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.

Creative Commons-Pixabay

A company looking to develop three fast-food chain restaurants in Kansas City, Kansas, hopes to tap a newly created economic development fund created recently by the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas.

Wyandotte County, of course, is the same area that consistently shows up at or near the bottom of surveys ranking health outcomes. Unified Government leaders have launched a variety of ambitious initiatives to reverse those metrics, so the question of whether they should help fund the fast-food proposal is of more than economic interest.

File photo

A “mega-bill” containing several provisions related to licensure of medical professionals survived a rules dispute to pass just before the Kansas Legislature adjourned early Monday morning.

Unless Gov. Sam Brownback vetoes the bill, the conference committee report combined in House Bill 2615 will require acupuncturists to be licensed, enter Kansas into a compact that will license physicians to practice across state lines and expand the authority of nurse midwives.

Health Care Cost Institute

Kansas City-area residents needing a knee replacement might find it worthwhile to drive to St. Louis.

That’s because the average price of the procedure in the KC area is $26,601. In the St. Louis area, it’s $23,114 – a $3,487 difference.

On the other hand, the average cost of an ultrasound in metro St. Louis is $375. That compares with $271 in metro Kansas City, a $74 difference.

United Health Foundation

More than a quarter of adult Kansans say they don’t have any of five major behavioral risk factors for chronic disease, but the picture isn’t so rosy for minorities, men or people with lower incomes.

A recent report from the United Health Foundation examined the percentage of adults with five unhealthy behaviors: smoking, excessive drinking, insufficient sleep, physical inactivity and obesity.

For those who suffer from food allergies, limiting certain foods can be a matter of life or death. Even though we’ve come a long way in understanding these allergies, more children are being diagnosed with them.

Guests:

  • Dr. Chitra Dinakar is a pediatric allergy & immunology physician at Children’s Mercy Hospital. She’s also a professor of pediatrics at the UMKC School of Medicine.
  • Dr. Natasha Burgert is with Pediatric Associates of Kansas City.

Martin Shkreli made headlines when his company raised the price of a decades-old drug more than 5000%.  That's an extreme example of the rising cost of prescription drugs.  We look at others and the reasons that many patients are unable to afford the medicines they need.

Guests:

University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute

Health is deteriorating in many rural counties while improving in many urban ones in Kansas and Missouri. But Kansas City’s innermost urban counties – Jackson and Wyandotte – continue to struggle, according to new annual county health rankings from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. Alex Smith spoke with University of Wisconsin-Madison researcher Kate Konkle, who was one of the report’s researchers.

Courtesy Bonyen Lee-Gilmore

The Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday about a controversial Texas law that imposes strict requirements on health clinics that provide abortions. The law requires doctors to have admitting privileges at local hospitals and meet ambulatory surgical standards.

The case is hugely consequential for abortion providers in Kansas and Missouri because both states have similarly restrictive laws.

Rob Jefferson

Rob Jefferson started losing his hearing when he was in his late teens. Sensorineural hearing loss, a progressive degenerative condition, runs in his family. His hearing gradually declined over a few decades, and though he was able to use conventional hearing aids for a few years, Jefferson, who's now 56, had lost all his natural hearing ability by his late 40s.

A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that prevalence of human papillomavirus has been dropping since the vaccine was recommended a decade ago. Yet nationally in adolescents, four out of 10 girls and six out of 10 boys haven’t had it. 

Guests:

  • Dr. Barbara Pahud specializes in pediatric infectious diseases at Children’s Mercy Hospital.
  • Dr. Natasha Burgert is a physician with Pediatric Associates of Kansas City. 

 Kansas is seeking a renewal of the Medicaid waiver for its KanCare program. As the federal government decides whether to grant the waiver, we discuss  future ideas to streamline the program and how well it provides healthcare for the most vulnerable Kansans. 

Guests:

  • Tim Wood is director of the Community Developmental Disabilities Organization for Johnson County.
  • Kari Bruffett is the policy director for the Kansas Health Institute.
  • Dan Margolies is KCUR's Health Editor.

Since the 1950s, injuries have replaced infectious diseases as the biggest threat to children's health. Most of these injuries, however, are easily preventable. 

  • Dr. Dale Elizabeth Jarka is a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at The Children’s Mercy Hospital.

Becoming pregnant and giving birth is a joyous time for many women. And yet, many suffer from serious depression during pregnancy and after birth. Now, the federal government is recommending that pregnant women and new mothers get screened for depression.

Guests:

  • Kim Vandegeest-Wallace is a psychologist and sex therapist with the Women’s Specialty Clinic at KU Med.
  • Jane McKinney a licensed social worker with the Lakewood Counseling Service.

News about the Zika virus has been spreading alarm across the globe. The virus is of special concern because of a rare birth defect it’s believed to cause. The Centers For Disease Control is warning pregnant women not to travel to affected countries. 

Guests:

The investigation into the outbreak of the norovirus at New Theatre Restaurant has expanded. More than 390 people have reported illness after attending shows on January 17th. Sara Belfrey, of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment gives us the latest details. 

Courtesy photo / Cerner Corp.

Neal Patterson, the CEO and co-founder of health technology giant Cerner Corp., says he has cancer.

He made the announcement Monday in a letter to shareholders and employees, which the company filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

When Dylan Mortimer was in fifth grade, he got a coveted pair of Air Jordans. 

"I was able to get some for about $60 that were a size too small for me," he recalls, "but I knew that was my only chance to afford them. I put them on and I was the envy of the school for about a year."

Of course, wearing shoes a size too small is no fun. "It was miserable and I can't say it really elevated my basketball play," he says with a laugh.

Alex Smith / Heartland Health Monitor

At her home studio in Westwood, Kansas, yoga instructor Marilyn Pace leads a class of 5-to-8-year olds. With the help of songs, games and other kid-friendly teaching methods, she guides her small students through poses like the cobra, the triangle and the downward-facing dog.

Tatjana Alvegard takes her daughter, Kaya, to Pace’s classes regularly.

“I played sports when I was a kid, and I think it’s really important. It makes for a good, healthy adult if you learn discipline and you learn it’s good to take care of your body,” Alvegard says.

Alex Smith / Heartland Health Monitor

On a Sunday morning, New Bethel Church in Kansas City, Kansas, comes alive with the sounds of worship as a full gospel choir and band bring hundreds of congregants to their feet.

At the center of the action, guitarist Clarence Taylor sits with his eyes lowered, strumming angelic-sounding chords. Taylor has a sound that would put a lot of hot-shot guitarists to shame, but he doesn’t claim the talent for himself. He says it’s a divine gift.

“I don’t know the notes,” Taylor says. “I can just pick it up. Sometimes it amazes me.”

Argentine District In KCK Gets Its Zumba On

Jan 8, 2016
Alex Smith / Heartland Health Monitor

Editor’s note: The video below, produced by KCPT Television, kicks off a five-part series called “Crossing to Health” that will run next week starting Monday. The series, by Heartland Health Monitor reporter Alex Smith, explores the health disparities between Wyandotte and Johnson counties and what’s being done to close the gap.

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.

Alex Smith / Heartland Health Monitor

Wyandotte and Johnson counties, despite being across the street from one another, are worlds apart when it comes to health. On this edition of Up To Date, we explore the issues each county faces and why there is such a large discrepancy when it comes to healthcare for residents.

Guests:

Alex Smith / Heartland Health Monitor

With Wyandotte County struggling to address a shortage of primary care physicians, a discussion exploring how that shortage affects doctors, patients and the health of our communities. Plus, what does it mean to be healthy, anyway?

Guests:

Nurse, Please

Jan 4, 2016

The history of nursing started on the battlefield. The profession that emerged is still with us, but in a totally transformed medical landscape. Using an exhibit at the World War I Museum as a jumping off point, this discussion explores how the origins of nursing have shaped both the realities and misconceptions of the field today. 

Guests:

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?

What is the future of cancer treatment? Two doctors from The University of Kansas Cancer Center discuss some new innovations. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach of radiation and chemotherapy, doctors are taking cues from the human body — such as looking at a patient's particular genetic makeup before determining a method of treatment.

Guests:

Commonwealth Fund

Though both showed improvements, Kansas and Missouri continue to rank in the bottom half of states on measures of health care access, quality, costs and outcomes, according to a new report by the Commonwealth Fund

Overall, Kansas tied for 28th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia and Missouri ranked 36th. Kansas improved on 10 indicators and worsened on one while Missouri improved on nine and worsened on one. 

Big Cities Health Coalition

Last month the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recognized Kansas City for its efforts to improve public health with its Culture of Health prize.

Now a newly released report by the Big Cities Health Coalition comparing health outcomes in the country’s 26 biggest cities offers a boatload of data suggesting Kansas City has made strides in many areas but lags in others.

 The Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City is out with a new report that looks back at the successes and setbacks of the last decade when it comes to the region's health. We discuss the report's findings on healthy eating and active living, tobacco prevention, oral health, behavioral health and physical health.

Guests:

People struggling  with infertility know just how painful, costly and emotionally draining it can be. We take a look at the issue through the eyes of an author who’s written a new novel on the subject, and we speak with a representative of an organization that provides support for those facing reproductive challenges.

Guests:

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