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
4:47 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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Health & Wealth Blog
1:33 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

Rural Reads: On rural definitions and rural doctor shortage

With the Rural Reads series, we’re trying something new. Every Friday, KBIA’s Health and Wealth Desk curates the week’s most interesting (or so we think) articles and reports on rural issues.

What’s in a definition? The eligibility for federal grants

In February, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released a report that recommends defining ‘rural’ as areas with 50,000 or fewer residents - a number that's getting some strong reactions. The rural definition determines eligibility for USDA’s rural grants and programs. 

The excellent online news service The Daily Yonder is publishing a series of opinion pieces in response to USDA’s newest recommendation. Last week, Aletta Botts, a legislative staffer who helped draft the 2008 Farm Bill, wrote that the 50,000 size limit is too large and would hurt smaller communities that can’t compete with larger towns to win federal grants.  

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Health & Wealth Update
11:34 am
Wed March 6, 2013

Why local advocates are rallying to support Missouri's 911 Good Samaritan bill

Credit Alexandra Olgin / KBIA News

A recent study by researchers at Chicago’s Roosevelt University found that between 2007 and 2011, the number of deaths from heroin overdose in the state of Missouri more than tripled. In 2007, fewer than 70 people died from heroin overdose. In 2011, that number ballooned to 244. 

Studies show most accidental overdoses happen in the presence of others. KBIA’s Alexandra Olgin takes us to a rally in Jefferson City on Tuesday supports a bill that could encourage overdose witnesses to be a Good Samaritan and call 911.

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Health & Wealth Update
11:30 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Mo. Medicaid expansion still lacks rural legislative support

Credit Jeanine Anderson / Flickr

Listen to this week's Health & Wealth Update, with a shorter version of KSMU's Jennifer Davidson's story.

This week -- we’re hearing about the Medicaid expansion debate down in West Plains -- the seat of rural Howell County. A study by the Missouri Budget Project shows that Medicaid expansion would have its most dramatic impact in the state’s rural areas.

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Health & Wealth Update
4:13 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Is high-speed internet access the key to small towns' survival?

MU Professor Brian Dabson stands in a tattered workshop of the defunct Joe Gilliam Mining Company, which used to mine clay, in Goss, Mo. The town now has zero residents.

Listen to a conversation between KBIA's Lukas Udstuen and MU Professor Brian Dabson about why Dabson believes the Internet is crucial to the future of small towns.

Is high-speed Internet the way to attract more people to live in rural Missouri? One MU professor seems to think so. First – let’s dial back a little bit. In a story that KBIA aired on Feb. 13, our reporter Lukas Udstuen investigated the story of Goss, a rural town in Monroe County, Missouri. Its population? Zero.

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Health & Wealth Update
12:59 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Does Missouri need a state dental director?

Credit Flickr / San Jose Library

Listen to this week's Health and Wealth Update to learn about Missouri's first oral health caucus and why it's pushing for the state to have a dental director.

The Missouri General Assembly now has an oral health caucus. Co-chaired by Reps. Donna Lichtenegger (R-Jackson) and Jeanne Kirkton (D-Webster Groves), the caucus held its first meeting Monday, Feb. 11. A big item on the caucus' agenda? Reinstating the position of dental director in the state's health department. 

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Health & Wealth Update
12:28 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Why pregnant rural women have high stress levels

MU assistant nursing professor Tina Bloom studies rural women. She's currently recruiting pregnant women who live in rural communities to help test a new online safety planning to help women in abusive relationships protect themselves. She can be reached at 660-537-4213 or bloomt@missouri.edu.
Credit Syndicate Mizzou / Syndicate Mizzou

In this week's Health & Wealth Update, listen to a conversation with Tina Bloom about her latest study.

  MU nursing professor Tina Bloom interviewed 24 pregnant rural Missouri women to learn about what makes them stress. She said what she found challenges her idyllic vision of rural life.

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Health & Wealth Update
3:16 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

How Prop E did more than just stop Gov. Nixon from creating a state health exchange

More than sixty percent of Missouri voters favored Proposition E. The resulting enacted law restricts state employees from helping the federal government create a health exchange in the state, a required element of Affordable Care Act.
Missouri Secretary of State

Listen to this week's Health and Wealth Update.

 A new report by an MU policy analyst warns about the consequences of a ballot measure passed by Missouri voters last November.

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Health & Wealth Update
1:36 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Why Missouri is falling short on children's dental health

The Pew Charitable Trust’s Center on the States recently released a report or oral health that didn’t speak too highly of Missouri. On an A through F scale, it gave the state a D for its efforts to provide access to dental sealants for high-need kids. Dental sealants are plastic coatings put on children’s molars after they first come in that help prevent decay.

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Health & Wealth Update
12:32 pm
Wed January 9, 2013

My Life My Town: Not all about me anymore

Shirley LeBlanc and her son Grayson
Kevin Cook Columbia Missourian

It was winter break of her senior year at Harrisburg High School when Shirley LeBlanc, then 18, found out she was pregnant. She was shocked by the news. Her family, particularly her mother was there to comfort her. Shirley’s son Grayson was born in July 2011. LeBlanc, now 19, struggles with the loneliness and challenges of single teenage parenthood. However, her faith is the thing that keeps her together. Producer Kevin Cook brings us this story, as part of KBIA and the Columbia Missourian’s My Life, My Town project.

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Health & Wealth Update
11:06 am
Wed December 19, 2012

My Life My Town: Go, Fight, Win

Alaysha Jefferson
Yi-Chin Lee Columbia Missourian

Alaysha Jefferson loves cheerleading at the Hallsville High School in Hallsville, Missouri. Living in a small town that has the population of 1,300 and without a car to drive around, Alaysha has a quiet life. She spends her time in classes, cheerleading practice, and doing homework at home.

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Health & Wealth Update
9:49 am
Wed December 12, 2012

My Life My Town: Because of my dad

Alizebeth Wright
Benjamin Hoste

With her father in the military, Alizebeth Wright is the first to acknowledge that her childhood has been anything but typical. Each time he's re-stationed she's been forced to move around the world, along with her mom, four sisters, and little brother.

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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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