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When the health care system fails Kansas City women

Mortality rates for Kansas City mothers and infants, especially in Black and brown communities, are well above the national average. So local groups are stepping outside the traditional health care system to bridge the gap. Plus: The leaders of a small southeast Kansas hospital say the only way to keep it from closing is to cut back on services.

The Kansas City metro area can be a tough place to give birth. Rates of death or close calls for mothers after giving birth are high, and between 2012 and 2016, 662 babies died. KCUR’s Noah Taborda reports how some Kansas City groups are trying to improve birth outcomes, especially for Black and brown babies and their parents.

Rural hospitals are struggling everywhere, but nowhere is the situation more urgent than in Kansas. According to the most recent data, 80% of the state’s 104 rural hospitals are losing money. More than half could be on the brink of closure. Jim McLean of the Kansas News Service has the story of one of those hospitals and the hard choices that the people who depend on it are making to keep it open.

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Kansas City Today is hosted by Nomin Ujiyediin. It is produced by Paris Norvell, Byron Love and KCUR Studios and edited by Gabe Rosenberg and Lisa Rodriguez.

You can support Kansas City Today by becoming a KCUR member: kcur.org/donate

As a newscaster and a host of a daily news podcast, I want to deliver the most important and interesting news of the day in an engaging and easily understandable way. No matter where you live in the metro or what you’re interested in, I want you to learn something from each newscast or podcast – and maybe even give you something to talk about at the dinner table.
Paris Norvell is a freelance podcast producer for KCUR Studios,
As an on-demand producer, I am focused on using my skills and experiences across multiple digital applications, platforms and media fields to create community focused audio, video and on-demand products for KCUR Studios. The media that I produce aims to inform, entertain and connect with the Kansas City metro area as we continue to learn from each other. Email me at byronlove@kcur.org.
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and award-winning podcasts.
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