Health

hospital room
Fotos GOVBA / flicker

  A Missouri panel has voted to block Fulton Medical Center from building a 10-bed hospital in south Columbia.

The cost of health insurance premiums - the amount you pay each month for your plan -  will likely go up in 2016. If state governments approve insurers’ proposed hikes, the average cost for the most common health plans on the federal and state health insurance marketplaces will increase by 14 percent, according to an analysis of proposed rates by HealthPocket, an insurance research and comparison site.

Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA/Side Effects Public Media

When Darvin Bentlage needed colon surgery in 2007, he had an expensive stay at the hospital.

“The room alone for a week was $25,000,” Bentlage says. Add in the cost of the procedure and, “it added up to about $60,000 or $70,000.”


Health money
Tax Credits / Flickr

Missouri is set to become the first state to spell out the type of eating disorder treatments that insurance companies must cover.

Rosemary / Flickr

Mercy Jefferson Hospital is set to break ground in Crystal City on a $135 million project that will focus on adding a new three-story patient tower to the 251-bed facility.

Water Boil Advisory Accompanies Pipe Replacement

Jun 26, 2015
water faucet
Jenn Durfey / flickr

Columbia Water and Light is replacing a water main in Columbia. The pipe will run from Texas Avenue to Creasy Springs Road.

Ted Eytan / flickr

The Affordable Care Act won another major legal victory today. In a 6 to 3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against a challenge to the law that would have eliminated subsidies in 34 states, including Missouri, for those buying health insurance through the federal marketplace.


Columbia City Council Introduces Recreation Bill

Jun 25, 2015
File / KBIA

  The City Council introduced a bill at its last meeting that will continue funding for an activities program run out of Paquin Towers.

The National Institutes of Health would see its largest increase in funding in more than a decade under a plan being considered by the Senate Appropriations Committee Thursday. It is set to take up a $153 billion spending plan approved earlier this week by the subcommittee that oversees funding for the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education.  That plan includes a $2 billion  increase for NIH.

inhaler
Hope Kirwan / KBIA

TaNisha Webb points out a leak in the furnace room of an apartment in Kansas City, Mo. She explains the damp conditions are not ideal, especially right next to the system that circulates air throughout the home.

"It's going to pull in any other issues, airborne mold spores, bacteria growth potentially through the furnace and kind of distribute it in other places," Webb said.

Missouri Department of Mental Health

The Missouri Department of Mental Health (DMH) will have a new Director on July first.

Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media/KBIA

In the U.S., one in six people struggles with hunger. Food pantries across the country pass out food to help these people put meals on the table. But what if they could help teach the pantry visitors how to grow their own food, too?

Grow Well Missouri, a program that travels to food pantries around central Missouri, is trying to do just that, passing out seeds and starter plants to low-income locals.

 

On a recent wet, spring morning, the group was set up in Columbia, Mo. Four volunteers for Grow Well Missouri worked under a blue popup tent outside of Central Pantry, repotting about 50 starter tomato plants into larger containers. They had a steady stream of visitors stopping by, curious about what’s going on.


Hope Kirwan / KBIA

Several months remain until the next open enrollment period for health insurance, but any insurance company looking to raise the cost of their plans next year had to submit their proposed increase by June 1.

In Missouri, seven insurance companies submitted rate increases for 11 different plans, with proposed raises ranging between 11 and 28 percent. Almost every company who submitted a rate increase cited the rising cost of healthcare as a reason for the change.


Although the federal government recently clarified that most insurance plans must cover prenatal care as a preventive service without charging women anything out of pocket, it didn't address a crucial and much pricier gap in some young women's coverage: labor and delivery costs.

Perhaps that shouldn't come as a surprise.

Two Columbia Doctors Extend Charity to Georgia

Jun 15, 2015
Rosemary / Flickr

 Two doctors from Columbia’s Womens’ Clinic and Childrens’ Hospital are bringing $4,000 worth of medical supplies to the country of Georgia.

Dr. John Pardalos and Dr. Trish Blair work with the not for profit group A Call to Serve International, which provides medical supplies and skills to Georgia. Blair, president of A Call to Serve, said that the group’s main goal is to spread useful tools and skills. “The idea is that people are the same all over the world and some of us have some skills and some supplies that other people don’t have, so we should share those” she said.

Almost no one disputes that the implementation of the federal health law has helped Americans who were previously uninsured gain coverage. But exactly how much has the uninsured rate dropped?

A whole lot, says President Obama.

"Nearly 1 in 3 uninsured Americans have already been covered — more than 16 million people -– driving our uninsured rate to its lowest level ever," he told a cheering crowd at the Catholic Health Association's annual conference Tuesday. "Ever," he added for emphasis.

Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA/Side Effects Public Media

When cattle farmer Greg Fleshman joined the board of Putnam County Memorial Hospital in rural northern Missouri in 2011, the hospital was on the brink of closing.

“Things we just falling apart financially and the morale of the employees. And it just seemed to get worse and worse,” he recalls. “Those were the darkest days.”


Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

 

National public health officials are urging their state counterparts to be alert for avian flu infections in humans.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a health advisory Tuesday “to notify public health workers and clinicians of the potential for human infection with these viruses” and to detail protocols for health professionals working in infected areas.

An outbreak of highly pathogenic avian flu has spread throughout the Midwest in recent months. As of Monday, there have been 282 detections in 20 states, according to the USDA.

By the end of June, the Supreme Court is expected to rule on King v. Burwell, a case challenging the validity of the federal tax subsidies that help millions of Americans buy health insurance if they don't get coverage through an employer. If the court rules against the Obama administration, those subsidies could be cut off for people in about three dozen states using HealthCare.gov, the federal exchange website.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the case.

Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA

A fight is brewing over a proposal by the Fulton Medical Center to build a 10-bed hospital in south Columbia.

The Columbia Missourian reports that the Boone Hospital Center says the proposed facility isn't needed when there are several others already serving the area.

Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA

Earlier this year, KBIA began a special reporting project highlighting the income and health disparities in the Missouri Bootheel. In May the project continued as KBIA traveled to the Bootheel town of Kennett, Mo., to host a community conversation.

The goal was to bring local residents and leaders to the same table to discuss difficulties in access to health care, the struggling rural economy and how to fix it. The following is an excerpt from that conversation. The full version may be found in an earlier post


Kristofor Husted/KBIA/Harvest Public Media

On May 20th, KBIA held a community conversation event in Kennett, Mo. The goal was to bring local residents and leaders of rural southeast Missouri to the same table to discuss difficulties in access to health care, the struggling rural economy and how to fix it. It's an event we called Health Barriers: Symptoms of a Rural Economy.

Andrew Magill / Flickr

  A southwest Missouri hospital has to repay the federal government about $123,000 after filing scores of untrue Medicare claims for treating a form of malnutrition typically found in tropical countries.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says in a report that Cox Medical Center in Branson used a diagnosis code for Kwashiorkor (Qua-Shore-kor) when it should have used a different code. HHS says Kwashiorkor is a severe type of malnutrition that's rare in the U.S. and found most commonly among children in tropical countries during famine.

Kathleen Masterson / Harvest Public Media

As the number of farms hit with avian flu grows over 100 nationwide, regulators are implementing containment plans meant to stop the virus’ spread, spare millions of at-risk birds and thousands of poultry farms.

Farms in many states, including Iowa, Missouri and Kansas, are struggling to contain an active outbreak.

 

 

CDC NCHS, National Vital Statistics System, Mortality / The Center for Disease Control

The CDC reported in March of this year that the Midwest now sees higher rates of heroin overdose deaths than any other region of the country. The rate for heroin related deaths in the Midwest increased nearly 11-fold between 2000 and 2013.

Members of Missouri Law Enforcement said that opiates, including prescription drugs and heroin, have become more commonly abused in recent years.

According to the St. Louis County Health Department there were 113 heroin related deaths in 2014. And according to the St. Louis City Department of Health there were 123 heroin or opiate overdose deaths in the city.

Here a lawmaker, a treatment expert and families talk about the impact heroin and opiates are having in Missouri.


Dr.Farouk / Flickr

Last weekend, around 100 students graduated from the University of Missouri School of Medicine.  

 

But four times that many doctors will commit suicide this year in the United States.

 

Many believe problems with depression and anxiety in medical students is a leading cause for the mental health issues among physicians. Rep. Keith Frederick, R-Rolla, said these issues can also effect a doctor's ability to practice.

 

"Some doctors end up taking their own lives, but many go on practicing in a state where they're not as effective as they would be if they were completely healthy," said Frederick, who is also an orthopedic surgeon. "The healthcare provided by those physicians in training and future physicians will be much better if they aren't themselves suffering from depression.

 


Health money
Tax Credits / Flickr

 A health insurer has agreed to pay Missouri $4.5 million for covering certain elective abortions and failing to cover some autism treatments.

At schools that offer comprehensive sex education, students tend to get the biology and the basics — they'll learn about sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy, how to put a condom on a banana and the like.

But some public health researchers and educators are saying that's not enough. They're making the case that sex ed should include discussion about relationships, gender and power dynamics.

Susanne Byerly can laugh now, four years later, talking about how she and her husband were trying to eat healthy food when they bought ground turkey for their spaghetti dinner.

Byerly, along with her husband, Jerry, and their two-year-old, Jack, were on vacation with extended family in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. While buying supplies at a local grocery store, they decided to swap ground beef for poultry because they were watching their weight.

alamosbasement / flickr

  

  When it comes to kids, physical health may be what sends them to the doctor. Scrapes and fevers may get students sent to the school nurse.

But studies from the National Institute of Mental Health show that half of all mental disorders start by age 14, and almost half of teens have a mental disorder.

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