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. Reporter Katie Hiler 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.

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Health & Wealth Update
9:07 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Pilot Grove residents rally to bring back grocery store

Laurie Beach loads groceries into her car on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013 in Pilot Grove, Mo. Beach is one of 23 community investors that helped open the grocery store.
Credit Bridgit Bowden / KBIA News

 

Listen to this week's Health & Wealth Update, featuring a report by KBIA reporter Bridgit Bowden.

The USDA estimates that more than 2 million people live in rural food deserts, or low-income communities more than 10 miles from a grocery store.  

Four years ago, the last grocery store in Pilot Grove, Mo., closed its doors, turning the town into a rural food desert.  The town had only a convenience store from which to bu food.   

That is, until 23 community investors came together to open Tyler's Market, a fully-stocked grocery store.  On the market's first day open, Pilot Grove residents gathered at the store.  

 

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Health & Wealth Update
7:00 am
Wed November 20, 2013

My Farm Roots: Winning respect

Danelle Myer grew up on a conventional farm, but now runs a small, local vegetable farm outside Logan, Iowa.
Credit Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

This is the an installment of the 2013 edition of My Farm Roots, Harvest Public Media’s series chronicling Americans’ connection to the land. Click here to explore more My Farm Roots stories and to share your own.

 

Danelle Myer owns a small vegetable farm and like many other small farmers, she’s passionate about the kind of operation she wants to grow: a small, local business.

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Health & Wealth Update
1:37 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Reporting project shines light on immigrant workers' children

At the primary school in rural Noel, Mo., teachers and staff function as educators and de facto social workers.
Credit Abbie Fentress Swanson / Harvest Public Media

 

Listen to my interview with KBIA's Harvest Public Media reporter Abbie Fentress Swanson.

While doing research for the Harvest Public Media series “In the Shadows of the Slaughterhouse,” reporters Abbie Fentress Swanson and Peggy Lowe called roughly two dozen institutions to get statistics about the children of immigrant and refugee workers at American meatpacking plants. Swanson said she called federal agencies, researchers, unions, and immigration advocacy groups. But she couldn't find anyone who kept data on how many of these children live in the U.S., not to mention their health, education or economic status.

“They’re not on anyone’s radar,” Swanson said. “They’re not being tracked or followed, they’re kind of an invisible population in this country.”

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Health & Wealth Update
12:28 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

Federal shutdown pauses rural mortgage service

Credit Joel Sager

A little known part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development agency is one of the main sources of mortgage credit to low-income families in rural America.

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Health & Wealth Update
2:32 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

How the Obamacare insurance marketplace can help rural residents

Credit Alan Cleaver / flickr

The Affordable Care Act’s online insurance marketplace has its problems, but the service also has potential to help improve rural health. Jon M. Bailey, the director of rural research and analysis at the Center for Rural Affairs, went as far as putting it this way:

“The new health insurance marketplaces were practically created for rural people.”

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Science, Health and Technology
7:56 am
Mon September 30, 2013

Confused about the new online health insurance marketplace? We have answers

Credit Compiled by Kelsey Proud, St. Louis Public Radio / Flickr

Starting on October 1, Missourians will be able to shop for health insurance through a new online marketplace. It’s one of the biggest changes in health insurance coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act.

But there’s still a lot of confusion about how the exchanges will work.

St. Louis Public Radio's Véronique LaCapra spoke with the Missouri Foundation for Health’s Ryan Barker to try to get some answers. Here's an excerpt from their conversation.

How will Missourians access the new health insurance options?

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Agriculture
2:35 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

My Farm Roots: Providing from the land

As a child Robert Harris Jr. worked picking cotton. Now, he’s back out in the fields, this time growing produce for the needy. (Jacob McCleland for Harvest Public Media)

This is an installment of the 2013 edition of My Farm Roots, Harvest Public Media’s series chronicling Americans’ connection to the land. Click here to explore more My Farm Roots stories and to share your own.

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Agriculture
5:09 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

My Farm Roots: Always a farmer

As secretary of agriculture, Beck Doyle and Gov. Jim Edgar, center, ride through the 1991 Illinois State Fair. (Courtesy State Journal-Register)

This is an installment of the 2013 edition of My Farm Roots, Harvest Public Media’s series chronicling Americans’ connection to the land. Click here to explore more My Farm Roots stories and to share your own.

In 1986, Becky Doyle was helping her husband run the family’s hog farming operation. She also had a sidelight business of marketing gift baskets made from Illinois products. But that wasn’t enough: Doyle decided she would make a run for the Illinois House.

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Agriculture
8:02 am
Wed September 4, 2013

My Farm Roots: Looking back fondly

Horel, middle, still has fond memories of playing around the farm with his brothers and other neighborhood kids. (Courtesy Paul Horel)

 

This is an installment of the 2013 edition of My Farm Roots, Harvest Public Media’s series chronicling Americans’ connection to the land. Click here to explore more My Farm Roots stories and to share your own.

More than once while I was listening to Paul Horel's stories about farm life in Iowa, I felt like I was at a family reunion. With his glasses and balding head, mild Midwestern accent, and talk about plowing and politics, he could easily have been my uncle.  

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Agriculture
11:39 am
Wed August 28, 2013

My Farm Roots: Hardwired for hard work

Amy Konishi has lived in Fort Collins, Colo., her entire life. In the 1980s, a local newspaper profiled her and her husband’s long connection to the area. (Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media)

This is an installment of the 2013 edition of My Farm Roots, Harvest Public Media’s series chronicling Americans’ connection to the land. Click here to explore more My Farm Roots stories and to share your own.

Amy Konishi says when her obituary is written it’ll read, “All she knew was work.”

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Health & Wealth Update
11:10 am
Wed August 21, 2013

My Farm Roots: Wings

Kelly Hagler left her family’s farm in northwest Missouri for the bright lights of Chicago, but her family and the farm are never far from her thoughts. (Jeremy Bernfeld/Harvest Public Media)

This is an installment of the 2013 edition of My Farm Roots, Harvest Public Media’s series chronicling Americans’ connection to the land. Click here to explore more My Farm Roots stories and to share your own.

Kelly Hagler, 25, is among the millions of young people who have left rural communities for the bright lights of the city, in this case Chicago.

But Hagler has not left completely.

Here’s what she told us last year when we asked people to share their “My Farm Roots” stories through the Harvest Network:

“The drought and fear of not making contract yields, mixed with the pressure of new house expenses, is aging my already Old Man,” she wrote. “It's also so strange to be detached from them. It's something that few other non-farming families have to deal with: The guilt of leaving behind older parents to work the farm, all because you're trying to make your own living where more opportunities exist.”

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Health & Wealth Update
3:18 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

A postcard from the Missouri State Fair

Marlys Peck and her family have sold corn dogs on under this tree at the Missouri State Fair since 1972. At the time, the dogs cost 50 cents, Marlys's father Earl said.
Credit Harum Helmy / KBIA News

This week for the show, I went to the Missouri State Fair and all you’re getting is this audio postcard.

First, I talked to Marlys Peck, who, along with her family, has been selling corn dogs at the fair for more than 41 years. Every year, Peck and her parents spend the state-fair week under the same tree near the historic Womens Building. 

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Health & Wealth Update
2:30 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Two perspectives on rural Missouri absurdities

Credit Harum Helmy / KBIA News

Walk into Columbia’s Museum of Art and Archaeology between now and Aug. 11, and you’ll find some pretty intense, large-scale woodcut prints depicting rural Missouri life staring back at you.

In one print, naked women straddle a monster truck. Another depicts a brother and sister getting married to each other. One print has an entire town going berserk with excitement over the opening of a fast-food chain restaurant, and in another, customers at a shop try on a used denture... and put it back on the shelf. 

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Agriculture
12:11 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

My Farm Roots: A cowboy at heart

Once an average suburban Colorado kid, Trent Johnson spent years ranching and now owns storied cowboy outfitter Greeley Hat Works.
Credit Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

 This is an installment of the 2013 edition of My Farm RootsHarvest Public Media’s series chronicling Americans’ connection to the land. Click here to explore more My Farm Roots stories and to share your own.
  

Trent Johnson didn’t grow up on a farm, but he was always enamored with the cowboy lifestyle.

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Health & Wealth Update
12:30 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

My Farm Roots: A song in her heart

Retired professor Jackie Dougan Jackson lives in Springfield, Ill., but devotes a lot of time reflecting on her childhood growing up on a farm near Beloit, Wis.
Bill Wheelhouse Harvest Public Media

This is an installment of the 2013 edition of My Farm Roots, Harvest Public Media’s series chronicling Americans’ connection to the land. Click here to explore more My Farm Roots stories and to share your own.

Jackie Dougan Jackson keeps a pretty thorough log of her life. The 85-year-old retired college professor lives in Springfield, Ill., and has lived there for more than 40 years. However, she has devoted a lot of time to her first 22 years, when she lived on a family farm near Beloit, Wisc.

Jackson has written a couple of books of what she calls “creative nonfiction,” which she calls the “Round Barn” series, based on a distinctive feature on the family farmstead.  In those books she relates tales from the farm life of her childhood, from her “grama’s” depression to tall tales told at the dinner table.

“I feel as if I’m a native Turtle Township, (Wis.,) person,” Jackson said. “I began collecting stories (about the farm) actively in 1967, I have them in handwriting and transcribed.  I’ve been writing about farming in Wisconsin from 1900-1972”.

Jackson’ family owned both a dairy farm, starting in 1911, and then got into growing seed corn when hybrid corn was developed in the 1930s.

Along with saving stories from the past, she keeps items from the past as well. She is glad to show you a milk bottle and a milk cap from Dougan’s Dairy, her father’s early-century operation, which eventually closed as home delivery phased out.  She can also display a bag of Dougan’s Hybrid Corn from the old days when seed corn was groundbreaking ag technology. 

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Health & Wealth Update
1:26 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Bill on Nixon's desk could add barrier in enrolling Missourians in ACA marketplace

Credit pinprick / FLICKR

 Update: Gov. Jay Nixon signed SB 262 into law on Friday, July 12. 

A bill that was pushed by the state's insurance agents association could create a barrier in getting Missourians enrolled in time for the new online health insurance marketplace  one of the key parts of the health care reform law.

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Health & Wealth Update
11:22 am
Wed July 3, 2013

Rural librarian works to turn small-town library to hub of learning

Credit Casey Fleser / Flickr

Listen to this week's Health & Wealth Update

This week, a sweet story from a library in Oregon County, just north of the Missouri-Arkansas state line.  

Rachel Reynolds Luster is the librarian at the cozy, one-room library in Myrtle, Missouri:  population around 150. There’s one gas station and a small post office, but no grocery store or bank.

Upon reporting to work on day one, she realized there was going to be one major challenge: there were hardly any modern books.

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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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Agriculture
5:20 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

My Farm Roots: In hip Brooklyn, Missouri native connects with farm past

On the Brooklyn rooftop garden she helps maintain, Missouri native Monica Johnson says she's not afraid to show her farm roots.
Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

This story is part of the 2013 edition of My Farm Roots, a series from KBIA Radio's partner Harvest Public Media that chronicles Americans’ connection to the land. Click here to explore more My Farm Roots stories and to share your own.

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Health & Wealth Update
11:18 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Missouri's lax regulations on meth-lab cleanup

Credit Leah Shafer / Flikr

 


   Missouri’s meth problem is no secret. In 2012, the Show-Me State has the highest number of meth-lab seizure in the country.  But beyond the busts — Missouri has no statewide regulation on what to do with former meth labs. 

On AMC’s ‘Breaking Bad,’ meth cooks prepare a batch in a trailer in the desert or a dirty and  abandoned house. But this image of secrecy and seclusion isn’t always true. Timothy Sigmund is a real estate attorney from Jefferson City. He says many meth labs aren’t where pop culture might suggest they are.

“Apartment buildings, nicer homes,” Sigmund says. “It can be happening in many different places, and it doesn’t matter. It’s not that it’s some run-down shack in the middle of the woods.”

 

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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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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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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
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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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 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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