Health | KCUR

Health

KCUR's health team focuses on health issues and their impact in Missouri and Kansas. Working with journalists at other public media stations and news outlets, reporters Dan Margolies and Alex Smith strive to bring listeners and readers timely, accurate and comprehensive coverage of a topic that leaves no one untouched.

Veterans Health

This story was updated at 1:47 p.m. to include the response of a spokesman for the VA region in question.  

Almost 1,000 veterans in Missouri, Kansas and Illinois were denied care at non-VA facilities because their wait times were incorrectly reported, an audit released last week concludes. 

Heartland Community Health Center

This story was updated at 3:22 p.m. on March 15 to include Jon Stewart's statement.   

The CEO of a safety net clinic in Lawrence, Kansas, has been suspended pending completion of a review of the organization's finances.

In a release Wednesday evening, the board of Heartland Community Health Center said it had suspended Jon Stewart and appointed the clinic’s chief operating officer as interim CEO.

Matt Kleinmann / Community Health Council of Wyandotte County

New county health rankings once again show Wyandotte County as one of the least healthy counties in Kansas. The good news: It’s no longer the worst.

Steven Depolo / Creative Commons-Flickr

Three infants in Johnson County are among the first reported cases of measles in the United States this year.

The Johnson County Health Department said Tuesday that the three infants, all under a year old, had been at the same day care center in Overland Park.

This story was updated at 2:43 p.m. to include the comments of ACLU of Missouri legal director Tony Rothert.  

Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt has lost his bid to unseal documents over Missouri’s execution protocol.

A federal appeals court on Tuesday ruled that the safety of members of Missouri’s execution team, as well as the state’s interest in carrying out its executions, overcame the general presumption that the public should have access to judicial records.

Brian Seifferlein / Harvest Public Media file photo

Seeking what he called “clean” food for lunch, Alexander Minnelli chose ProteinHouse, one of the newer restaurants in downtown Kansas City.

The bodybuilder ordered a Greek Bowl, which was topped with a "natural" turkey burger, produced without antibiotics. Minnelli describes "clean" as a number of things: "not something deep-fried," "non-GMO, no preservatives, something cooked right away, fresh."

Missouri Department of Public Safety

It’s still unclear what role technology might have played in the "nightmare" scenario that unfolded in Clinton, Missouri, this week, when an officer was killed responding to a disturbance call after 911 dispatchers gave police an incorrect address.

LeAnn Mueller / Wikimedia Commons

Segment 1: High-energy ensemble re-imagines jazz music for a younger generation.

The combination of french fries and Champagne, casual and sophisticated, is an accurate representation of The Hot Sardines' lively music. (It's also the title of their latest album.) Today, we talked with members of the group about their younger audiences, their resident tap dancer and how they fill old tunes with new energy.

Alex Smith / KCUR 89.3

Alan Carter didn’t start his recent research with any deep doubts about the insulin that people buy in pharmacies. He just wanted to find out how different kinds of insulin compared. 

“We thought, well, if we can figure out if there’s very subtle differences between the two manufacturing processes, then maybe we can help determine if there is a significant issue for patients who switch back and forth because of insurance formulary restrictions and costs,” Carter says.

Mike Sherry / KCUR 89.3

The proposed budget for Kansas City, Missouri, keeps overall funding for safety net health care providers steady at $31.9 million, but the majority of those programs would see budget cuts. 

Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center is facing the biggest cut. The city has proposed cutting their funding by just over half a million dollars for the 2018-19 fiscal year.

The proposed reallocation of money from the city’s health levy would also reduce funding for Kansas City Health Clinic, Northland Health Care and Swope Parkway Health, which faces the second biggest cut of nearly $30,000.

www.ci.independence.mo.us

City Manager Zach Walker announced the news Wednesday and said the department’s functions would be transferred to other city departments.

Independence is facing a projected $3 million budget shortfall for the upcoming fiscal year. Walker said the move would save about $375,000 a year for the city’s general fund.

“This is certainly not a pleasant move, but it’s one that allows us to be innovative, to reduce our overhead associated with that operation, but still provide the core basic services associated with the health department,” Walker said.   

Segment 1: A local dance troupe performs an original piece based on people's experience with cancer.

The Owen/Cox Dance Group has collaborated with Gilda's Club Kansas City and will perform a piece about how people's lives are impacted by cancer. We talk to the choreographer, and we hear from patients, survivors and caregivers.

Segment 1: #MeToo fallout has more parents worried about protecting their kids from sexual predators.

Missouri Legislature

Missouri’s general revenue spending on Medicaid has topped more than 2 billion dollars annually in recent years and its costs are rising.

That’s a problem for Republican State Sen. David Sater of Springfield. 

“It continues to be the biggest inflation that we have in state programs, and we have to do something,” Sater says.

The Springfield lawmaker is sponsoring a bill that would require Missouri to seek permission from the federal government to get what’s called a global waiver, basically allowing the state to create its own rules for operating Medicaid.

www.mied.uscourts.gov

A pediatric rheumatologist who once worked at Children’s Mercy Hospital is facing new charges in Michigan after losing his license over sexual misconduct allegations.

Mark Franklin Hoeltzel, 46, was charged last month in a criminal complaint for receiving and possessing child pornography. He was arrested at Detroit Metro Airport last week after undergoing treatment for addiction at a clinic in Philadelphia.

Courtesy of St. Luke's Health System

We know we need a good night's sleep. It’s good for our health, our cognition and productivity and our relationships.

It's so important that now, some Kansas City companies want to help their employees sleep better at night. The KC Chamber of Commerce is hosting a forum on sleep for the business community on Thursday morning. (Alas, it starts at 7:30 a.m.)

Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas

A major project designed to help improve community health in Kansas City, Kansas, has been put on hold, and local leaders will meet Thursday evening to discuss its fate.

The Healthy Campus project envisions a grocery store, expanded YMCA, farmer’s market and additional housing in downtown Kansas City, Kansas, and it was a top initiative of former Mayor Mark Holland.

Allison Shelley

Longtime health reporter Julie Rovner is chief Washington correspondent for Kaiser Health News, a nonprofit news service providing in-depth coverage of health care policy and politics. Before joining KHN, Rovner was a health reporter for 16 years at NPR, where she helped lead coverage of the enactment and implementation of the Affordable Care Act. 

Kinsa

Area hospitals are continuing to see high numbers of influenza patients, suggesting that the flu season has yet to peak.

At the University of Kansas Health System, 913 patients have tested positive for the flu so far, 162 of them in the last week alone, according to spokeswoman Jill Chadwick. Seventeen patients currently remain hospitalized.

“This is going down as one of the more aggressive flu seasons in recent memory for us as well as the rest of the nation,” she says.

Public Domain / Pixabay-CC

Perfectionism, bullying, depression and social media are a few of the stressors teens constantly face in today's society. As the number of teen suicides in Kansas City reach record levels, we speak with school councilors and health experts to learn why rates are climbing in the metro and how to help prevent suicides.

But first, a discussion on undeveloped land in suburban areas. What happens when the desire to turn unused land into roads and schools collides with the desire to keep things natural?

Guests:

Planned Parenthood Great Plains

The regional office of Planned Parenthood has selected a new president and CEO.

Brandon Hill, formerly executive director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Inquiry and Innovation in Sexual and Reproductive Health at the University of Chicago, assumed the role on Thursday.

Hill says he's eager to move from reproductive research to advocacy.

“I think we’re in a particularly critical time in this political landscape to where I couldn’t just stay in my lab," Hill says.

Loz Pycock / Flickr -- CC

Wendell Castle revolutionized the art world. The Holton, Kansas, native was known as the father of the studio furniture movement of the 1960s and 1970s. He mostly made chairs that looked like sculptures ... and the only shop class he ever had was in seventh grade. He died last week at age 85; hear his story and what he meant to the art world.

Missouri Foundation for Health, Virginia Commonwealth University Center on Society and Health and University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

In the last few decades, rates of premature death have been decreasing throughout the industrialized world largely because of improvements in public health. But there’s a striking exception.

Young adult and middle-aged non-Hispanic whites in the rural United States have been dying in increasing numbers since 2000.  

Public Domain / Pixabay-CC

Alternative newspapers offer a unique perspective on the news, events and culture of a city. But how are they handling an era where print media struggles? Today, we look at the role alt-weeklies/monthlies play both here in Kansas City and across the nation. 

Then, we learn how small adjustments to neighborhood parks in Wyandotte have made a big impact on the community surrounding it.

Guests:

Alex Smith / KCUR 89.3

Entrepreneurs Keely Edgington and Beau Williams, owners of a Westport bar called Julep, say that the Affordable Care Act has been an easy, inexpensive way for them to get health insurance. 

Having insurance has been critical for the married couple. Their daughter Lula was diagnosed with cancer in 2016 when she was nine months old. Even with insurance, the family needed help from friends and family to pay her medical costs.

Public domain / United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

It may not seem like a health issue at first but Dr. Vivek Murthy, the 19th Surgeon General of the United States (and first person of Indian descent to hold the post), is very concerned about what he calls a 'loneliness epidemic.' Today, we dig into why he thinks tackling it is one of the most important things society can do.

Staff Sgt. Benjamin W. Stratton / U.S. Air Force

A particularly severe flu season is a good reason to refresh our series on children's health and development. In this latest installment, we get advice from metro medical experts for keeping yourself and your loved ones healthy through the winter.

Marius Mellebye / Creative Commons-Flickr

A Shawnee County District Court judge has temporarily blocked an ordinance that raises the tobacco buying age in Topeka to 21.

The ruling comes after two Topeka businesses, with the assistance of the Kansas Vapers Association, filed a lawsuit this week challenging the ordinance, which was scheduled to go into effect Thursday. The businesses claim the ordinance conflicts with state law, which allows the sale of tobacco to people 18 and older.

Children's Mercy

The Hall Family Foundation and the Sunderland Foundation are donating $75 million each to help fund a new expanded home for Children’s Mercy’s Children’s Research Institute.

At an event Thursday morning, Margaret Hall Pence, director of the Hall Family Foundation, and Kent Sunderland, president of the Sunderland Foundation, announced the $150 million in gifts, and Children's Mercy showed plans for the institute’s new nine-story facility, which will be built on Hospital Hill in Kansas City, Missouri.

Cerner

Kansas City-based Cerner Corporation announced Wednesday that Brent Shafer will become its new CEO and chairman of the board of directors.

Shafer was previously CEO of Philips North America and had been CEO of the global Philips Home Healthcare Solutions business from 2010 until 2014.

Shafer will start in the position on February 1st.

Cerner's former CEO and co-founder, Neal Patterson, died on July 9, 2017 at age 67 from complications from cancer.

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