KC Checkup

Mike Sherry / Heartland Health Monitor

Danette K. Wilson took over as president and chief executive officer of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City in January, taking the reins from David Gentile, who stepped down for health reasons.

Blue KC provides health coverage to more than one million residents in the greater Kansas City area, including Johnson and Wyandotte counties in Kansas and 30 counties in northwest Missouri.

Wilson has been with Blue KC for more than 25 years, serving in many capacities, including as chief marketing officer.

Dalyn Schmitt formed the Heartland Regional Alcohol and Drug Assessment Center (RADAC) in 1998, building on state-funded services previously provided by Bethany Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan.

Based in Roeland Park, Kan., the organization started off with a budget of about $600,000 to serve individuals in 20 Kansas counties. Today, the RADAC serves nearly four times as many counties and boasts a $6 million budget.

Alex Smith / KCUR

The open enrollment period for 2015 health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act is coming up on Nov. 15 and extends to Feb. 15.

The federal health reform law has changed the way many consumers buy and use insurance. For insurance companies, it has transformed their entire way of doing business.

For this month’s KC Checkup, Heartland Health Monitor talks with Ron Rowe, vice president of sales for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, which provides insurance to more than a million customers.

Alex Smith / KCUR

The Latino population has been booming in Kansas in places where growth is otherwise stagnant.

Today, one in 10 Kansans is Latino. But there’s a big disconnect between that growing community and the health care system, according to Paula Cupertino.

She’s the Brazil-born director of Juntos, a group based at the University of Kansas Medical Center that examines Latino health in Kansas. She answered four questions as part of our monthly series, KC Checkup. 

Alex Smith / KCUR

The University of Kansas fall semester started this week, and along with new classes comes a big change in lifestyle for thousands of students. Junk food, all-night study sessions, marathon parties – the college life has a reputation as being a less-than-healthy one.

For this month’s KC Checkup, KCUR’s Alex Smith spoke with KU health educator and grant coordinator Jenny McKee about the health of the latest generation of young scholars.  

University of Missouri - Kansas City

Although some disparities have been shrinking in recent years, African-Americans’ experience with health and healthcare still varies dramatically from much of the rest of the population.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, African-Americans have some of the highest rates of diabetes, infant mortality and hypertension, among other health markers.

For the past 25 years, Kansas City’s Black Healthcare Coalition has been working to improve health in the African-American community.

Alex Smith / KCUR

Kansas City is known for lots of things: barbecue, the Country Club Plaza, broad boulevards, the place where Walt Disney grew up.

Less flatteringly, Kansas Citians are fatter, exercise less and smoke more than most of the rest of the country.

As leader of the Mid-America Regional Coalition’s Regional Health Care Initiative, Scott Lakin works to address those unhealthy distinctions. Lakin is a former Missouri state representative and one-time director of the Missouri Department of Insurance.

He answered five questions as part of our monthly series, KC Checkup:

Alex Smith / KCUR

The older you get, the more complicated and expensive health care becomes. A study from the National Institutes of Health shows that half the money that’s spent on Americans’ health is spent on care after age 65.

That’s why changes to the health system – like the Affordable Care Act and Medicare reform — can be especially concerning to older people.

Alex Smith / KCUR

All the recent changes to health care in the past few years have shown the U.S. health care system as a kind of Rube Goldberg invention; a costly mismatch of parts that doesn’t necessarily get great results. 

The Mid-America Coalition on Health Care in Kansas City, Mo., aims to changes that by bringing together employers, insurers and medical providers to lower costs and potentially improve health. The coalition is one of the oldest health non-profits in the United States, and members include a lot of big Kansas City businesses like Cerner and Hallmark.

Alex Smith / KCUR

Jim Heeter is President and CEO of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. His four years in the role have given him a front-row seat to watch the growth of Kansas City's heath care industry, as well as how health reform is affecting Kansas City business overall.

He answered five questions as part of our monthly series, KC Checkup.

Alex Smith / KCUR

Dr. Rex Archer is the director of the Kansas City, Mo., Health Department, which administers everything from flu shots to restaurant inspections. Archer says he is responsible for 480,000 patients and that social equity is the key to the city's future.

He answered five questions as part of our monthly series, KC Checkup.

What do you see as the biggest priority for health right now?