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

On average, men live significantly shorter lives than women, frequent the doctor less, and die at higher rates in nine of the top ten causes of death. Today, we find out how masculinity is related to men's health.

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Should doctors and judges be able to decide on an infant's end-of-life care, even if it goes against the wishes of the child's parents? Does a presidential adviser owe his or her personal loyalty to their boss?

This week, Missouri transferred the state-run health coverage of about 240,000 low-income adults and children to managed care plans run by three companies: WellCare, Centene Corporation and United Health Group.

The move is part of an increasing privatization of Missouri’s Medicaid program, MO HealthNet. Legislators call it a cost-saving measure that improves efficiency in health care. Critics say the transfer happened too quickly, putting patient health at risk.

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

The owner of St. Francis Health left no doubt it won’t continue to run the Topeka hospital for more than a few months.

The lingering question is whether anyone else will step in to keep it from closing.

Mike Slubowski, president and CEO of SCL Health, said in a news release Tuesday that he hopes to have a clear answer about the hospital’s future by the first week of May. SCL, formerly known as the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, is based in Denver.

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Immigrants — both legal and undocumented — living in the metropolitan Kansas City area face unique barriers to health care, according to a report released this week by the REACH Healthcare Foundation.

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Today we ask the Ethics Professors which services the government is (and is not) morally obligated to provide its citizens. Health care? Education? A good-paying job? Then, KCUR's Sam Zeff fills us in on a Kansas Supreme Court ruling with major implications for education funding and equity.

Andy Marso / Kansas News Service

Dr. Saeedeh Salmanzadeh became a U.S. citizen at a naturalization ceremony in October 2015.

When the presiding official asked if any of the new citizens wanted to speak, she was one of the first to raise her hand.

By then Salmanzadeh had spent 15 years in America, after leaving her home in Iran where she was a doctor.

She had spent two years with no pay, studying for exams so she could practice in the United States.

When it comes to chronic pain, opioids are the go-to treatment. But in light of the so-called "opioid epidemic," what are the viable alternatives for people living with pain? And what is it like to live with physical pain, knowing it will never fully go away?

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Marco Silva / BBC World Service

How are the first few weeks of the Trump administration affecting Kansas City? On this international edition of Up To Date, host Steve Kraske is joined by the BBC's Shaimaa Khalil to hear what callers are thinking about President Trump's executive orders concerning an immigration ban and repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Andy Marso / Kansas News Service

Dr. Damon Heybrock’s office doesn’t look like a traditional medical clinic.

Heybrock finished converting a two-story row house into a medical practice in September, putting exam tables in the bedrooms and a centrifuge for lab tests next to the kitchen sink.

Original pieces by Kansas City artists cover the walls of the clinic in Westwood, which Heybrock named Health Studio KC.

The look isn’t the only thing that’s different about his practice — so is the payment method. 

questdiagnostics.com

When Amanda January was growing up in Gardner, Kansas, regular doctor’s visits weren’t a regular thing at all.

“When I was a kid we almost never went to the doctor,” January says. “I was rarely sick. My siblings were rarely sick. We just didn’t go.”

She’s now a dancer and Pilates teacher who works hard to manage her health, but she’s still skeptical about doctors.

“Some doctors might care more about paying off their student loans than their patients,” she says.

From left: Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, Kansas Farm Bureau CEO Terry Holdren, Gov. Sam Brownback and Overland Park Regional Medical Center CEO Kevin Hicks.
Andy Marso / KCUR 89.3

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback unveiled a two-part plan Friday to bring more doctors to the state and quell health care shortages that he said threaten to kill rural communities.

Brownback, flanked by Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, a hospital executive and the head of the Kansas Farm Bureau, harkened back to his days growing up in Parker — population 250 — to personalize the push for more rural doctors.

It's been three weeks since the election, and public reactions are still hot. Today, Kansas City's own David Von Drehle, editor-at-large for Time magazine, treads the political aftermath.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

First, a recollection of the Chief's overtime victory over the Broncos Sunday night. Then, a look at an agency that settled a case last month involving charges of illegal kickback payments, but is still doing business with the state of Kansas. Finally, Author Candice Millard recounts the adventures of a young Winston Churchill as detailed in her latest book.

Uncertainty surrounds the Affordable Care Act, as some Republicans have vowed to repeal and replace it. Today, a former Obama administration official discusses possible changes to the law. Then, Brian McTavish presents a Thanksgiving version of his Weekend To-Do List.

An Alzheimer's diagnosis impacts not just the person who has the disease but their family and friends who take on a caretaking role, as well. Too often, the health and happiness of the supporters is overlooked, to the detriment of everyone involved.

Guests:

Projections show a widening gap between the number of primary care doctors the country needs and the number of med students choosing it over other sub-specialties. Programs like Health is Primary, which encourages medical students to select a primary care specialty, are looking to bridge that gap.

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The cost of a premature birth was the beginning of a controversy involving the price of health care, AOL’s CEO and the baby's mother. The dispute sparked a national debate about the value of a human life.

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Attitudes about hospice and palliative care have changed dramatically over the last 40 years, and the number of patients who receive this type of treatment has expanded. Two longtime leaders in the field, though, acknowledge that more work is needed to ease the pain and suffering of the most ailing patients.

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Kansas Citians Share Health Care Horror Stories

Jan 7, 2016
Artur Bergman / Flickr -- CC

 

A broken jaw during gall bladder surgery. Waiting 95 minutes for a doctor’s appointment. Being hit by a nurse.

When we asked, “What was your worst experience with health care in Kansas City?” you didn’t hold back.

Complaints ranged from access to health care to interactions with health professionals and facilities gone wrong.

KCUR 89.3

 

We've all had experiences with health care that were less than ideal.

Maybe it was a botched surgery. A bill with a lot of zeroes. Or long wait times in an emergency room.

As our health reporting desk, Heartland Health Monitor, digs into health disparities in Kansas City, we want to hear more about the local health system through the eyes and ears of our audience.

Tell KCUR: What was your worst experience with health care in Kansas City?

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City Mayor Sly James met with health care counselors and members of the public at Samuel Rodgers Health Center Saturday to promote enrollment on the Affordable Care Act marketplace.

White, middle-aged Americans' death rates are on the rise, in Kansas City and beyond. How suicide, alcohol and drugs are contributing to the problem. Plus, gaps in mental healthcare services in and around Kansas City.

For immediate help, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 800-273-8255. 

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Republican Kansas Rep. Susan Concannon and Rep. Don Hill provide an insider perspective on the Kansas Legislature as we discuss their removal from the Health and Human Services Committee.

Guests:

KHI News Service file photo

Over the past year, Kansas has changed its state employee health plan so employees shoulder more of the cost burden while the cash-strapped state pays less.

State officials say the changes correct imbalances within the plan and shore up a reserve fund for the future.

But Rebecca Proctor, executive director of the Kansas Organization of State Employees labor union, said the cost shift will be hard to bear for employees who haven’t had an across-the-board pay raise since 2009.

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Employees of Jackson County will likely see an increase in health insurance premiums in 2016.

The proposed changes were discussed at the Jackson County Legislature’s meeting on Monday. An across-the-board increase of 14.4 percent is expected next year, though some employees may end up paying less.

The U.S. is pledging to take in 85,000 refugees from around the world in 2016. The Ethics Professors discuss whether that's enough as the crisis in Syria continues. Also, is it ethical to let the free market decide prescription prices if that puts drugs outside the reach of many who need them, and should leaders remain in their positions if they, or their organization, are under investigation?

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Iowa Healthcare Collaborative

Roughly 1,000 Kansas doctors soon will be participating in a massive nationwide initiative aimed at improving the quality and efficiency of the health care system.

The Kansas doctors will be part of a six-state transformation project managed by the Iowa Healthcare Collaborative, a nonprofit organization formed in 2004 by doctors and hospitals in the state.

Dr. Tom Evans, the CEO of the Iowa collaborative, said each of the participating states will be free to focus on its own improvement strategy.

Esther Honig

This summer, more than 200 teams from around the world competed in KCRW's third International Radio Race. Participants were given the theme "Time Change" and 24 hours to produce a short radio story.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

In 2009, Mary Kay O'Connor was preparing to restart her consulting business. Her specialty was collecting customers' stories to provide meaningful feedback to her clients. The Affordable Care Act was in the news, and she became interested in the data collected by the federal government — data that showed hospitals performing poorly but without much information on how they could improve.

She may not have been the typical startup entrepreneur – but an idea took hold.

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