Health and Wealth

Eric Peters / U.S. Department of Agriculture

There's been a national spike in the number of deaths from opioid drug overdoses over the past 15 years and some of the biggest increases have come in the Midwest. Missouri is no exception and also holds the distinction of being the only state without a prescription drug monitoring database—a common tool for preventing abuse.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack head's the nation's initiative on rural opioid addiction. On Friday, Vilsack and U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill will host a town hall meeting in Columbia to discuss the epidemic with media and invited guests. 

KBIA spoke with Secretary Vilsack earlier this week. 

Indiana governor Mike Pence is in the spotlight this week as the man Donald Trump has chosen as his running mate. His decisions about health and healthcare in Indiana have drawn attention from within and outside the state. And his record could be important in November, because his running mate doesn’t have a legislative record at all.

Promotional Video / MU Health

Every year, the US Census Bureau and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention administer the National Health Interview Survey to help track the health of the various demographic groups that make up the county's population. But it wasn’t until 2013 that the survey included questions about sexual orientation.

One finding that emerged was that lesbian and bisexual women are more likely to be obese than their heterosexual counterparts. Jane McElroy, associate professor of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Missouri-Columbia, is the first to publish research on interventions to specifically address the issue. Her study was published in the current issue of Women’s Health Issues, and she came by the KBIA studios to discuss her findings.


Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Kristin Metcalf-Wilson said the activist in her couldn’t help leading cheers of “What do we want? Access. When do we want it? Always.” with those gathered Monday at Glenn’s Café to celebrate the Supreme Court’s decision in the case Whole Woman’s Health et al. v. Hellerstedt.

Some of Missouri’s restrictive laws governing abortion clinics will likely face a legal challenge as a result of today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision knocking down similar restrictions in Texas.

But abortion-rights supporters and opponents in Missouri agree that it’s “too soon to tell’’ the specific effects of the high court’s 5-3 ruling on the Show-Me state, which long has had some of the nation’s strictest abortion laws.

turkletom / flickr

Saint Louis University will begin a human clinical trial this fall for a vaccine that seeks to prevent the Zika virus.

The university said Thursday that funding from the National Institutes of Health will fund the trial. Lead researcher Dr. Sarah George says the goal is to make sure the vaccine is safe and then measure the immune response to Zika.

The vaccine contains an inactivated version of the virus. After testing in St. Louis begins, the university plans a second study in Puerto Rico, which has been hit hard by the virus.

Rebecca Smith / KBIA

In April the US Department of Housing and Urban Development [HUD] released new guidelines about the use of criminal records when denying or terminating a housing agreement.

To find out more about the new guidelines and what it could mean for Columbia residents, Rebecca Smith, from the KBIA Health and Wealth desk, sat down with Phil Steinhaus, the CEO of the Columbia Housing Authority.

On a rainy Tuesday morning in May, social worker Meghan Bragers drove up to Ferguson, Mo. to visit a 23-year-old expectant mother named Marie Anderson.

Anderson, who was 33 weeks pregnant at the time, was having a particularly difficult pregnancy.

“She’s been in a car accident, her car has been totaled, she’s having back issues, she’s having increased depressive symptoms,” Bragers said en route to the visit. “Things have gotten pretty difficult.”

Difficult, or as Anderson herself called it, “a tornado.”


Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Tiffany Seda-Addington has been fighting for expanded access to naloxone for nearly three years. Ever since her best friend James Carmack died of a heroin overdose at his mother’s house.

“When James died,” Tiffany said. “It was immediately we have to do something.”

That “something” that she and others in Pulaski County, Missouri, decided to fight for was expanded access to naloxone, also known as Narcan. It’s the opioid overdose antidote that essentially brings a person dying from a heroin or opioid overdose back to life.


Services for Independent Living

Karla Gordon could barely contain her excitement. She had a surprise for her aunt, 96-year-old Helen Judah. Helen had recently fallen and was recovering at The Bluffs, a rehab facility for senior citizens in Columbia, but it was time for her to leave - and she was concerned about where she would get the necessary tools and equipment, like a walker, that allowed her to live independently.


Rebecca Smith / KBIA

A U.S. District Judge has ruled in favor of the Columbia Planned Parenthood clinic – issuing a permanent injunction that protects the clinic’s license to perform abortions.

In her ruling on Wednesday, US District Judge Nanette Laughrey granted a permanent injunction to the clinic, therefore preventing the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services [DHSS] from revoking the clinic’s license.

Laughrey wrote that the department likely bowed to political pressure and unfairly revoked the clinic's license compared to how other facilities’ licenses are handled.

University of Missouri Health System

 The University of Missouri will use a $3 million gift to fund a new regenerative orthopedic research center.

File / KBIA

  A jury in St. Louis has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $55 million to a South Dakota woman who claimed the company's talcum powder caused her to develop ovarian cancer.

Earlier this year, 69-year-old Aneita McCloskey needed her two front teeth filed down and capped.

“They were kind of worn down and they were also getting little tears and cavities,” she recalls.

Without dental insurance, McCloskey is on the hook for the full $2,400 cost of the procedure. She was given 18 months to pay it before she gets charged interest. That’ll be hard to do on her fixed income.

In years past she would have had to wait to see the dentist again until she could afford it.


Ryan Levi / KBIA

The Central Pantry on the north side of Columbia looks like a small grocery store. Ten aisles full of non-perishable food cut diagonally across the middle of the room. Crates of avocados, tomatoes and other fresh produce line one wall.

Jamie Sloan walks a cart full of groceries through the aisles to the checkout counter where she’s asked if she receives food stamps.

“Not anymore,” she says.


Adam Procter / flickr

The nursing school at the University of Missouri has received nearly $20 million in federal funds to expand research that has already reduced hospitalizations among nursing home residents in the St. Louis region.

The funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services was announced Wednesday by the university's Sinclair School of Nursing.

turkletom / flickr

Health officials say a pregnant Missouri woman who traveled to Honduras has the second confirmed case of Zika virus in the state. 

Rebecca Smith / KBIA

In stories about premature birth and premature babies you might have heard the term NICU? But what exactly is a NICU and what goes on there?

To find out, KBIA visited the NICU, or Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, at University of Missouri Women’s and Children’s Hospital here in Columbia.


At Richard Logan’s pharmacy in Charleston, Missouri, prescription opioid painkillers are locked away in a cabinet. Missouri law requires pharmacies to keep schedule II controlled substances—drugs like oxycodone and fentanyl with a high addiction potential—locked up at all times.

Logan doesn’t stop at what the law requires.


Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA

Richard Logan’s pharmacy has been on the same street in Charleston, Missouri, for 40 years. Picture rows of wrist wraps, antacids and the like in front of the counter, and rows of prescription medications behind it.

It’s your typical pharmacy with one big “except.”


A federal judge says that Obamacare navigators may dispense advice to those looking for insurance under the federal health reform law.

U.S. District Judge Ortrie Smith on Wednesday struck down provisions of a Missouri law that bars insurance navigators from giving advice about health plans. He ruled that the law is preempted by the federal Affordable Care Act.

Jason Pratt / flickr

Expectant parents might considering hiring a doula to assist with the childbirth process, but to many, the role doulas play in that process remains a mystery. To learn more about doulas's work, KBIA's Sara Shahriari spoke with local doula and student midwife Sabrina Bias – who became interested in the profession after hiring a doula and midwife to assist with one of her own births. 


Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA

One year ago, while reporting on infant mortality rates in Kennett, Missouri, I met a 27-year-old expectant mother named Marylouisa Cantu. She was pregnant with her seventh child.

Her sixth child, a daughter named Alyssa, was born two years earlier and had spent two weeks in a neonatal intensive care unit due to complications from premature birth.


Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA

In January, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon announced the state would expand dental benefits to an estimated 282,000 Medicaid recipients for the Fiscal Year 2016. The expansion is being funded with money collected from a one-time tax amnesty for delinquent taxpayers.

This marks the first time dental benefits have been included in Medicaid coverage in Missouri since 2005.


Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA

Few inventions have had as dramatic an effect on policing as the Taser stun gun. The tool is billed as a "smart weapon" and often called a non-lethal alternative to guns for the thousands of law enforcement agencies that have adopted them across the country and the world. In fact, the company's website estimates more than 160,000 lives have been saved by use of the weapon.

But just how safe are the Taser weapons actually, and what is the public health cost of assuming they are non-lethal? Those are among the questions Nick Berardini asks in the documentary Killing Them Safely.


The rise in opioid drug abuse and gun violence have led to recent calls to overhaul the nation’s mental health care system. But a law passed by the U.S. Congress in 2014 is already driving a big new experiment in mental health care.  

ep_jhu / flickr

"If you ask a 15-year-old who's never been addicted to drugs, 'would you take heroin?' [they'd say,] 'Oh my gosh no,'" says Missouri State Representative Holly Rehder (R-Sikeston). 

"But after two years of addiction, and they can't afford to buy the pills anymore, and someone offers them heroin for ten bucks - it's not the bogeyman anymore."


highway
Dreamstime

After two years of declining numbers, Missouri recorded more than 800 traffic fatalities in 2015.

Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA

By the time Alicia Curran’s son was a year old, she says she noticed a few things different about him. 

"Year two, we noticed a few more things," Curran recalls. "By three, there was no denying that autism was what he had."

Back in 2003, when her son was diagnosed, she says there weren’t a lot of answers for parents of children with autism. All that ambiguity was tough for a "mom with a lot of questions." 


Joe Gratz / Flickr

U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey granted Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri a preliminary injunction against the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services on Monday.

This prevents the Department from revoking the Columbia clinic’s ambulatory surgical center license, which allows abortion services to be offered. 

The Columbia Planned Parenthood clinic cannot offer abortion services at the moment because their doctor’s privileges at the University of Missouri Hospital were eliminated back at the beginning of December.

Pages