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
4:01 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

My Life My Town: A Different Path

Monica Smith
Photo by Greg Kendall-Ball Columbia Missourian

Monica Smith is consumed with school, work and so many extra curricular activities she can't keep count. People find it surprising that at 18, Monica keeps straight A's, works and participates in sports… when they find out what she has gone through. Monica's parents have been in and out of jail since she was 8 years old. She currently lives with her grandparents in Higginsville, Missouri. 

Producers Greg Kendall-Ball and Alexandra Olgin bring us Monica’s story, as part of KBIA and the Columbia Missourian’s My Life My Town project.

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Health & Wealth Desk
5:42 pm
Tue November 13, 2012

Farm bill is more than subsidies and food stamps

These tomato and salvia plants are growing in bio-renewable pots in a greenhouse at Iowa State University, which received a grant through the Farm Bill to study replacements for petroleum-based plastic pots.
Amy Mayer Harvest Public Media

Beyond subsidies and food stamps, what’s in the farm bill?

With the election over, lawmakers are now returning to Washington for the final weeks of the 112th Congress. Their schedule is packed, but House majority leader Eric Cantorhas said addressing the expired Farm Bill is on the agenda.

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Health & Wealth Update
11:43 am
Wed October 31, 2012

The cost of connecting doctors with rural patients electronically

Telehealth locations throughout Missouri are pinned and labelled on a map on Sept. 20 at the University Hospital in Columbia.
Lee Jian Chung KBIA

A shortage of rural health care professionals throughout the state has health systems connecting with patients in remote areas through telehealth.

At the University Hospital in Columbia, telehealth coordinator Samuel Woodard thumbs a remote which sends a camera at the far end of the room spinning around to face him. His co-workers at the Missouri Telehealth Network offices across town appear on the screen.

“Hey Katie, how’s it going? We’re just going over the equipment, showing him how the telehealth unit works.” Woodard says.

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Health & Wealth Update
5:31 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

Telehealth can connect rural areas with medical care

Missouri Telehealth Network coordinator Samuel Woodard holds up an otoscope, a tool used for examining the inside of an ear canal, which is able to provide a live feed to a television screen on Sept. 20 at the University Hospital in Columbia.
Lee Jian Chung KBIA

In September, the state awarded grants to eleven rural Missouri hospitals to improve broadband internet connections speeds. The connection would be used for telehealth, a way rural towns access physicians in bigger cities electronically. KBIA’s Lee Jian Chung brings us the first of a two part series on the expansion of telehealth services in Missouri.

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Health & Wealth Report
2:49 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

The end of a lead-laced era: polluting smelter to close after 120 years

Jack and Leslie Warden, at the gate that now blocks their old street in Herculaneum.
Jacob Fenston KBIA

Herculaneum, Mo., a small town on the bluffs above the Mississippi River, was always a company town.  The company, Doe Run, is the largest lead producer in North America, trucking in lead from Missouri's rich mines to a 120-year-old smelter on the river.  For 25 years, the smelter didn't meet federal air standards for lead, and now, after decades of battling government regulators and angry parents, Doe Run is leaving town at the end of next year.

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Health & Wealth Update
9:25 am
Wed August 8, 2012

New autism guide helps parents and providers sift through mountains of research

Kim Ratcliffe thumbs through the autism interventions guide.
Jacob Fenston KBIA

As more and more children are diagnosed with autism, there's also a lot more research on the disorder.  Now, a new guidebook can help Missouri parents and people who work with kids on the autism spectrum sort through it all.

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Health & Wealth Update
1:51 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

Payday loans, minimum wage and cigarette tax one step closer to voters

Canvassing in Columbia, earlier this year.
Jacob Fenston KBIA

Initiatives that would cap payday loan interest rates, raise the Missouri minimum wage, and raise the state's tobacco tax are a step closer to the November ballot, after a Missouri Supreme Court ruling yesterday. The three initiatives were tied up for months in court – one judge struck down the payday petition, ruling the ballot summary was "likely to deceive petition signers." But yesterday, the Missouri Supreme Court upheld all three ballot summaries.

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Health & Wealth Update
9:50 am
Wed July 18, 2012

New autism center director talks research, treatment, and access

Stephen Kanne is returning as executive director of the MU Thompson Center.
MU Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders

The MU Thompson Center for Autism is one of the nation's leading autism centers, combining treatment, training and research. Starting in September, the center will have a new director. I spoke with Stephen Kanne about the challenges and opportunities ahead for autism research, treatment and accessibility of treatment.

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Politics
5:22 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

Congress votes to repeal 'Obamacare,' again

Republican Vicky Hartzler, who represents part of mid-Missouri, was among the 239 Republicans voting yes to repeal "Obamacare."

The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives voted today to repeal the federal health care law. The House has voted more than 30 times to repeal or defund the Affordable Care Act. Every Republican in Congress voted for the repeal, including mid-Missouri's two representatives.

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Health & Wealth Update
11:33 am
Wed July 11, 2012

Half a million Missourians to gain insurance under health care law

Percentage of Missourians Under Age 65 Who Were Uninsured in 2009, by County,
covermissouri.org

In Missouri, an estimated 835,000 people don't have health insurance – that's about 14 percent of the state's population. But in the next couple of years, that figure is going to change. Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld most of the federal health care law, about half a million Missourians will join the rolls of the insured – either through Medicaid, the private insurance market, or with the help of subsidies provided by the federal government. The percentage of uninsured will drop to five percent of the population.

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Health & Wealth Update
7:05 am
Wed July 4, 2012

Missouri Medicaid expansion up in the air

"A victory for people all over this country whose lives will be more secure because of this law and the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold it."
whitehouse.gov

After last week's Supreme Court decision upholding most of the Affordable Care Act, President Obama declared victory. But there was one major gray cloud -- or silver lining, depending on your point of view -- leaving open the question of Missouri's participation in the expansion of Medicaid envisioned by the federal health care law.

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Health & Wealth Update
5:26 pm
Thu June 28, 2012

After Supreme Court decision on health care, Missourians split on next step

Republican State Representative Chris Molendorp, who chairs the House Health Insurance Committee, said the ruling has a "silver lining for states' rights advocates."
Jacob Fenston KBIA

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld most of the federal health care law in a ruling this morning. Among Missouri officials, and on the streets of downtown Columbia this afternoon, reaction was mixed.

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Health & Wealth Update
4:08 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

New dental school targets Missouri's dentist shortage

Jack Magruder, president of A.T. Still University, standing in front of the future school of dentistry in Kirksville.
Jacob Fenston KBIA

About 20 percent of Missourians live in areas where there aren't enough dentists, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In Kirksville, the A.T. Still University is tackling the problem by building a new school of dentistry, which, in a few years, will be graduating dozens of new dentists each year.

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Politics
4:02 pm
Thu June 21, 2012

U.S. Senate passes farm bill, Missouri senators both on board

Wally Gobetz Flikr

The U.S. Senate passed a new half-trillion dollar farm bill today, funding programs from farm subsidies to food stamps for the next five years. Both of Missouri's senators voted yes on the bipartisan bill.

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Health & Wealth
3:40 pm
Wed June 20, 2012

Community health centers get new federal dollars

Jay Angoff, regional director, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, announces the new grants in California, Missouri.
Jacob Fenston KBIA

Three community health centers in Missouri are getting new funding from the federal government. The grants announced today aim to help expand care for the medically underserved.

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Health & Wealth Update
7:05 am
Wed June 20, 2012

Voters to weigh in on state health exchange

Putting "Obamacare" on the ballot in November may help rally Republican voters.
Jacob Fenston KBIA

In the next few days, the U.S. Supreme Court will rule on the constitutionality of the federal health care law. Even if the court upholds the law, one key component will be under fire here in Missouri come November. On the ballot will be a measure targeting the law's required online marketplaces, or health insurance exchanges, where individuals and small businesses can buy plans. 

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Health & Wealth Update
10:28 am
Wed June 13, 2012

Missouri's meth addiction, part two

KOMU News Flikr

In 2011, Missouri law enforcement busted about five meth labs each day on average – almost double the number of any other state. The state spends more than $2 million dollars a year on cleanup of these labs, and millions more on incarceration, child care, and drug treatment.

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Health & Wealth Update
10:37 am
Wed June 6, 2012

Missouri's meth addiction, part one

Leah Shafer Flikr

For the past decade, Missouri has claimed the dubious distinction of the most meth busts of any state in the nation. In this week's Health & Wealth update, reporter Kyle Deas has the first in a two-part-series on Missouri's unique meth addiction.

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Health & Wealth Update
7:05 am
Wed May 30, 2012

Pumkpins, melons and corn

Jacob Fenston KBIA

Columbia has lots of community gardens, and several school gardens. But school-community gardens? On Tuesday at Ridgewood Elementary, the school and community worked together to start planting the city's first community garden at a public school.

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Health & Wealth Update
10:40 am
Wed May 23, 2012

'Cocaine? No thanks!'

Boone County courthouse.
Jacob Fenston KBIA

Back in the late 1980s, while the nation was in the grips of the war on drugs, some courts started experimenting with alternative sentencing programs they hoped would be cheaper and more effective than incarceration.  This week, the most recent batch of offenders graduated from the Boone County drug court, which is seen as a national role-model.

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Health & Wealth Update
12:13 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

7000 miles bicycling and banjo-ing against war

Jacob George, on the Katy Trail in Hartsburg, en route to Chicago.
Jacob Fenston KBIA

Afghan war veteran Jacob George is a self-proclaimed hillbilly farmer from the Ouachita Mountains in Arkansas. After three tours as a combat engineer, he now spends his days bicycling around the country protesting U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan. He recently passed through Missouri on his way to protest the NATO summit taking place in Chicago next week.

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Health & Wealth Report
10:44 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Stories from prison: roar!

Callion Barnes.
Jacob Fenston KBIA

In Missouri state prisons, about 60 percent of inmates have kids. That's 18,000 moms and dads behind bars – and tens of thousands of kids on the other side. To help those parents and kids connect, volunteers make their way through the metal detectors at Missouri state prisons with big tubs of blank tapes and CDs, stamped envelopes, and lots of children's books. 

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Health & Wealth Update
6:28 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Long distance running, one state at a time

Chris Nicholas.
Jacob Fenston KBIA

Planning a road-trip this summer? In this week's Health & Wealth update, the best way to see the country might be to run across it.

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Health & Wealth Update
10:03 am
Wed May 2, 2012

If you tax them, they will quit

According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, for every ten percent rise in cigarette prices, smoking rates decline by three to five percent.
tobaccofreekids.org

You have probably heard the statistic: Missouri has the lowest cigarette tax in the nation – just 17 cents a pack, compared to the national average of $1.46. In this week's Health & Wealth update, public health advocates want to raise Missouri's tobacco tax to deter people from smoking, and to help offset the costs that tobacco incurs.

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Health & Wealth Blog
4:38 pm
Mon April 30, 2012

Three interviews on health disparities

Thomas LaVeist, professor of public health at Johns Hopkins University.
Jacob Fenston KBIA

At the health equity conference in Columbia last week, between the steady stream of PowerPoints and pie charts, I had the chance to talk with some smart folks who spend their time thinking about health disparities and how to end them:

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Health & Wealth Blog
5:22 pm
Fri April 27, 2012

Health equity: zip code, not genetic code

Jacob Fenston KBIA

Health experts gathered in Columbia today to discuss ways to address disparities in health and access to health care.

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Health & Wealth Update
10:31 am
Wed April 25, 2012

Contraception debate moves to the Missouri House

Republican State Senator John Lamping, of St. Louis County.
Jacob Fenston KBIA

Debate continues in the Missouri legislature over the Obama administration's "contraception mandate," which will require health insurance to include coverage for birth control. In this week's Health & Wealth update, a House committee hears testimony on a largely symbolic bill, opposing the mandate.

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Health & Wealth Update
10:49 am
Wed April 4, 2012

Rising autism rate means more parents getting help

Scott Shade's eight-year-old son is autistic.
Jacob Fenston KBIA

According to the latest estimate from the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 88 children in the United States has autism, almost double the rate ten years ago. In this week's Health & Wealth update, while more children are being diagnosed with the disorder, more parents are getting the help they need to treat it.

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Health & Wealth Report
10:13 am
Tue April 3, 2012

Payday loans: credit option or debt trap?

Rachel English, with Grass Roots Organizing, gathers signatures in Columbia for the 36 percent cap.
Jacob Fenston KBIA

Missouri is fertile ground for payday lenders. With some of the loosest regulations in the nation, we are among the states with the most payday lending stores per capita. In this Health & Wealth report, the payday lending industry in Missouri fights for its life, as activists aim for the November ballot to try to rein in these lenders they say trap the working poor in a cycle of debt.

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Health & Wealth Update
10:09 am
Wed March 28, 2012

Missouri awaits Supreme Court ruling on health reform

Supporters and opponents of the Affordable Care Act hold competing rallies outside the Supreme Court this week.
David Sachs SEIU

Health care reform is in the cross-hairs at the U.S. Supreme Court this week. In this Health & Wealth update, as the nine justices hear oral arguments on Obama's 2010 health reform, implementation of some aspects of the law are on hold in Missouri.

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