Health & Wealth Desk

Wednesday mornings during Morning Edition, and Wednesday afternoon during All Things Considered

KBIA’s Health & Wealth Desk covers the economy and health of rural and underserved communities in Missouri and beyond. The team produces a short weekly radio segment, as well as in-depth features and regular blog posts. The reporting desk is funded by a grant from the University of Missouri, and the Missouri Foundation for Health.

Rebecca Smith / KBIA

University of Missouri graduate students are guaranteed their health insurance subsidies – at least for the next year.  

Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Phoenix Health Programs has been serving the Columbia community for more than 40 years. It offers various services for people struggling with substance use disorders:  in-patient treatment for men, out-patient treatment for everyone, and soon - both detoxification services and in-patient treatment for women.

We sat down with Heather Harlan, the prevention and treatment engagement specialist for Phoenix Health programs to talk about the new in-patient treatment for women that will be available starting February 2, 2016. 


MU School of Medicine
File Photo / KBIA

Sprouty2, which is known as a tumor suppressor gene, is a human gene that previous research has shown protects against the metastasis or spread of breast, prostate and liver cancers.

But Sharad Khare, an associate professor of research in the MU School of Medicine’s Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, alongside his research team has shown in a recently published article that this gene may not be helping the body in some colorectal cancer cases.

Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA

By the time Alicia Curran’s son was a year old, she says she noticed a few things different about him. 

"Year two, we noticed a few more things," Curran recalls. "By three, there was no denying that autism was what he had."

Back in 2003, when her son was diagnosed, she says there weren’t a lot of answers for parents of children with autism. All that ambiguity was tough for a "mom with a lot of questions." 


Rosemary / Flickr

A recent study by the Missouri Telehealth Network shows both patients and providers are satisfied with the quality of care telemedicine provides. Telemedicine has been an option for Missourians for the past 21 years and allows a patient to speak to a provider via a video call. 

Ninety percent of patients and providers surveyed in the study were satisfied with the quality of care received via telemedicine.

Twiiter

In a recent study, University of Missouri researchers developed new techniques to make scientific research studies more accessible to lawmakers through social media like Twitter.

MU professor Julie Kapp worked on the study and she said very little scientific research is shared via Twitter even though 95 percent of congressional health policymakers are users.

"It doesn't seem like there's a lot of science being shared broadly and that some of that science, obviously, would be very helpful to inform policy decisions," Kapp said.

Joe Gratz / Flickr

U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey granted Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri a preliminary injunction against the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services on Monday.

This prevents the Department from revoking the Columbia clinic’s ambulatory surgical center license, which allows abortion services to be offered. 

The Columbia Planned Parenthood clinic cannot offer abortion services at the moment because their doctor’s privileges at the University of Missouri Hospital were eliminated back at the beginning of December.

With just a little over a month left in the third open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act, some people may need a little additional help getting insurance through the ACA.

Health insurance can be a confusing topic, with its array of terminology and choices to puzzle through, from premiums and co-pays, to deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums.

A national survey by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that more than 70 percent of people surveyed after the last open enrollment period said they wanted one-on-one assistance enrolling in insurance coverage.

And people can find the help they seek in an unexpected place: their public library. While libraries are better known for books, story time and due dates – since the launch of the ACA, many libraries across the United States have embraced a new role as a go-to community resource for information on health insurance.


HealthCare.gov

The deadline to receive health insurance beginning January 1, 2016, by enrolling in coverage through federal marketplace has been extended 48 hours, to December 17 at 11:59 p.m. PST. The initial deadline had been yesterday, December 15. 

A release on the HealthCare.gov website said the extended deadline was due to "unprecedented demand at HealthCare.gov and our Marketplace Call Center."

Flickr Creative Commons

  Jeremy Milarksy sits behind his office computer and opens up the calendar of appointments for the week. There’s hardly any white space. Appointments are scheduled back-to-back.

Milarsky expected that this week.

“We've been very, very busy around here because it's close to a deadline day,” he says.

Next Tuesday, December 15, is the last day to enroll in health insurance through the federal marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act to guarantee health coverage starting January 1, 2016.


Millersburg, Ohio is a 700-mile drive from Unionville, Missouri, so it’s an unlikely place for a Unionville resident to schedule a medical procedure. That is, unless they’re paying cash.

It was worth it for Truman, a Mennonite farmer who lives just outside of Unionville. "The best price I could get around here, I would still save $3000 to $4000 [by] going to Ohio," he recalls.


Rebecca Smith / KBIA

The Columbia Planned Parenthood clinic will retain its license to operate an abortion facility until at least late December.

Following the issuance of a temporary restraining order against the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) on Monday, U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey ruled Wednesday to extend the temporary restraining order until a preliminary injunction hearing could be held.

This ruling prevents the Department from revoking the Columbia Planned Parenthood clinic’s license to operate an abortion facility.

Missouri Office of the Attorney General

  Americans are living longer, and in most cases, that comes with more healthcare costs, especially at the end of life. In a study this year, researchers at the University of Missouri found more Americans are preparing for the end of life through conversations and legal documents, and are reducing health care costs along the way.


Rebecca Smith / KBIA

A federal judge, U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey, has blocked the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services from revoking the abortion facility license of the Columbia Planned Parenthood clinic.

According to the Associated Press, the temporary restraining order will expire Wednesday after another hearing. 

Rebecca Smith / KBIA

The Columbia Planned Parenthood clinic could potentially lose its license to provide abortion services at midnight on Monday, November 30.

The University of Missouri Health Care System announced in September its “refer and follow” privileges would be discontinued. This category of privileges had been granted to the doctor working with the Planned Parenthood clinic in Columbia, and had allowed the clinic to renew abortion services for the first time since 2012.  

Journal of Mental Pathology

There’s big change on the horizon for the public mental health safety net. The Excellence in Mental Health Act is being called the "biggest federal investment in mental health and addiction services in generations."

To discuss the changes, and to learn how Missouri’s mental health system has fared since federal funding was rolled back for Community Mental Health Centers, KBIA sat down with Brent McGinty, President and CEO of the Missouri Coalition for Community Behavioral Healthcare.


Daniela Vidal /KBIA

Nurse practitioners have been a part of Missouri’s health care scene for the past fifty years. The state has a shortage of primary care doctors, but state laws restrict nurse practitioners from filling that void.

Few nurse practitioners find a way to open their own practice with these restrictions in place, but Pat Bauer, who opened her practice in Wildwood, Missouri last May, found a way.

When she finished her schooling, Bauer applied to more than 30 jobs.  She heard back from just two.

One of the interviews particularly sticks out in Bauer’s mind. 

Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Imagine going to a doctor’s appointment and not knowing how to get to the office, not understanding the complicated health care system and not speaking the language of the health care provider you were seeing.

Well, this can be the case for many new refugees settling in the US, and one Columbia agency, Refugee and Immigration Services, has partnered with senior nursing students from the Sinclair School of Nursing for the past few years, to help bridge those gaps. The Health Navigation Program helps new refugees learn how to efficiently and effectively navigate the health care system.


Jared Wong / Flickr

Researchers from the University of Missouri released a study tying mental health to forgiveness in older adults. By analyzing data from the Religion, Aging and Health Survey, Associate Professor of Human Development of Family Science Christine Proulx found a significant difference between how forgiveness impacts men and women's mental health.


Rebecca Smith / KBIA

In rural communities, finding transportation to basic health care services can be difficult. So what if instead of making people come to health care – the health care came to them?

Well, the Mobile Mammography Van through Ellis Fischel Cancer Center is working to do just that - bringing preventative mammogram screenings to rural communities.


Missouri psychiatrist Joe Parks remembers working with a patient named Victoria.

For eight years he helped her with PTSD, manic depression and addiction, getting her into drug treatment, and back into school. And then, she died of a blood clot brought on by her poor physical health.

“Her behavioral health treatment had been a complete success,” Dr. Parks recalls. “She was stable, she wasn’t psychotic, she was clean and sober. But she was dead.”


Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA

Many Mexican migrant farmworkers are heading home at the end of apple picking season this October. Sixty-one year-old Maria Zavala is one of them.

For the past 18 years she’s made the 20-hour drive from her home in Waco, Texas to western Missouri to work in the apple orchards.  She's struggled with high blood pressure that entire time, and like most migrant farmworkers who don't speak English, she often wasn't aware of the health care options available to her.


American Psychiatric Association

The Missouri Health Home program will be receiving a Gold Achievement Award for community-based services on Thursday from the American Psychiatric Association. This is one of four awards given out by the American Psychiatric Association every year to outstanding mental health programs.

Teens may not be the first demographic to come to mind when thinking about solving the problem of domestic and sexual violence, but for Becky Vermeire, who runs a domestic violence agency in rural Missouri, they are key.

“The way that we are going to prevent [domestic violence] is working with our kids,” Vermeire said. “If we are really going to make a dent in what we are doing for the future, it’s that prevention piece.”


Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Family Health Center opened back in 1992, and is Columbia’s federally qualified health center, which gets federal funding to assist low-income and medically underserved populations.

Over the years it has expanded to include not just medical services, but also mental health and dental services. And then, more recently, has opened two satellite clinics in rural Missouri – Salisbury and Marceline.

Michaela Tucker / KBIA

When a woman is trying to leave an abusive relationship or unsafe domestic situation, shelters offer a safe space for her to stay and get back on her feet. But leaving an abusive relationship can be difficult for any woman.

According to the National Domestic Abuse Hotline, a woman seeking help will be in and out of a shelter seven times on average, before leaving the relationship. For deaf individuals, that number doubles.


Rebecca Smith / KBIA

On the heels of a decision made last Thursday that could leave Columbia - once again - without a doctor able to perform abortions, about 1000 people gathered on the University of Missouri campus Tuesday to voice their support of Planned Parenthood.

Speakers at the event ranged from a religious leader, to politicians, to MU graduate students and Planned Parenthood leadership. This event was a part of a national “Pink Out Day” and similar events were being held around the country.


Michaela Tucker / KBIA

The medical abortion services at the Columbia Planned Parenthood clinic have been available since August – for the first time since 2012 – but following an announcement made by the University of Missouri Health Care system on Thursday, this may not be the case for much longer.

MU Health Care announced they would be eliminating the “refer and follow” privileges that had been granted to the doctor at Columbia’s Planned Parenthood clinic and one other provider. This decision will be effective December 1, 2015.


Justin Connaher / Flickr

Weightlifting is a common activity used to meet many different exercise goals, from young guys looking to get “swoll” to older men working to maintain muscle.

And new research from the University of Missouri shows that stronger bones is another reason for men to hit the gym and pump some iron.

A few years ago, Dr. Pam Hinton conducted a study on the overall health of men who participate in different types of exercise.

Association of American Universities

Nearly 31 percent of University of Missouri female undergraduate students reported being victims of nonconsensual sexual contact involving physical force or incapacitation. This ranges from unwanted kissing to assault.

This was one of the many findings that were released Monday by the Association of American Universities and the University of Missouri. The results were from the Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct the AAU conducted last April.

Pages