Health and Wealth

Closed Loop Healthcare / Smart America

 Your medical record can be more than just the file in which your doctor scribbles notes during your appointment. With help from movement sensors similar to those in an Xbox Kinect, patient data can be recorded in the home and shared easily with your network of doctors and hospitals, creating a comprehensive and accessible medical file. 

Medicare is preparing to penalize about 750 hospitals that have the highest rates of infections and patient injuries. The sanctions, estimated to total $330 million over a year, will kick in at a time when most infections and accidents in hospitals are on the decline, but still too common.

Stethoscope
File Photo / KBIA

Thousands of Missourians may have to switch doctors after UnitedHealthcare notified more physicians that they will be removed from the company's Medicare Advantage plan on Sept. 1.

Veronique LaCapra / St. Louis Public Radio

A federal judge has ruled that residents who collect damages from a $6.8 million class-action settlement over the smoldering Bridgeton Landfill in St. Louis County can still pursue separate legal claims related to radiation risks.

A tentative agreement reached in April calls for the landfill's owner to pay an average of nearly $13,000 per household to hundreds of affected residents. But some were prepared to turn down the deal, which required approval by 95 percent of the 400 remaining class members.

Hope Kirwan / KBIA

  The Columbia Farmer’s Market brings many different people together on Saturday mornings. Thanks to a local food program run by Sustainable Farms and Communities, this includes low-income families who can receive extra help to purchase fresh and locally-produced foods.

jfcherry / Flickr

The federal government agency that oversees applications for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act says that the computer problems which plagued early sign-ups are to blame for problems at a suburban St. Louis processing center.

How divisive was the debate over Medicaid expansion in Missouri this year?

Just ask Debbie Cole, a 51-year-old mother of four who lives in Butler, Mo., and signed a petition asking state legislators to extend Medicaid to cover more low-income residents.

“We all live different lives, and some people out there may be working two or three jobs and have no insurance, and they need it to survive,” she says.

About a month after signing the petition, Cole got a letter from her state senator, Republican Ed Emery of Lamar.

Cutting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants would also reduce other types of air pollution, both here in Missouri and nationally.

That's according to a recent analysis by researchers at Harvard and Syracuse Universities.

Flickr

WELLAWARE’s small truck is parked outside of plaza 3 at the Broadway medical plaza and will be there throughout the summer checking people for signs of skin cancer.

Nurse Marla Jones says she looks for changes in the size, shape or color of moles.  If a patient has 2 of the 3 changes she refers them to a doctor for further testing. 

WELLAWARE started the screenings last summer for multiple reasons according to Jones.

Earlier this week, we told you about a school backed by director James Cameron and his wife, Suzy Amis Cameron, that may become the first vegan school in the U.S.

David Sachs / SEIU

  

  By now Missourians are familiar with the debate over expanding Medicaid in the state.

The Affordable Care Act gives most people the opportunity to purchase health insurance with help from federal tax credits. But individuals earning too little to qualify for these tax credits but too much to be covered under for Missouri Medicaid are stuck in what is called “The Gap.”

Maureen Lewis-Stump

Medicaid expansion has been a widely talked about subject throughout the state of Missouri. Medicaid is federally funded state healthcare program for those that do not make enough money to be their own healthcare, or their employer does not provide it for them.

The Medicaid policy in place now only covers those who make less than $4,500 a year total for a family of four. It also allows subsidies paid to those who make more than $89,000 a year. Those in between this gap are left without health insurance.

New research out of Washington University could help explain why malnourished children suffer long-term health effects, even after medical treatment.

As young children develop, the community of bacteria and other microbes in their intestines develops with them. In healthy children, the community reaches maturity about the time a child turns two years old.

Washington University microbiologist Jeff Gordon calls those tens of trillions of intestinal microbes “an organ within an organ,” because of the key role they play in helping people digest food and absorb its nutrients.

Hartzler talks coal power in Moberly amid EPA regulation proposal

Jun 4, 2014

Missouri Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler kicked off her “all of the above” energy tour with several stops in Mid-Missouri Tuesday, including the Thomas Hill coal fired power plant near Moberly.

US Navy / Wikimedia Commons

In the discussion about veterans healthcare, the severity of the problem really depends on who you talk to.

Some lawmakers say the secret patient lists and unreasonable wait times are unfortunate but isolated instances. But others are calling for serious reforms of the whole VA system.

While the opinions of these lawmakers are important to the future of veterans healthcare, what about someone who works with the healthcare system every day?

Smoking
File Photo / KBIA

A judge has rejected a request to delay a smoking ban in St. Joseph while a civil lawsuit opposing the ban is considered in court.

machinecodeblue via Flickr

Missouri's environmental regulators already are making plans to respond to new federal regulations on emissions from coal-fired power plants.

World War I Veterans
File Photo / KBIA

Republican Sen. Roy Blunt is scheduled to be in St. Louis today to meet with officials at the VA hospital about concerns raised over mental health care. The visit comes amid calls from several Missouri politicians to address complaints about VA services. U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, visited the University of Missouri campus Friday to announce the results of her survey of veterans' satisfaction with VA services in Kansas City, St. Louis and Columbia.

KOMU News

 The Missouri legislature passed a resolution to establish a Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Task Force on May 6.

According to the resolution, Missouri lawmakers created the task force to “identify and address the unmet needs of persons with MS.”

Among many issues, the task force will be looking at MS treatments for Missourians.  Medical expenses for a person with MS can reach almost $70,000 per year. Access to these treatments can also be a concern.

Joe Gratz / Flickr

A $6.8 million settlement of a class-action lawsuit over a smoldering St. Louis County landfill could be in jeopardy.

Rural Assistance Center

    

Rural hospitals play a vital role in delivering quick emergent care to people in some of the more isolated areas of the country. These institutions provide 24/7 emergency services to rural communities where the next closest hospital could be 35 miles away or more. But because they often serve so few people, it’s hard for them to be financially successful. So the federal government set up the critical access hospital program, whereby hospitals meeting certain criteria would receive Medicare refunds at 101 percent of reasonable costs.  

Since the program began in 1997, 1,331 hospitals have been given critical access hospital status, 35 of which are in Missouri. But policy makers are beginning to question whether that’s too many for the government to handle financially.

Katie Hiler / KBIA

  Note: A portion of this story was aired as part of the Health & Wealth Update for 5/14/2014

When I think about adult dental care in Missouri, I think of Ben Affleck. In the movie Argo, CIA agent Tony Mendez, played by Affleck, pitches his plan to extract six American hostages from Iran by pretending to be on a Hollywood scouting trip. The CIA director doesn’t think it’ll work and wants to look for a better option. That’s when Mendez says:

“There are only bad options. It’s about finding the best one.”

That’s what it’s like for Missourians who can’t afford private dental insurance. Back in 2005 Missouri de-funded dental care for all Medicaid recipients except, children, pregnant women and the disabled. And it’s left a lot of people with only bad options.

Katie Hiler / KBIA

Back in 2005, Missouri de-funded dental care for all Medicaid recipients except, children, pregnant women and the disabled. And it’s left a lot of people with only bad options.

Stethoscope
File Photo / KBIA

Nearly all of the weekend nurses working for University of Missouri Health Care have agreed to sharp reductions in incentive pay.

Walmart / Flickr

Summer is coming, and Missourians are hitting the open road, which, after a brutal winter, has taken quite a beating. The Missouri Department of Transportation is looking into making Missouri roads safer, not just by filling in potholes but also widening shoulders on rural roads and expanding Interstate 70 from two lanes to three. That sounds expensive, but the Missouri state legislature has a plan for drumming up close to $800 million a year over the next ten years for Department of Transportation projects – a one percent increase in sales and use tax.

Mammogram
Dreamstime

Missouri lawmakers have given final approval to a bill that would require a notice be provided to women following mammograms.

Rosemary / Flickr

The US Department of Health and Human Services released data Thursday showing that 152,335 Missourians are enrolled in health insurance marketplace plans. The number of enrollees more than doubled in March alone, the total exceeding the federal goal by 29 percent.

Data also showed, however, that 300,000 people in the state are unable to get insurance due to ineligibility for Medicaid or financial help in the marketplace.

stethoscope
Vitualis / Flickr

A new report says more than 150,000 Missouri residents signed up for health insurance policies through a federally run website.

MU Student Parent Center

Naomi Clark, a doctoral candidate in the English department, began taking her children to the Student Parent Center in 2009. Over the past five years, Clark has completed her Master’s degree and will be getting her PhD this semester.

Clark said she would not have completed her degrees without the Student Parent Center and that many of her classmates feel the same way.

“The daycare has been really instrumental in making so many degrees possible, increasing retention and increasing the completion rate,” Clark said.

Pregnant women have heard it time and time again: What you eat during those nine months can have long-term effects on your child's health.

Heck, one study even found that when pregnant women eat a diverse diet, the resulting babies are less picky in the foods they choose.

So what about mom's eating habits before she even knows she's pregnant?

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