Health

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.

Several years ago, Missouri State Representative Holly Rehder’s daughter struggled with prescription drug abuse.

“She had cut her thumb at work and went and got stitches and got a prescription,” Rehder recalls. When her prescription ran out she continued using the pain killers, says Rehder, “because they were so easy to obtain.”

Now, Rehder is sponsoring a bill to make it harder for addicts to obtain drugs in Missouri.


Even as end-of-life planning gains favor with more Americans, African-Americans, research shows, remain very skeptical of options like hospice and advance directives. The result can mean more aggressive, painful care at the end of life that prolongs suffering.

KOMUnews / Flickr

Dr. Claudia Preuschoff is a pediatrician in Poplar Bluff. She often treats children from rural communities in her area, especially those who may need more than primary care.

“I just had a referral last week from a nurse practitioner in a much more rural area,” Preuschoff said. “The question was 'Do you think this child has autism, and if so what are we going to do about it?'”

According to a study by the CDC, the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder diagnoses in the United States more than doubled between 2000 and 2010.

In rural areas - where there are few medical specialists - the increase in identified cases of autism can be especially difficult to manage.

McDonald County, in the rural far southwest corner of Missouri, ranked last in the 2014 County Health Rankings for clinical care compared to other Missouri counties, a measure which includes access to doctors, dentists, number of residents who are uninsured, and a few other factors.

In an effort to improve the situation, Crowder College, a community college based in neighboring Newton County, opened a satellite campus in McDonald County in 2014 to provide certifications and degrees in nursing, as well as a few other associates degrees.


A hospital closure can send tremors through a city or town, leaving residents fearful about how they will be cared for in emergencies and serious illnesses.

A study released Monday offers some comfort, finding that when hospitals shut down, death rates and other markers of quality generally don't worsen.

On Saturday the Broadway Christian Church in Columbia will be hosting the mid Missouri Health Expo.

Jack Howard/KBIA

Missouri is home to two of the nation’s least accessible cities - St. Louis and Springfield. A group named WalletHub gathered information to compile this list of accessible cities. And one criteria it used was how easily people with disabilities can move around. Or, in the case of these cities, can’t.

But a new accessibility app called Compeer is currently being beta tested and may soon be able to help those with disabilities navigate cities more easily.

Tyler Adkisson

The six speakers representing the City of Columbia — including Mayor Bob McDavid — all shot a very clear set of data-backed messages to state legislators. But even with a multitude of statistics, one main point reigned above all others.

"So it's disingenuous for some legislators to say that we can't afford to expand Medicaid, just as it's disingenuous to say that Medicaid is broken," Fourth Ward City Council Member Ian Thomas said.


Updated at noon ET.

Nepal's devastating earthquake that hit Saturday is now blamed for at least 4,000 deaths. Reconstruction is estimated to cost billions. International aid efforts are underway, but aftershocks are rattling survivors' nerves and making the recovery even more challenging.

Rescue crews and aid groups are working to reach survivors — but their efforts are being hampered by the stricken areas' remote locations. Roads that are drivable are clogged with traffic.

Privately run Medicare plans, fresh off a lobbying victory that reversed proposed budget cuts, face new scrutiny from government investigators and whistleblowers who allege that plans have overcharged the government for years.

Mothers Exchanging Breast Milk Online in Columbia

Apr 22, 2015
Micheala Sosby / KBIA

When Sarah Cranston met Danielle Geurts, she had a lot of questions. She wanted to know about Geurts’ caffeine consumption, any medications she took, and her baby’s health. Cranston wanted to be sure Geurts’ breast milk was safe for her own 6-month-old son, Ian.

Cranston and Geurts met on a Facebook page for mothers looking to either donate or receive breast milk.

    

In Drogaria Tefé, a pharmacy in the small city in of Tefé in the Brazilian Amazon, the powerful antibiotic Clindamycin is as easy to access as a chocolate bar. The clerk will sell you either without a prescription. 

The Affordable Care Act requires all Americans to get health insurance or pay a penalty. To help coax people to buy a health plan, the federal government now subsidizes premiums for millions of Americans.

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