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.

www.mied.uscourts.gov

A pediatric rheumatologist who once worked at Children’s Mercy Hospital was sentenced to 10 years in prison Thursday after he pleaded guilty to coercion and enticement of a minor.

In his guilty plea agreement in September, Mark Franklin Hoeltzel admitted that he created a fake Facebook persona under the name “Ryan Gardner” to contact minor girls, including an 8th grader from whom he requested sexually explicit photographs.

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Nearly 5,000 women in Missouri were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015, the last year for which figures are available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s about 130 cases per 100,000 women, making breast cancer the leading type of cancer for Missouri women by far – nearly two-and-a-half times the diagnosis rate for lung cancer.

The incidence of breast cancer in Kansas isn’t much lower – about 124 cases per 100,000 women.

Segment 1: Autism in adults, from diagnosis to intervention.

Many of the therapies available for people on the autism spectrum are geared towards children, but what if you weren't diagnosed until you were 60? One woman's story sheds light on the challenges that arise for adults diagnosed with autism later in life.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Not gonna hear it

The U.S. Supreme Court said Monday it would not consider a case involving Planned Parenthood and the state of Kansas.

That means Kansas and Louisiana can still decide which medical providers appear competent enough to take on Medicaid patients.

But more notably, states’ power to exclude a clinic on other grounds — if, for instance, it provides abortion services — are limited.

Kyle Cassidy / Wikimedia Commons

Public radio star Peter Sagal has not always been the dedicated long-distance runner he is today. After competing on his high school cross-country team, 25 years would pass before he took exercising seriously again. What started out as a goal to get healthy, led to 14 marathon finishes. Today, Sagal talked about the lessons he's learned, and how his running helped him get a handle on life during hard times.

Segment 1: What medical marijuana looks like in practice.

Missouri votes approved Amendment 2 in November, legalizing the use of medical marijuana in the state. So what happens next? We'll talk about all the hoops that have to be jumped through before dispensaries start opening in our area.

Missouri News Horizon / Creative Commons-Flickr

Former Missouri state Sen. Ryan Silvey received more than $170,000 in contributions over a four-year period from the executives of a nonprofit that is the focus of a long-running federal investigation, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Segment 1: Turning a life of cystic fibrosis into art.

Last time we spoke with artist Dylan Mortimer, he was coming off of a seemingly successful lung transplant and breathing freely for the first time in his life. Now his body is rejecting those donor lungs. Hear insights into his artistic, emotional, and physical journey as he awaits a second transplant and continues to exceed his life expectancy. 

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This story was updated at 5:02 pm to include comments from a representative of Hooper Holmes.

Hooper Holmes Inc., an Olathe, Kansas, provider of health and wellness services, is laying off 99 employees in that city. The publicly traded company earlier this year sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and sold its assets to Quest Diagnostics.

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Kansas has agreed to cover the cost of drugs to treat Medicaid patients with chronic hepatitis C without subjecting them to a lengthy list of requirements.

A legal settlement, which awaits final court approval, resolves a class action lawsuit alleging the state made it too difficult for hepatitis C patients to receive the potentially life-saving treatments.

Seg. 1: Food Safety & Feeding The Homeless. Seg. 2: They Call Me Sauce

Nov 15, 2018

Segment 1: Food safety and feeding the homelessness in Kansas City.

The Kansas City Health Department recently intercepted food intended for the homeless out of concern for food safety, then used bleach to ensure it would not be consumed. The story has gone viral, generating a heated discussion in the metro and beyond. On this episode, we address the underlying tensions about how to help, and the needs in our community still going unmet -- with upwards of 4,000 people enduring homelessness.

BNIM

A new downtown YMCA, a huge civic endeavor in the making for seven years, is scheduled to begin construction Friday in the former Lyric Theater building. Completion is expected in spring 2021.

The $35 million Y will incorporate the front facade and lobby of the historic theater at 1029 Central and build a 42,000 square-foot addition behind it, bringing to downtown a host of health-related activities including a family pool and lap pool, medical clinic, gymnasium and suspended indoor track.

Segment 1: 100 years since the 1918 epidemic, but we still battle influenza.

Historians are still debating how many people died from the flu pandemic in 1918, at least 2,000 Kansas Citians included. We talk about the politics and protocols of treating the flu in the past and learn how to best prevent the spread of the flu this season.

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A Kansas law prohibiting drug-induced abortions via telemedicine is being challenged by a women’s health clinic in Wichita that provides abortions.

Trust Women Wichita on Thursday filed a lawsuit seeking to block the law from taking effect on Jan. 1.

“Our mission as an organization is to provide reproductive health care to people in the state of Kansas and elsewhere, and to provide that care to underserved communities,” said Julie Burkhart, founder and CEO of Trust Women Wichita.

HCA Midwest Health

Seven of 20 Kansas City area hospitals got A’s in patient safety, according to a new report, while nine got B’s and four got C’s.

The grades were assigned by The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit that twice a year rates 2,600 general acute-care hospitals across the country on patient safety measures.

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Legalization of medical marijuana has won widespread public support in the United States, driven at least in part by enthusiastic health claims made by its advocates.

“We see a wide variety of patients dealing with all sort of ailments. Anywhere from Crohn’s, diabetes, neuropathy, fibromyalgia and chemo and cancer patients, absolutely,” says a worker at a medical marijuana dispensary in a video that has drawn more than 9 million views on YouTube.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doesn’t know why young children across the country are coming down with a rare condition called Acute Flaccid Myelitis. Many are calling AFM  a “polio-like” illness, because it causes weakness and paralysis in childrens’ arms and legs.

File photo / Kansas News Service

Kris Kobach says his proposal to reform Kansas Medicaid could save the state $2 billion.

At campaign events, the Republican nominee for governor touts the benefits of combining Medicaid with direct primary care, an unconventional payment system that avoids the bureaucracy of health insurance.

Segment 1: Paying for period products can be difficult.

For some people, there’s a financial choice to be made when it comes to buying food, paying the bills, or purchasing pads and tampons. Some have to miss school or work because they don’t have the proper supplies. We talk about menstrual equity in the nation and in Kansas City, and what locals are doing to ensure that people have the supplies they need.

Darko Stojanovic / CC0 Creative Commons

Few issues split Kansas politics like the Obama-era expansion of Medicaid.

Unlike 33 other states, Kansas still hasn't expanded its Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act.  The decision would pay for the health care of thousands of people who don’t currently meet the program’s stringent eligibility requirements.

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Kansas City and St. Louis have some of the worst-rated nursing homes in the country, while Topeka, Overland Park and Wichita have some of the best.

That’s according to rankings published by FamilyAssets, a New York-based company that offers assessments and planning for people seeking home health care services.

Celisa Calacal / KCUR 89.3

Although hard numbers aren't available, anecdotal evidence and recent news accounts suggest that since Lime and Bird scooters arrived in Kansas City this summer, emergency rooms are seeing an increase in scooter-related injuries.

Kansas City joins other cities reporting an uptick in scooter-related injuries following the arrival of companies like Lime and Bird and their products' rising popularity.

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Sheri Wood, the longtime CEO of KC CARE Health Center, is stepping down.

Wood oversaw the expansion of what was essentially a mom-and-pop health clinic in midtown Kansas City into three locations across the city.  

When Wood began at KC CARE 22 years ago, it had a staff of 18 and a budget of $1.2 million. Today it boasts a staff of more than 150, a budget of about $16 million and more than 700 volunteers.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

A federal appeals court ruling in Missouri earlier this week significantly escalated the legal battle over abortion rights, reduced the number of clinics performing surgical abortions in the state to one – in St. Louis – and may be the decision that puts abortion rights back in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, where Brett Kavanaugh may or may not be among the sitting justices.

Susie Fagan / KCUR 89.3

A former emergency room nurse at Lawrence Memorial Hospital has lost her whistleblower suit alleging the hospital falsified patient records to obtain higher Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements.

A federal judge on Tuesday ruled that Megen Duffy failed to prove an essential element of her claims, namely that the allegedly false data had an effect on how much the government paid the hospital.

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This story was updated at 9:11 a.m. Wednesday to add the comments of a spokeswoman for Overland Park Regional Medical Center.

A Jackson County jury has awarded nearly $29 million to a physician who claimed he was wrongfully terminated by the emergency room staffing companies that employed him.

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A licensed nurse in Johnson County is one of 10 nurses and aides accused of Medicaid fraud and other criminal charges in a statewide crackdown on Kansas health care facilities that get Medicaid funding.

In a complaint filed in Johnson County District Court, Catherine M. Santaniello is charged with one count of Medicaid fraud, two counts of mistreatment of a dependent adult, and battery.

The complaint contains few details and the person she allegedly mistreated is not identified. 

Santaniello could not be reached for comment.

frankieleon / Flickr - CC

Segment 1: Government agencies suing pharmaceutical companies look to legal lessons learned from previous settlement against Big Tobacco.

A class-action lawsuit against tobacco companies in the late 1990s netted hundreds of billions of dollars, compensating states for costs associated with treating tobacco-related illness. Now, a comparable strategy could help defray the money cities, counties, and states are shelling out to deal with the opioid crisis. Today, an attorney involved in both cases explained the differences and similarities involved in each.

www.HealthCare.gov

Kansans seeking health insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s federally run exchange will have the choice of three insurers in 2019.

Kansas Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer said in a statement that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, Medica Insurance Co. and Ambetter from Sunflower Health Plan will offer 23 separate plans for individuals through HealthCare.gov, the federal government exchange.

Olathe Health

Olathe Health, parent of Olathe Medical Center and other medical groups, has named an Arizona health care executive as its new president and CEO.

Stan Holm, currently CEO of Abrazo West in Goodyear, Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix, will replace Frank Devocelle, who is retiring after 47 years with Olathe Health, 43 of them as its CEO.

Devocelle is one of the longest-tenured hospital CEOs in the country. He made more than $1 million in 2016.

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