Harum Helmy

Health and Wealth Reporter

Harum Helmy started as KBIA's Health and Wealth reporter in January 2013. She has previously worked at the station as a news assistant, helping assign and edit stories by student reporters. Harum grew up in Jakarta, Indonesia and graduated from MU with degrees in journalism and anthropology in 2011. She's trying to finish up an MA in journalism. 

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Health & Wealth Update
12:37 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Boone Hospital and MU Health Care to lay off employees, cut others' hours

Credit KBIA file photo

Listen to this week's Health & Wealth Update.

Thirty-five MU Health Care employees will see their hours reduced in the coming year. At Boone Hospital Center, seven employees’ hours will be cut, while 13 full- and part-time employees will lose their jobs.

In Boone Hospital’s case, the layoffs came in a system-wide package. The hospital’s parent company, St. Louis-based BJC Healthcare, recently announced it is cutting 160 jobs from its hospitals. This is the first time BJC has ever made system-wide layoffs. June Fowler, vice president for corporate and public communications at the company, said several factors led to the layoffs.

“BJC is experiencing reductions in our reimbursement for the healthcare services that we provide,” Fowler said.  “We’ve also seen a decrease in inpatient hospitalizations.”

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PM Newscasts
5:58 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Newscast for June 12, 2013

Regional news coverage from the KBIA newsroom, including:

  • Beloved Columbia educator and desegregation leader Eliot Battle dies at 88
  • MU Chancellor Brady Deaton to retire in November
  • Missouri to use new high school equivalency test starting January 1, 2014

Health & Wealth Update
1:08 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Why federal money for rural hospitals is vulnerable to budget cuts

Credit Fotos GOVBA / flicker

  Compared to their urban counterparts, rural hospitals serve a population that tends to be older, sicker, uninsured and have less income. Rural hospitals provide a lot of uncompensated care and run on more narrow profit margins.

To stay open, these hospitals depend on special federal designations that give them a higher rate of reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid. For example, when a hospital designated as a critical access hospital, Medicare reimbursements can make up to a third of its entire revenue

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PM Newscasts
6:04 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Newscast for June 6, 2013

Regional news coverage from the KBIA newsroom, including: 

  • Missouri high school graduation rate ranks 8th in the nation
  • Changes in UM System leadership after vice president retires
  • Flooding, bacteria closes more public beaches in Missouri 

Education
4:39 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Missouri high school graduation rate ranks 8th in the nation

Credit KBIA

Missouri ranks eighth in the nation for high school graduation rates, according to a new national report published by Education Week. The state graduated 80.7 percent of its high school students in 2010, marking the second year Missouri has been in the top 10. Missouri's education commissioner Chris Nicastro says she credits the achievement to local schools’ increased efforts to keep students in school.

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Science, Health and Technology
5:57 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Reports highlight health disparities among blacks and Hispanics in Missouri

Health care providers, nonprofit groups and government employees gathered in Columbia Tuesday, June 4, to discuss the health disparities among African Americans and Hispanics in Missouri. The forum coincided with the Missouri Foundation for Health's publication of reports on the disparities.
Credit Harum Helmy / KBIA News

African American and Hispanic Missourians trail behind whites when it comes to health indicators. The nonprofit Missouri Foundation for Health published reports Tuesday on the health disparities of the two minority groups. 

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Politics
10:38 am
Tue June 4, 2013

Medicaid reform conversation continues in Missouri

Pro-Medicaid expansion protesters meet House Speaker Tim Jones (R-Eureka) at the Columbia stop of his post-legislative session tour.
Credit Teddy Nykiel / KBIA News

 

Although the Missouri legislative session has ended, the discussion on what to do with the state’s Medicaid program continues.

The Affordable Care Act asks states to expand their Medicaid eligibility to cover those who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. That’s about $30,000 for a family of four. Missouri’s Republican-majority legislature has refused to expand Medicaid, calling it a broken system. Now, both the state House and Senate have established interim committees to study ways to reform Medicaid.

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Politics
5:24 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

US Rep. Hartzler visits Columbia's community health center

U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) visits a federally qualified health center in Columbia on Tuesday, May 28. She said she hopes to see more health centers open up in her district to serve the medically underserved population. Administrators say health centers need more funding.
Credit KBIA News

U.S. Representative Vicky Hartzler met with administrators of Columbia’s Family Health Center on Tuesday. The center provides primary care for the medically underserved population by using a sliding fee scale that depends on a patient’s income level. Hartzler says the visit is part of her efforts to learn more about ways to help more people in her district gain access to quality health care.

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Health & Wealth Update
11:17 am
Wed May 22, 2013

As Missouri's Medicaid awaits reform, health centers continue to serve uninsured

This week on KBIA’s talk show Intersection, host Ryan Famuliner sat down with State Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia), Rep. Caleb Rowden (R-Columbia) and Rep. Chris Kelly (D-Columbia) to discuss the legislative session that ended on Friday. One of the main things on the show’s agenda was, of course, Medicaid expansion – or lack thereof.

Famuliner asked the panelists why the expansion failed to pass. 

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Education
8:10 am
Mon May 20, 2013

Douglass High celebrates largest graduating class since becoming desegregated

Seventy two students received their diplomas on Saturday, May 18, as Douglass High School celebrated its largest graduating class since becoming a desegregated high school in the 1980s.
Credit KBIA News

Columbia’s Frederick H. Douglass High School celebrated its largest graduating class since the building reopened as a desegregated high school in the 1980s.  

“This day, we celebrate the triumph and determination and hope of, hear this number, people, 72 graduates,” Douglass principal Eryca Neville announced to a roaring auditorium, packed full of proud family and friends. 

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Health & Wealth Update
11:53 am
Wed May 15, 2013

Interfaith leaders gather for last-minute support of Medicaid expansion [video]

Fr. Thomas Saucier welcomes attendees to an interfaith prayer service for Medicaid expansion on Monday, May 13. About 30 people attended the service, held at the St Thomas More Newman Center at MU.
Credit Kellie Kotraba / KBIA News

Listen to this week's Health & Wealth Update.

  

With the Missouri legislative session ending on Friday and a Republican supermajority that still won't budge, the hope to expand Medicaid in Missouri is pretty much dead for FY 2014.

It's so dead that perhaps the only thing that could bring it back to life is, well, interfaith prayers for a miracle.

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Science, Health and Technology
5:03 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

Missouri health centers eligible for $3 million in insurance outreach fund

Credit Tax Credits / Flickr

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced another round of funding to help Americans enroll in the Affordable Care Act's new online health insurance marketplace.

About $150 million is now available for community health centers nationwide to hire and train employees who would provide in-person help for the public about their insurance options in the marketplace, which is set to open for enrollment on Oct. 1. 

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Health & Wealth Update
4:05 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Helping Missourians navigate the ACA marketplace will likely be a collaborative effort

Credit jfcherry / Flickr

Listen here for an interview with Stan Hudson, a health literacy expert and associate director of the Center for Health Policy at MU about the Marketplace Navigators program.

Many Missourians will likely need help navigating the Affordable Care Act's new health insurance marketplace that's set to go online by Oct. 1, but one analyst says there might not be enough time or federal funding to train those who can help.

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Health & Wealth Update
11:26 am
Wed May 1, 2013

Postcard from a cowboy poetry festival

About a dozen cowboy poets performed at the 15th Annual Missouri Cowboy Poet and Music Festival in Mountain View, Mo.
Credit Harum Helmy / KBIA News

Listen to an audio postcard featuring two cowboy poets who performed at the 15th Annual Missouri Cowboy Poet and Music Festival.

This week on the show, we're hearing from Francine Robison and D.J. Fry, two out of the more than 20 cowboy poets and musicians who performed at the 15th Annual Missouri Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival. 

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Health & Wealth Update
10:26 am
Wed April 24, 2013

Missouri's vibrant cowboy poetry scene

Lisa Higgins, director of the Missouri Folk Arts Program, poses in her office on April 22, 2013. Tiny cowboy boots decorate Higgins' workplace. The folk arts program helps fund the annual Missouri Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival.
Credit Harum Helmy / KBIA News

Listen to this week's Health & Wealth Update to preview the upcoming Missouri Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival in Mountain View, Mo. The event kicks off Friday, April 26.

If you think all cowboys are of the rugged, silent and stoic Marlboro Man type – think again. Some cowboys write poetry.  

Every year since 1998, for a weekend in April, a group of cowboy poets Missouri and its surrounding states gather in Mountain View, Mo., near West Plains. They spend three days in town, usually from Friday to Wednesday, giving poetry performances, playing folk songs, telling classic cowboy stories. The gathering, also known as the Missouri Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival, is one of the largest of its kind in the Midwest. 

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Health & Wealth
4:48 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Smoke-free ordinances spreading to smaller Missouri communities

The smoking ban in restaurants and bars in Washington, Mo., officially came into effect on Monday, April 15. Members of Breathe Easy Washington, the group that pushed for the ordinance, celebrated that day at a local restaurant.
Credit Harum Helmy / KBIA News

Listen to this week's Health & Wealth Update.

At only 17 cents per cigarette pack, Missouri has the lowest tax for tobacco in the U.S. In 2012, Missouri voters said no to increasing that tax to 90 cents per pack. Missouri is also one of 14 states that don't have some sort of a statewide ban on smoking in non-hospitality workplaces, and/or restaurants, and/or bars. All of this adds up to the Show-Me State's top spot as the freest state in the nation when it comes to tobacco. 

But since 2007, about two dozen municipalities in Missouri have enacted a comprehensive smoking ban in all workplaces, including restaurants and bars. This Monday, rural Washington, Mo., joins that list. The City Council voted to pass the ordinance to ban smoking back in January. 

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Health & Wealth Blog
5:21 pm
Fri April 12, 2013

Rural Reads: Redneck reality, Obama's budget and critical access hospitals

Credit Leader Nancy Pelosi / Flickr

Every Friday, KBIA's Health & Wealth Desk talks about the week's most interesting articles and reports on rural health, wealth and society issues. 

'Redneck reality' and rural portrayal in cable television

Entertainment newspaper The A.V. Club muses on A&E's popular reality show Duck Dynasty, saying the show is the 21st century incarnation of old rural-themed sitcoms that once dominated network television. Think Petticoat JunctionThe Beverly Hillbillies, and Hee-Haw. It's an interesting read, but we were especially interested with the author's take on ways the television shows have to negotiate the rural-urban political disparities. 

While the rural-themed programming of days gone by tended to depict the small Southern town as a bucolic haven for good-hearted folk, redneck reality is more apt to acknowledge the social and economic ills of the subcultures it depicts. These shows are sanitized for the protection of viewers with blue-state sensibilities; when they occur at all, political discussions tend to center on generalized platitudes about freedom and family, rather than specifics that might turn off half the potential audience.

 

H/T: The Rural Blog

Did headlines about death rates at rural hospitals tell the wrong story?
The Daily Yonder is killing it with their opinion pieces this week. 

Case in point: A new report made headlines last week, saying death rates are rising at rural, geographically isolated hospitals. But an opinion writer for the Yonder says news reports are not telling the real story of these so-called critical access hospitals:

The patients in the small rural hospital with heart attack, heart failure or pneumonia have become a select population. A large proportion has decided that they are through paying all the human costs of the miracles of modern medicine. They have made the decision to stay in familiar surroundings near home and family. 

The researchers found that 13.3% of the patients at critical access hospitals with one of the three conditions died, compared to 11.4 % of the medical center patients. Given all the terrible tools that modern medical centers have to work with, I’m amazed they only manage a small difference in patient survival over the most basic, little country hospitals in America. 

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Science, Health and Technology
8:58 am
Fri April 12, 2013

Obama's proposed delay in cuts could cool off MO medicaid expansion debate

Credit nomadsoul1 / dreamstime

In his proposed budget, President Barack Obama wants to delay cuts to federal payments to hospitals, keeping the payments intact for an extra year. That could affect the debate over expanding Medicaid in Missouri.

Through what’s called the disproportionate share hospital payments or DSH payments, the federal government gives money to hospitals that provide a lot of free care to patients who are uninsured and can’t afford services. The Affordable Care Act, though, includes significant cuts to DSH payments.

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Health & Wealth
11:37 am
Wed April 10, 2013

Why rural Missouri hospitals are rooting for Medicaid expansion

Credit Images of Money / Flickr

Listen to this week's Health and Wealth Update featuring KSMU's Jennifer Davidson.

The uphill congressional battle to expand Medicaid in Missouri is making rural hospitals that serve areas with high poverty levels really, really nervous. KSMU's Jennifer Davidson has the story.

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Crime
5:20 pm
Fri April 5, 2013

Columbia remembers Tom Clements

Tom Clements
Credit Missouri Department of Corrections

Friends and family gathered in Woodcrest Chapel on Friday to honor the life of Tom Clements, the Colorado Department of Corrections executive director who was killed March 19.

Clements lived in Columbia for 27 years before moving to Colorado in 2011. He and his family attended Woodcrest for 15 of those years. Clements worked at the Missouri Department of Corrections for about three decades, working his way up from probation officer to director of the Division of Adult Institutions.

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Health & Wealth Update
1:27 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Some patients don't like it when doctors use digital diagnostic tools

IntelFreePress Flickr

Listen to KBIA's Kristofor Husted chat with MU psychologist Victoria Shaffer about how patients respond to a digital health decision-making software.

  Almost gone are the days when physicians collect your medical records in yellow manila folders stacked ceiling-high behind the nurses’ counter.

More and more medical professionals in the U.S. are using an electronic health records system to do things like store patient data, call up medical records and even prescribe medications. A Department of Health and Human Services survey found that in 2011, 35 percent of all U.S. hospitals have adopted an electronic health records system. It's a pretty rapid growthin 2009, only 16 percent of U.S. hospitals use the system.

Many of these electronic systems are so handy they even have decision-making software—a tool that helps physicians make treatment recommendations and diagnoses.

“The idea is that a physician can open one up and maybe use one to diagnose whether a patient has appendicitis and decide whether they want to operate,” said Victoria Shaffer, an MU psychologist who studies the decision-making side of the electronic health records system.

Not all patients like this high-tech diagnoses tool, though.

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Health & Wealth Blog
1:20 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

Rural Reads: On the disparities of rural vs. urban cancer patients

Every week, KBIA’s Health and Wealth Desk curates the week’s most interesting (or so we think) articles and reports on rural health, wealth and society issues

This week’s topics: guns in rural schools and how low health literacy affects rural cancer patients. 

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Health & Wealth Update
1:46 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Will Missouri's GOP-backed Medicaid expansion get federal approval?

Credit File Photo / KBIA

Listen to this week's Health & Wealth Update.

Missouri’s Republican-led House on Tuesday struck down Democrats’ attempts to include Medicaid expansion in the state’s budget.

If that scenario sounds familiar to you, it’s because these rejections have happened a few times before. On Feb. 25, two House committees rejected Rep. Jake Hummel’s (D-St. Louis) bill to expand Medicaid under the terms of the Affordable Care Act. On March 14, the Senate Appropriations committee voted down the Senate Democrats’ version of the expansion bill.

Rep. Jay Barnes (R-Jefferson City) was in one of the committees that struck down Rep. Hummel's Medicaid expansion proposal. Barnes has since introduced his own version of the expansion -- outlined in House Bill 700

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Health & Wealth Blog
4:30 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Rural Reads: On post offices, Common Core and county health

Every week, KBIA's Health & Wealth Desk curates the week's most interesting (or so we think) articles and reports on rural health, wealth and society issues. 

Rural post offices in crisis

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Health & Wealth Update
4:47 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

The few things we know about Missouri's health insurance marketplace

Credit Libby Burns / KBIA

Listen to a conversation with Health Literacy Missouri's Catina O'Leary about some challenges Missourians might face in the health insurance marketplace, set to be open for enrollment by October.

This is the second in a two-part discussion about health literacy and the healthcare reform.  

Not knowing what the online health insurance marketplace looks like might be problematic for Missourians. 

As part of the Affordable Care Act, Missouri’s uninsured can choose to buy insurance from the state’s health exchange come October. The exchange is an online marketplace where anyone who isn’t already insured will be able to compare and purchase private insurance plans. Some uninsured Missourians would be eligible for help with the cost, too.  

Missouri has missed the deadline to create its own marketplace or start a state-federal partnership. So, the federal government is setting it up. The problem is, even though the marketplace is supposed to be open for enrollment in about six months, no one knows what it looks like yet.

“We’re losing time that could be useful in helping people understand and prepare [for the exchange],” said Catina O’Leary, the director of Health Literacy Missouri, a nonprofit group that’s working to make health care topics more understandable for Missourians. “It would be really great if we could manage people’s expectations and start training on what they’re going to need to know.”

But here's what we know so far: 

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Health & Wealth Blog
6:02 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

Rural Reads: On osteopathic physicians and access to insurance

Every Friday, KBIA’s Health and Wealth Desk curates the week’s most interesting (or so we think) articles and reports on rural health, wealth and society issues.

Osteopathic Physicians: An Answer To Rural Health Care Needs?

It’s no secret the U.S. is facing a shortage of primary care physicians – especially in rural areas, which is home to some 20 percent of all Americans, but only has 9 percent of all physicians. Compared to specialized medicine such as surgery and cardiology, primary care does not pay as well – and the average student loan debt for med school graduates is $161,290. Only about 24 percent of MD graduates lean to primary care. That’s not the case with recent osteopathic medicine graduates, though.  

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Health & Wealth Update
11:31 am
Wed March 13, 2013

Why health literacy is a crucial part of healthcare reform

Credit Harum Helmy / KBIA News

Listen to this week's Health & Wealth Update.

On this week's Health and Wealth Update, the first part of a discussion about health literacy and the healthcare reform. 

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