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.

Alex Smith / KCUR 89.3

Many health care advocates breathed a sigh a relief after the Senate’s recent efforts to scrap the Affordable Care Act failed in late July.

But local and national participants in a rally at Kansas City’s City Hall Wednesday afternoon had a message for those concerned about the fate of healthcare: Don’t let up.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR 89.3

Dr. Daphne Bascom is the first physician on staff at a YMCA anywhere in the country. As senior vice president for community integrated health, she's leading the YMCA of Greater Kansas City into a new future.

"What we can do at the Y is help focus on prevention and help engage all of the services that are a part of our community," Bascom said in an interview with Gina Kaufmann on KCUR's Central Standard.

Google 2017

This story was updated at 1:47 p.m. and at 3:36 p.m. to include comments from the Putnam County prosecuting attorney and a spokeswoman for Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley. 

What began as a routine audit of Putnam County took an extraordinary turn when Missouri state auditors uncovered what appears to be a massive, fraudulent billing scheme in tiny Unionville, Missouri’s lone hospital.

Amie May

Tammy Wilson loved the outdoors and was happy to spend her days working at Meramec State Park in the central part of Missouri.

Her family often stopped by to see her, most recently at the end of May

“My mom had two seed ticks on her hip – I believe it was her right hip,” says Wilson’s daughter, Amie May of Bonne Terre, Missouri. “And my sister pulled them off. A couple days later, mom said she just wasn’t feeling herself.”

frankieleon / Flickr - CC

While communities across the country deal with dramatic increases in illegal opioid use, statistics in Johnson County suggest rates of death and addiction closer to home are relatively more stable.

Court filings involving opioid offenses have remained relatively flat in recent years, and illegal use has decreased for hydrocodone and oxycodone, two of the most popular opiates, according to a report from public health and crime experts presented to the Johnson County Commission in June. Heroin use remains steady.

Despite those encouraging numbers, local officials are wary.

University of Kansas Hospital

Two area hospitals earned spots on U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Hospitals” list.

The University of Kansas Hospital was deemed to be the best hospital in Kansas and in metro Kansas City, while Saint Luke’s was ranked the second best hospital in Missouri, behind Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.

Stormont Vail Hospital in Topeka was deemed the second best hospital in Kansas, the only other hospital in the state to earn top honors.   

Jennifer Tufts / KCUR 89.3

Vacant since 1972, the first black-owned hospital in Kansas City – where black doctors and nurses could practice medicine and receive advanced clinical training – sits decaying under 45 years of neglect.

Once a triumph of community-wide cooperation, the Wheatley-Provident Hospital remains on the city's dangerous buildings list for an eighth year. Absent a plan for its rehabilitation, it could be demolished by 2019.

Google 2017

This story was updated with new information at 4:13 p.m.

About 10 employees at the IRS Center on 333 Pershing Road complained of sickness this morning after coming into contact with a suspicious envelope left in the building.

Susanna Marking, a spokeswoman for the Federal Protective Service, a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, said the envelope smelled of ammonia. She said several people reported feeling ill with watery eyes and seven people were hospitalized. 

Andy Marso / KCUR 89.3

The director of the University of Kansas Cancer Center says it will continue to pursue “comprehensive” status after the National Cancer Institute denied it that coveted designation this week.

“We’re just going to be absolutely fearless in moving forward with this initiative,” says Dr. Roy Jensen, who has led the KU Cancer Center since 2004.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has denied the University of Kansas Cancer Center’s campaign for a much coveted “comprehensive” designation. But the center's certification as a nationally recognized center has been renewed for five years.

"We were disappointed but not surprised to learn that we did not receive comprehensive status,” Dr. Roy Jensen, director of the KU Cancer Center, said in a statement. “On average, it takes an NCI-designated cancer center 15 years to achieve comprehensive status, and we received our NCI designation just five years ago.”

Friday is Laura McQuade’s last day as president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, based in Overland Park, Kansas.

She’s leaving to become head of Planned Parenthood of New York City. In her three years in the region, she has overseen Planned Parenthood’s geographic expansion – it now operates 12 clinics in Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma – and the expansion of its health and reproductive services.

We take a look at the challenges of bringing quality healthcare to people in urban and rural communities, from a KCK clinic that serves the homeless to a program in a remote county that sends case workers to see patients.

Guests:

University of Kansas Hospital

The once-anonymous patient at the center of a whistleblower action filed against KU Hospital by one of its own pathologists is now suing the hospital herself for fraud, negligence and civil conspiracy.

From Oxford-educated surgeon to body-builder to Cerner executive, Daphne Bascom joins us to talk about the journey that now brings her to community health at the YMCA.

Plus, Dodge City, Kansas-native Robert Rebein just published a new memoir on his home state.

Guests:

Corbis / Flickr — CC

A lawsuit alleging the Missouri Department of Corrections systematically denies medical treatment to prisoners with chronic hepatitis C has taken a big leap forward after a judge certified it as a class action.

Alex Smith / KCUR 89.3

Ever since the Rock Island railway ceased operations in the 1980s, the town of Belle in central Missouri has been an isolated pocket, far from any city or major highway that might bring business through town.

“You’ve heard the term ‘one-horse town’? We’re pretty much there,” says Richard Huse, who grew up in Belle and is now a town alderman. “We’re 1,500 people. And like all the small communities around here, we struggle.”

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Physicians will have to meet with women seeking abortions three days before the procedure and Missouri’s attorney general will have the ability to enforce abortion laws under the bill headed to Gov. Eric Greitens on Tuesday.

File Photo / Kansas News Service

Editor's note: This story was updated at 7:20 a.m. July 26.

Despite misgivings about the closed-door process used to write a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and its potential impact on rural health care providers, Republican U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran joined his Kansas counterpart, Pat Roberts, in voting Tuesday to begin debate on the legislation.

But a short time later, Moran was one of nine GOP senators who voted against a replacement bill backed by Republican leaders.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

When Jordan Reeves was born, her mother was the first to notice something was different.

Jordan's mother Jen performed the typical finger-toe count moms do on their newborns and came up five digits short. The baby was missing the bottom half of her left arm, which stopped just after the humerus.

Amidst the chaos of the discovery, Jen and her husband found peace.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

Southwest Boulevard Family Health Care, a safety net clinic in Kansas City, Kansas, will reopen its Quindaro facility after several years’ hiatus.

The satellite clinic will be located in a church building owned by Family Health Care. Initially, it will be open a couple of half-days per week and, depending on demand, may increase its hours of operation.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

KU Medical Center on Thursday officially opened its new health education building, an $82 million, 170,000-square-foot facility that will serve as the primary teaching venue for its medical, nursing and allied health profession schools.

The state-of-the-art building, at the northeast corner of Rainbow Boulevard and 39th Street, was funded with $26 million in state money, $21 million from the University of Kansas Medical Center, $25 million from the Hall Family Foundation and the rest in additional private money.

Fringe Festival KC

What if your home could help you stay healthier? Today, we learn how smart toilets and sensor-packed floors could help more folks age in place and turn future houses into medical monitors. Then, we discuss a new, locally-produced film that examines how addiction to the internet affects the human psyche.

Lacy Seward, social services coordinator for the Monroe City Manor. Medicaid cuts proposed by Senate Republicans could hit hard in this small town, that helped vote them into office.
Durrie Bouscaren / St. Louis Public Radio

The closest emergency room is 20 miles east on the highway. That’s why it isn’t unusual for people experiencing heart attacks, blood clots and strokes to show up at Dr. Rodney Yager’s clinic on Main Street in Monroe City, Missouri.

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

For a public official unaccustomed to the limelight, U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran can’t seem to avoid it when it comes to the national healthcare debate.

Moran’s Monday night tweet announcing his opposition to the latest Republican health bill triggered “breaking news” alerts on cable news channels.

And it briefly won him praise from the demonstrators who stage weekly protests outside his Olathe office. They cheered when Leslie Mark, an organizer for Indivisible KC, picked up a bullhorn and shouted “Thank you Senator Jerry Moran,” to kick off Tuesday’s event.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

UPDATE: In Washington, D.C. Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran issued a statement saying that he would support President Donald Trump's efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement.  That news quickly turned the mood of a demonstration at Moran's office in Olathe where opponents of the now failed replacement bill had been thanking the senator from Kansas for standing firm against it.

Gov. Eric Greitens signed an executive order Monday to set up a statewide prescription drug monitoring program, ending Missouri's status as the final state in the nation without such a database. 

The order also bypasses another round of debates in the Missouri legislature, which came close to establishing a broad program during the regular session, but failed. Several cities and counties in the state already have set up their own monitoring program. 

Marleah Campbell / KCUR 89.3

“Kansas City has PTS,” says Justin Hoover, director of marketing at Warriors’ Ascent. “Our warriors do, our first responders do.”

“And if they do, so do we.”

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran’s silence Thursday on the GOP’s revised bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act prompted one Capitol Hill reporter to refer to him as a “mystery man.”

Several Republican senators who either opposed or had concerns about an initial draft of the bill commented on changes unveiled Thursday by GOP leaders in an effort to gain votes.

But not Moran.

New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show a new dimension to the urban-rural divide: death rates related to cancer.

Cancer death rates are falling nationwide, but they remain higher in rural areas (180 deaths per 100,000 persons) than in cities (158 deaths per 100,000 persons), according to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Creative Commons/Mdupont

The number of Native Americans without health insurance would increase sharply if Republicans in Congress succeed in repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, according to a new report.

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