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.

FIle Photo / Kansas News Service

Anecdotal evidence from prosecutors across the state indicates opioid abuse is growing in Kansas, Attorney General Derek Schmidt said, but he urged lawmakers not to forget the state’s ongoing methamphetamine problem.

Schmidt answered questions about the issue Thursday from a panel of lawmakers in Topeka.

Madeline Fox / Kansas News Service

The University of Kansas Health System and Nashville-based Ardent Health Services announced Wednesday that they have completed the purchase of St. Francis Health in Topeka.

No one at the hospital in Fulton, Missouri (population 12,790) had ever heard of a management consultant named Jorge Perez until he showed up at its potluck in September.


Creative Commons-Pixabay

Two community health care providers in the Lawrence area hope a merger will help them offer stable medical resources to more residents of the Douglas County region.

Health Care Access, which has served the poor and uninsured of Douglas County for 29 years, will merge early next year with Heartland Community Health Center, a federally qualified health center that serves the same area. Both will fall under the Heartland name.

File photo / KCUR 89.3

Thwarted in its attempt to block one part of Missouri’s newest abortion law, Planned Parenthood has now filed a second lawsuit challenging another part of the law, one involving medication abortions.

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

State Medicaid officials on Friday formally started the process of renewing KanCare, the privatized Medicaid program launched by Republican Gov. Sam Brownback in 2013.

The two state agencies that oversee the private contractors that manage the program released a draft of the plan they intend to submit for federal approval after a public comment period that runs through November.

agilemktg1 / Flickr — CC

There’s some good news and some bad news for Missourians purchasing marketplace healthcare plans under the Affordable Care Act.

The good news: Those eligible for premium subsidies will see no increase in their premiums. In fact, a 40-year-old non-smoker earning $30,000 a year will see a 2.7 percent reduction of his or her premiums to $201 a month.

The bad news: Those not eligible for subsidies will see premium increases ranging from 12 percent to 50 percent for the benchmark silver plan.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

Emily Dumler, a Shawnee, Kansas, resident who was diagnosed with an extremely aggressive form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, successfully underwent immunotherapy more than two years ago.

Dumler was among the first people in the world to receive the treatment, which stimulates the immune system to fight cancer. But she had to travel to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, to receive it.

Elana Gordon / KCUR 89.3

A company that challenged the no-bid contract awarded to Cerner Corp. to update the electronic health records system of the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs is appealing the dismissal of its lawsuit.

CliniComp International Inc. of San Diego on Monday filed a notice of appeal after the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C., last week threw out its lawsuit on jurisdictional grounds.

Because many of the documents in the case are sealed, including the court’s orders, the precise reasons for the case’s dismissal were not made public.

File photo

A Jackson County judge on Monday declined to block a Missouri law requiring abortion physicians to meet with their patients three days before the procedure.

In rejecting a challenge to the law by Missouri’s two Planned Parenthood affiliates, Jackson County Circuit Judge S. Margene Burnett found that the requirement did not impose an “undue burden” on women seeking an abortion.

The University of Kansas Health System

The University of Kansas Health System has received a major boost in achieving its goal of raising $100 million to complete a new hospital tower.

Hospital officials announced Monday morning it was receiving a gift of $10 million from Cheryl Lockton Williams.

Intel Free Press / Flickr - CC

Kansas City has its fair share of historic buildings, but they're not always easy to find and appreciate. Today, learn how a new guidebook is bringing these sites to people's attention. Then, pediatrician Dr.

File Photo / KCUR

A Jackson County judge on Wednesday took under advisement Planned Parenthood’s request to block a Missouri law requiring that abortion physicians meet with their patients three days before they undergo the procedure.

C.J. Janovy / KCUR 89.3

Officials with the UnitedHealth Group on Tuesday announced they would bring 500 jobs to Kansas.

Around 150 of the positions will be at OptumRx's Overland Park facility at 6860 West 115th Street, where renovations have opened up a floor full of cubicles waiting to be filled.

"We're very, very deeply committed to Kansas," said John Mahrt, OptumRx's chief operating officer. "Kansas is a fantastic place for our people to live and work."

File Photo / Kansas News Service

The federal agency that oversees Medicaid has agreed to a one-year extension of Kansas’ $3.2 billion KanCare program, which provides managed care services to the state’s Medicaid population.

In a letter dated Friday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said the temporary extension would allow Kansas to continue the privately managed program, which was set to expire on Dec. 31.

Planned Parenthood clinic
File Photo / KCUR 89.3

Just two weeks before new regulations on Missouri abortion providers would take effect, the state’s Planned Parenthood affiliates are challenging the provisions in state court.

University of Kansas

A University of Kansas scientist who won a prestigious award last year for her work on antibiotic resistance has chalked up another major achievement. 

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Kansas officials say there is little chance that more than 400,000 Kansans who depend on the state’s Medicaid program will see their services interrupted.

They say they are confident federal officials will approve a critical waiver request before an end-of-the-year deadline.

Alex Smith / KCUR 89.3

Geneva Wilson has struggled her entire life with health problems, including a blood disorder, depression and a painful misalignment of the hip joint called hip dysplasia. But she’s found peace living in a small cabin in the woods of western Missouri.

Wilson keeps chickens, raises rabbits and has a garden. She says her long-term goal is to live off her land by selling what she raises at farmers’ markets.

Elana Gordon / KCUR 89.3

The same day a federal appeals court overruled itself and voted to block two Missouri abortion restrictions, the state advised Missouri abortion providers that they will have to abide by a new restriction.

A memo dated Oct. 2 from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) says the agency will file emergency rules on Oct. 24 establishing standards for “complication plans” for medication-induced abortions.

Sarah Scantling's daughter, Abilene, was born in Dryersburg, Tennessee, 30 miles from their home in Pemiscot County, Missouri.
Bram Sable-Smith / Side Effects Public Media

When Sarah Scantling went into labor this summer, she had to drive 30 miles and across state lines.

Three years earlier, the only maternity ward where she lives in Pemiscot County, Missouri closed down. Scantling had to choose between a handful of other hospitals in the region between 20 and 70 miles away. She chose to give birth in the hospital in Dyersburg, Tennessee.

Bryan Thompson / Kansas News Service

A rural hospital administrator in southwest Kansas has taken on the role of go-between for Kansans and immigrants from war-ravaged countries on the other side of the world.

Editor's note: This story was produced in collaboration with UMKC students covering the people and issues in Wyandotte County.

Wyandotte County is one step closer to housing the first dental school in Kansas.

The Kansas Board of Regents last week approved $2.5 million for the project’s architectural plans and construction drawings. The next steps include securing $6.9 million in annual funding from the state Legislature and raising $40 million in a capital campaign.

www.mccaskill.senate.gov

EmCare Holdings, one of the biggest emergency room staffing companies in the country, is facing scrutiny by U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, who has asked it to justify its billing rates.

McCaskill sent a letter last week to the president and CEO of EmCare’s parent company, Envision Healthcare, detailing her concerns, saying that its billing practices “may have contributed to a decline in health care quality and access for patients.”

A prescription drug monitoring program in Kansas will receive a federal grant worth more than $178,000 to help fight the opioid crisis.

The Kansas Board of Pharmacy oversees K-TRACS, a system for monitoring prescriptions for controlled substances.

Board Executive Secretary Alexandra Blasi says doctors, dentists and pharmacists who participate in the program report their prescription activity to the state to verify a patient’s history.

Webber
Brian Ellison / KCUR 89.3

The Missouri Democratic Party announced an ambitious set of health care proposals Tuesday, including expansion of Medicaid and policy changes focused on veterans, women’s health and opioid abuse.

Republicans control the House, Senate and Governor’s office in Missouri, making it unlikely the proposals will be adopted. But Stephen Webber, the party chair, said Democrats still want to present a “positive proactive vision.”

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Although Steve Foutch likes to joke he started demolition 10 minutes after he got the keys to Kemper Arena from the city, his company held a formal groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday. 

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 19.

Residents of Allen County in Kansas are getting some national recognition for their health-improvement efforts.

The county is one of eight 2017 winners of the Culture of Health Prize awarded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation’s largest public health philanthropy.  

Earl Bullington is an advisor for Focus Bank, which rescued the struggling Pemiscot County Hospital in 2013.
Bram Sable-Smith / for Harvest Public Media

$1.25 million.

That’s the size of the bill that could have shuttered the only public hospital in rural Pemiscot County, Missouri in August 2013.

Courtesy Kansas Health Institute

Low-income Kansans are less likely to have health insurance than their counterparts in other states, according to an analysis of new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

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