hospitals | KCUR

hospitals

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

On Feb. 6, 2018, Travis Claussen had his right hip replaced at Blue Valley Hospital in Overland Park.

The 40-year-old resident of Lawson, Missouri, had been experiencing severe back pain for years. Before then, he’d been a physical fitness buff who was into off-road motorcycle racing.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

 

TOPEKA, Kansas — A flurry of proposals in the Kansas Statehouse this session take aim at rising medical costs, including one that may be the state’s first attempt to rein in “surprise bills.”

Sebastian Martinez Valdivia / Side Effects Public Media

It's a cold and windy January morning in Boonville, Missouri, and Thomas Talent has driven close to an hour to Pinnacle Regional Hospital for an appointment. The only problem: the hospital closed suddenly the day before.

Hundreds of hospitals across the U.S., including a number with sterling reputations for cutting-edge care, will be paid less by Medicare after the federal government pronounced that they had higher rates of infections and patient injuries than others.

Segment 1: Cyprus Avenue host Bill Shapiro died at the age of 82.

On Saturday nights for more than 40 years, Bill Shapiro hosted Cyprus Avenue, a music show that gave context to songs and artists all over the pop music spectrum. Today, we sat down with two of Shapiro's good friends to remember his life, and celebrate the memory he left behind.

Google Maps

This week's closure of Pinnacle Regional Hospital in Boonville, Missouri, caps a year of worse financial troubles than were previously known.

Over the last year, the hospital has been sued by vendors for nonpayment, by the Missouri Division of Employment Security for failing to pay into the state’s unemployment insurance program and, most recently, by employees for failing to pay their health insurance premiums.

“There’s considerably more to this story than what’s currently in the public domain,” said an attorney for the employees, North Kansas City lawyer Blake Green.

Bigstock

Pinnacle Regional Hospital in Boonville, Missouri, says it has voluntarily closed the facility, including its rural health clinic, outpatient clinic and emergency department.

In a terse “To whom it may concern” letter, Pinnacle CEO Joseph Conigliaro said the hospital had decided the “economic hardship” of complying with recent demands by Missouri health regulators was “too great to make the appropriate repairs necessary.”

Segment 1: What 2020 could bring for health care

Health care is one of the hottest issues across the country, and Missouri and Kansas are no exception. We previewed what this year might bring for a variety of health-related issues and storylines.

Chris Neal / For the Kansas News Service

KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Chris Costantini lay in a cold sweat, his shoulder dislocated after slipping on a porch in Kansas City, Kansas.

He’d been out alone, knocking on doors and rustling up voters for the upcoming midterms in October 2018. Now he waited for an ambulance, full of anxiety about how the injury could hinder his next performance at the Kansas City Ballet.

Bigstock

Missouri health regulators have told a Boonville, Missouri, hospital that specializes in bariatric surgery and is affiliated with a similar privately owned hospital in Overland Park, Kansas, to discontinue performing surgery.

The directive was issued last month, after the regulators conducted an inspection at Pinnacle Regional Hospital and cited it for sterile processing procedures.

Dealing With Hospital Closure, Pioneer Kansas Town Asks: What Comes Next?

Dec 26, 2019
Christopher Smith / Kaiser Health News

FORT SCOTT, Kan. — A slight drizzle had begun in the gray December sky outside Community Christian Church as Reta Baker, president of the local hospital, stepped through the doors to join a weekly morning coffee organized by Fort Scott’s chamber of commerce.

The town manager was there, along with the franchisee of the local McDonald’s, an insurance agency owner and the receptionist from the big auto sales lot. Baker, who grew up on a farm south of town, knew them all.

Segment 1: A Kansas City native's take on being a Saturday Night Live cast member in 2019.

On a visit home, Heidi Gardner discusses her roots in Kansas City, her most popular characters and what it's like to respond to today's news with humor.

Segment 2, beginning at 25:30: Episode 4, Season 2, My Fellow Kansans.

Chris Neal / For the Kansas News Service

Go here to subscribe to the My Fellow Kansans podcast. This season, we look at the prospects of rural places.

ANTHONY, Kansas — Few things signal a rural community’s decline more powerfully than the closure of its hospital.

Like shuttered schools and empty Main Streets, an abandoned hospital serves as a tangible reminder of the erosive power of decades of population loss and unrelenting economic trends.

Maria Carter / KCUR 89.3

Sandy Hook Elementary. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The Las Vegas Strip. Tree of Life Synagogue. They’re all shorthand for mass casualty events that seem to get more frequent as time passes.

They also require hospitals to spring into action, and Kansas City area doctors and nurses are taking note. While it’s impossible to foresee every scenario, local doctors and hospitals are preparing for the unthinkable­ ­— whether it’s a mass shooting, hazardous chemical release or weather disaster such as a tornado.

Segment 1: Trauma centers in Kansas City are hopeful their preparation for a mass shooting will never play out.

Mass casualties strike with no warning, inevitably creating chaos, but hospitals are training for that exact situation. "The regional preparation that occurs in Kansas City is outstanding," says trauma surgeon Dr. Robert Winfield. Learn how trauma centers are preparing for the possibilty of a mass shooting.

Edmund D. Fountain

ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up for ProPublica’s Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox as soon as they are published.

On the last Tuesday of July, Tres Biggs stepped into the courthouse in Coffeyville, Kansas, for medical debt collection day, a monthly ritual in this quiet city of 9,000, just over the Oklahoma border. He was one of 90 people who had been summoned, sued by the local hospital, or doctors, or an ambulance service over unpaid bills. Some wore eye patches and bandages; others limped to their seats by the wood-paneled walls. Biggs, who is 41, had to take a day off from work to be there. He knew from experience that if he didn’t show up, he could be put in jail.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

A Kansas City-based company that specializes in turning around financially distressed hospitals is proposing to purchase Hillsboro Community Hospital in rural Kansas for $6.9 million.

The company, Rural Hospital Group, was formed in 2017 and has acquired three other rural hospitals: one in Wellington, Kansas; another  in Boonville, Missouri; and a third in Marion, Kentucky. It has since sold the hospital in Boonville.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

Sitting at the edge of the gently undulating landscape of the Flint Hills in east-central Kansas, the town of Hillsboro boasts a small hospital that has survived a remarkable roller coaster ride even as other rural hospitals stagger and fail.  

Nine months ago, everything seemed to be coming apart at the 15-bed facility, Hillsboro Community Hospital, which traces its roots back more than a century.

Why Rural Hospitals Keep Closing Maternity Wards

Sep 30, 2019

Jessica Sheridan’s plan was to have her first daughter at the local hospital, five minutes from her house in Iowa Falls.

But when she was seven months pregnant, that plan suddenly changed.

The Collapse Of A Hospital Empire — And Towns Left In The Wreckage

Aug 20, 2019
Heidi de Marco / KHN

SWEET SPRINGS, Mo. — The money was so good in the beginning, and it seemed it might gush forever, right through tiny country hospitals in Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and into the coffers of companies controlled by Jorge A. Perez, his family and business partners.

It was his “secret sauce,” the rotund Miami entrepreneur would smilingly tell people in their no-stoplight towns. The money-making ventures he proposed sounded complicated, sure, but he said they would bring in enough cash to save their hospital and dozens, even hundreds, of good jobs in rural towns where gainful employment is hard to come by.

Chris Neal / For the Kansas News Service

TOPEKA ― Aetna remains in hot water with the state of Kansas, which recently threatened to cancel the company’s Medicaid contract.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

All kids get stomachaches from time to time, but 14-year-old Joey Sigrist’s pain was different.

When it would hit, he’d spend hours locked in the bathroom, clutching his stomach in agony.

“When you’re in that much pain, you just kind of take in the surroundings. I could hear a clock in a whole different room clicking away on the very back wall, and I could hear the shuffling of feet upstairs,” Joey said.

Christopher Smith for KHN

One Monday in February, 65-year-old Karen Endicott-Coyan gripped the wheel of her black 2014 Ford Taurus with both hands as she made the hour-long drive from her farm near Fort Scott to Chanute. With a rare form of multiple myeloma, she requires weekly chemotherapy injections to keep the cancer at bay.

She made the trip in pain, having skipped her morphine for the day to be able to drive safely. Since she sometimes “gets the pukes” after treatment, she had her neighbor and friend Shirley Palmer, 76, come along to drive her back.

Segment 1: Could a retail model make health care in America more affordable?

As the country grapples with the ever-increasing cost of health care, we consider a model that minimizes the government's role and cuts out many middlemen. Two scholars describe a retail system that would subsidize care for the poor, allow consumers to make their own purchasing decisions, and help people focus on the care they want and value.

A slight drizzle had begun in the gray December sky outside Community Christian Church as Reta Baker, president of the local hospital, stepped through the doors to join a weekly morning coffee organized by the Fort Scott, Kan., chamber of commerce.

The town manager was there, along with the franchisee of the local McDonald's, an insurance agency owner and the receptionist from the big auto sales lot. Baker, who grew up on a farm south of town, knew them all.

Still, she paused in the doorway with her chin up to take in the scene.

AdventHealth

AdventHealth will take over operation of Ransom Memorial Health, a 44-bed acute-care hospital in Ottawa, Kansas, the Florida-based health system announced on Wednesday.

Ransom Memorial will be renamed AdventHealth Ottawa. It joins other members of the AdventHealth network, including AdventHealth Shawnee Mission in Merriam, Kansas, formerly known as Shawnee Mission Medical Center.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

A legal tug-of-war that’s engulfed the Missouri state auditor and tiny Putnam County Memorial Hospital in Unionville, Missouri, appeared to have ended yesterday but may drag on a bit longer.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

A state court judge has thrown out a lawsuit seeking damages against the board of trustees of tiny Putnam County Memorial Hospital in Unionville, Missouri, and Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway.

The lawsuit was filed by the owner of the hospital, Hospital Partners Inc., in Putnam County in April 2018, but the company had taken no action since then. The case was later moved to Cole County, where it continued to languish and was dismissed on Monday.

File photo

Allegations of financial fraud and stolen hospital records have surfaced in an increasingly nasty legal battle over the fate of Hillsboro Community Hospital in Hillsboro, Kansas.

The critical access hospital, which is partly owned by a company controlled by Florida resident Jorge Perez, is resisting efforts by Perez to move its Chapter 11 bankruptcy case to North Carolina.

That’s where a bankruptcy judge recently consolidated the bankruptcy filings of seven other rural hospitals controlled by Perez and Perez-affiliated groups. The hospitals include the now-closed Oswego Community Hospital in Oswego, Kansas; Horton Community Hospital in Horton, Kansas; and I-70 Community Hospital in Sweet Springs, Missouri.

File photo

An Overland Park weight-loss hospital that lost its Medicare certification last year remains in legal limbo.

On Wednesday, a federal appeals court upheld on procedural grounds a lower court’s dismissal of Blue Valley Hospital’s lawsuit challenging the loss of its certification.

Pages