Dan Margolies | KCUR

Dan Margolies

Health and Legal Affairs Editor

Dan was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. and moved to Kansas City with his family when he was eight years old. He majored in philosophy at Washington University in St. Louis and holds law and journalism degrees from Boston University. He has been an avid public radio listener for as long as he can remember – which these days isn’t very long… Dan has been a two-time finalist in The Gerald Loeb Awards for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism, and has won multiple regional awards for his legal and health care coverage. Dan doesn't have any hobbies as such, but devours one to three books a week, assiduously works The New York Times Crossword puzzle Thursdays through Sundays and, for physical exercise, tries to get in a couple of rounds of racquetball per week.

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Reported syphilis cases in Kansas City jumped by 71 percent last year and included nine cases of congenital syphilis in which the mother passed the disease on to her newborn child.

The spike has set off alarm bells at the Kansas City Health Department, which could see cuts in or reallocations of health levy funds that support the city's safety net system in next year’s municipal budget.

Nathan Lawrence / KBIA

Federal prosecutors on Monday charged a Columbia, Missouri, resident with setting a fire at the Planned Parenthood clinic in that city that led to its closure for a week.

Wesley Brian Kaster, 42, was accused of one count of maliciously damaging, by means of fire or an explosive, a building owned by an organization that receives federal funding.

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Missouri will have to reform its parole policies after a federal judge ruled in favor of thousands of current and former parolees who sued the state, claiming those policies are unconstitutional.

Many parolees have been sent back to prison for technical violations of their parole such as crossing a state line, missing a parole appointment or losing a job because their employer found out about their criminal record.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

The University of Missouri on Tuesday sued a professor who has been accused of exploiting student labor, alleging he defrauded the university of at least $1.5 million by stealing a student’s research and selling it.

The suit, filed in federal court in Kansas City, accuses UMKC pharmacy professor Ashim Mitra of stealing a more effective formulation to deliver drugs to the eye from one of his graduate students, Dr. Kishore Cholkar.

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It's illegal for employers to discriminate against people who don't conform to gender stereotypes, the Missouri Supreme Court held Tuesday in a decision seen as a major victory for LGBTQ advocates.

The court ruled in a case involving a gay individual, Harold Lampley, who alleged that his employer discriminated against him because he didn’t exhibit stereotypically male behavior and apperance.

Nathan Lawrence / KBIA

Missouri has one remaining abortion provider after a federal judge on Friday refused to block the state's law requiring that abortion providers have admitting privileges at a local hospital.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Brian Wimes was the latest development in a case that has bounced around the federal courts for more than two years, after Planned Parenthood challenged the requirement as medically unnecessary.

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

A Wyandotte County judge has thrown out all five remaining criminal indictments stemming from the death three years ago of 10-year-old Caleb Schwab on the Verruckt water slide at the Schlitterbahn waterpark, finding that they were tainted by grand jury abuse.

Judge Robert P. Burns ruled that improper evidence and testimony were presented to the grand jury, requiring the indictments’ dismissal.

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A federal judge has frozen the assets of a Kansas City, Kansas-based sect that was hit with a $7.9 million judgment last year for human trafficking.

U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson found that members of the group formerly known as the United Nation of Islam had fraudulently transferred assets to non-profit groups they created in order to prevent Kendra Ross, the woman who obtained the judgment, from collecting the money.

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A physician who won one of the biggest jury awards in Missouri last year in a whistleblower case over emergency room staffing is going back to court after a judge slashed his award by more than half.

Dr. Raymond Brovont had worked in the regular emergency room and the pediatric emergency room at Overland Park Regional Medical Center. Technically, his employer was an emergency-room staffing company called EmCare. After he raised concerns that only one physician was being used at night to cover both ERs – a policy he believed endangered patient safety — Brovont was fired.

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This story has been updated to include additional names of employees who accepted buyout offers.

More than half a dozen marquee reporters at The Kansas City Star have accepted buyouts from the newspaper’s parent company.

Today was the deadline for accepting the offers, which were extended by McClatchy Co., the Sacramento, California-based owner of The Star, a few weeks ago.

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The feud between former Kansas City Star guest columnist Steve Rose and Kansas Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning has escalated.

In a statement defending the column that provoked Denning to sue The Star and Rose for defamation, Rose insisted Denning made the comments he attributed to him – if perhaps at a different time than his column suggested.

Rose said Denning made the disparaging remarks about Medicaid recipients he cited in his Jan. 26 column during an hourlong get-together the two had at Houlihan’s restaurant in Fairway, Kansas.

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A medical group that provides anesthesia services to Kansas City metro hospitals has notified 3,472 patients that some of their personal information may have been compromised after surgery schedules were stolen from an employee’s car.

Anesthesia Associates of Kansas City posted a notice on its website that the surgery schedules may have included some patients’ names, dates of birth, types and dates of surgery, and the name of the patients’ surgeons.

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Former KSHB-TV Channel 41 reporter Lisa Benson says her race discrimination and retaliation case against the station where she’d worked for 14 years was a trial in more ways than one.

“In opening statements, they described me as an angry black, violent woman and that was very hurtful, considering those would be the same people who would have sent flowers to the maternity ward when I gave birth,” says Benson, a mother of two boys. “So … I learned a lot going through this process.”

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

This story was updated to include Sen. Jim Denning's comments.

The Kansas City Star came out swinging Friday in response to a defamation lawsuit filed last month by Kansas Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning.

The newspaper asked a Johnson County court judge to strike the lawsuit and penalize Denning, his attorney and the attorney’s law firm for violating the Kansas Public Speech Protection Act.

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This story was updated to add the comments of Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly.

Oswego Community Hospital, a 12-bed critical access hospital in southeast Kansas, abruptly closed down on Thursday, citing insufficient revenue to cover its operating expenses.

The hospital’s board released a statement saying the hospital had “weathered low patient volumes; high number of uninsured patients; low reimbursement rates; difficulty in getting payment from private insurance providers; low Medicaid and Medicare rates; and the state’s refusal to expand Medicaid.”

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This story was updated to include the comments of Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt. 

An adherent of The Satanic Temple who challenged Missouri’s informed consent law on abortion, claiming it violated her First Amendment rights, has lost her case in the Missouri Supreme Court.

The law requires women seeking an abortion to acknowledge receipt of a booklet stating that life begins at conception and that abortion “will terminate the life of a separate, unique, living human being.”

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This story was updated at 5:39 p.m. to add comments from Planned Parenthood Great Plains. 

The FBI is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever set a fire at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Columbia, Missouri, that has forced it to close.

The blaze was reported shortly after 4 a.m. Sunday. No one was in the building at the time, and it was extinguished by the clinic’s sprinkler system.

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A gymnastics studio in Gladstone, Missouri, that refused to admit a child with autism has agreed to provide programs for children with disabilities under a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice.

The studio, Creative Arts Academy, agreed to the settlement after the department found it had violated the Americans with Disabilities Act when it declined to enroll 3-year-old Bella Crowe.

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A federal jury on Friday delivered a mixed verdict in a highly charged race discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed by Lisa Benson Cooper, a former reporter at KSHB-TV Channel 41 in Kansas City.

The jury of four men and four women found for the television station and its owner, Scripps Media Inc., on Cooper’s race discrimination claims but found for Cooper on her retaliation claims.

Bram Sable-Smith / Side Effects Public Media and KBIA

Another hospital led by EmpowerHMS, the North Kansas City company that has defaulted on its bills and missed payroll at its hospitals over the last couple of months, is under new management.

City officials said that Fulton Medical Center, a 37-bed acute-care hospital in Fulton, Missouri, is now being run by a management team led by its CEO, Mike Reece.

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McClatchy Co., the parent company of The Kansas City Star and the Wichita Eagle, is offering buyouts to about 10 percent of its workforce.

In an email to employees on Friday, McClatchy President and CEO Craig Forman said the company was “rolling out two major initiatives,” including “a voluntary early retirement program for qualified colleagues, as we continue to align the size of our workforce to the changes that come with digital transformation.”

The email said about 450 McClatchy employees would be receiving “a voluntary early retirement offer today via email.”

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Kansas City Star columnist Steve Rose handed in his resignation Saturday after Kansas Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning accused Rose of falsely attributing statements to him about Medicaid expansion.

Rose, who is not an employee of The Star but has written a political column for the newspaper for years, told KCUR that The Star accepted his resignation on Monday.

In a brief phone interview, Rose said he has been writing columns for nearly 50 years “and I’ve never made anything up and I can prove that what he is saying is absolutely wrong.”

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The University of Kansas Hospital is one of 38 hospitals across the country challenging a rule cutting Medicare rates for outpatient hospital sites to match the lower rates paid to physicians’ offices.

Under the rule, which took effect Jan. 1, Medicare will pay the same rates for medical services regardless of whether they’re provided in a physician’s office or in a hospital department that’s off the main campus of the hospital.

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The health system formerly known as Shawnee Mission Health is expanding its presence in Johnson County, saying it will break ground in the fall on an 85-bed hospital in south Overland Park, Kansas.

AdventHealth, as it rebranded itself earlier this month, also plans to open an outpatient health facility later this year at the corner of College Boulevard and Metcalf Avenue in Overland Park and a medical office building in Merriam, Kansas.

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The Missouri Supreme Court is set to hear arguments Wednesday in a case challenging the legality of one aspect of Missouri’s death penalty statute.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City pair skater John Coughlin was found dead Friday afternoon in a residence on the 10900 block of Washington Street, according to USA Today, which cited a Facebook post by his sister.

“My wonderful, strong, amazingly compassionate brother John Coughlin took his own life earlier today,” Angela Laune wrote on Facebook. “I have no words.”

Coughlin, 33, won the 2012 United States Figure Skating Championships with partner Caydee Denney and the 2011 championships with partner Caitlin Yankowskas.

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A Marion County, Kansas, judge on Friday appointed a receiver to run Hillsboro Community Hospital after its lender moved to foreclose on the 15-bed facility earlier this month.

The judge found that “immediate and irreparable harm is likely to result if a receiver is not appointed to operate and manage the Hospital in order to ensure that it remains open and retains as much of its value as possible.”

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Nearly 100 Kansas City-area employees of Lee Jeans are slated to lose their jobs in connection with the company’s relocation from Merriam, Kansas, to North Carolina.

Federal law requires companies with more than 100 employees to give workers 60 days' notice before being laid off. Lee's parent company, VF Corporation, filed such a notice on Monday, saying 93 employees will be affected by the move.

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An eleventh-hour payment of $16,644 for delinquent utility bills averted a threatened cutoff of electricity at tiny Hillsboro Community Hospital in central Kansas.

The city, 50 miles north of Wichita and home to about 3,000 people, said in a brief news release that it gave notice to the hospital on Jan. 8 that it would shut off utilities effective at noon Friday. It received the payment in the morning.

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A federal appeals court has thrown out a class action lawsuit against Missouri and its governor that seeks to fix the state’s chronically underfunded and overworked public defender system.

A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday ruled that both the state and governor are immune from the suit on sovereign immunity grounds.

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