Health and Wealth

Missouri cancer center announces partnership

Mar 21, 2014
Rickelle Pimentel / KBIA

University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe announced Friday the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center will be collaborating with the MD Anderson Network.

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center is based in Houston and is recognized as one of the nation’s best cancer centers. This center focuses on education, research, and professional training in advanced cancer treatment.  

Wolfe said that he predicts this decision will play a big role the advancement to eradicate cancer.

Katie Hiler / KBIA

On a Thursday morning in late February, a group of 100 middle and high school students gathered in the rotunda of the state capitol building in Jefferson City for a capitol day event organized by the Tobacco Free Missouri Youth Advisory Board. Their goal was to speak with their legislators about making the building smoke-free. Unlike every other public building in Jefferson City, the capitol building doesn’t entirely comply with the city’s smoking ban - lawmakers are unofficially allowed to smoke in their offices.

“They absolutely have the right to smoke and we’re not telling anyone they don’t,” said Youth Advisory board member Alex Higginbotham, age 17. “They can still smoke in their home, but we’re asking them in public not to affect us.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Missouri is ranked 48th in the nation for number of adult smokers - roughly 1 in 4 Missourians over the age of 18 smoke. And the state ranks 50th for workplace exposure to second-hand smoke.  The state’s Clean Indoor Air law gives business owners the option to declare a public space smoke-free, or to set up a designated smoking area. If communities want to be truly smoke-free, it’s up to local governments to make that happen. In the fall of 2010, Jefferson City banned indoor smoking in public spaces, including the capitol building. But state legislators continue to not-so-secretly smoke in their offices.

Katie Hiler / KBIA

Some of Missouri’s strongest anti-tobacco advocates just happen to be under 18 years old. More than one hundred students from across the state arrived in Jefferson City Thursday for an anti-tobacco advocacy and education event at the capitol organized by the Tobacco Free Missouri Youth Advisory Board. The students delivered over two thousand signatures of support along with pinwheels to represent their desire for clean air to House of Representatives Majority Leader John Diehl. Currently, Jefferson City and most of the capitol building are smoke-free, but legislators are allowed to continue smoking in their offices.

Governor Nixon Kicks off 100 Missouri Miles

Mar 20, 2014
jay nixon
File Photo / KBIA

Gov. Jay Nixon kicked off the second year of his 100 Missouri Miles Challenge at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park Wednesday.

Challiyan / Flickr

You’ve probably heard it before: rates of smoking and tobacco use in Missouri are some of the highest in the nation. Roughly 1 in 4 Missourians over the age of 18 smoke tobacco and the state ranks 50th for workplace exposure to second-hand smoke.  But what isn’t clear is why Missouri has consistently ranked so low compared with other states. I spoke with Traci Kennedy, Executive Director of Tobacco Free Missouri, who says it’s because lawmakers have made it particularly easy to be a tobacco user in the state.

Katie Hiler / KBIA

The Affordable Care Act’s online health insurance marketplace has been open for business since October 1 and technical issues that plagued the website early on have mostly been resolved. Yet Missouri residents have been slow to sign-up for health insurance under the new law. According to the nonprofit group Kaiser Family Foundation, only 40 percent of Missourians eligible to enroll have actually chosen a plan. I spoke with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack about why signing up is important for Missouri residents, particularly in rural areas.  

Compiled by Kelsey Proud, St. Louis Public Radio / Flickr

The number of Missouri residents using a federal website to enroll in health insurance is growing, but not as fast as had been projected.

stethoscope
vitualis / Flickr

Gov. Jay Nixon officially dedicated the Strive for Wellness Health Center at the Truman State Office Building today.

Tax Credits / Flickr

Health care advocates are making an extra push to get people signed up for insurance through a federal website before a March 31 deadline.

The Cover Missouri Coalition says about 40 enrollment events are planned Saturday around the state, including some featuring live music, free food and advice from tax preparers. Dozens of additional events are planned in the coming days.

The coalition also will be running new online and radio advertisements between now and the end of the month.

Katie Hiler / KBIA

Some of Missouri’s strongest anti-tobacco advocates just happen to be under 18 years old. More than one hundred students from across the state arrived in Jefferson City Thursday for an anti-tobacco advocacy and education event at the capitol organized by the Tobacco Free Missouri Youth Advocacy Board. The students delivered over two thousand signatures of support along with pinwheels to represent their desire for clean air to House of Representatives Majority Leader John Diehl.

A report issued Tuesday by the federal Department of Health and Human Services found that almost 200,000 Latinos in Missouri may have new options for health coverage. The report says they might qualify for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or for lower costs on premiums  through the Health Insurance Marketplace. 43,000 of the eligible Missouri Latinos are currently uninsured, the report says.

Aaron Swaney, outreach and enrollment specialist at the Family Health Center, said the center does have a sizable portion of patients who are uninsured and Latino.

New filings in a class action lawsuit challenging Missouri's treatment of convicted sex offenders seek the release of more than 200 men in the program.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the legal challenge to the Missouri Department of Mental Health claims its Sex Offender Rehabilitation and Treatment Services program is mismanaged, overcrowded and essentially a prison disguised as a mental hospital.

Tax Credits / Flickr

Missouri has received the names of more than 25,000 people determined to be potentially eligible for Medicaid through the federal government's online insurance marketplace.

But none of those people have been added to Missouri's Medicaid program yet.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the data from the federal government is not in a format that can easily be used by Missouri's Medicaid officials.

fotos GOV/Baq / flickr

 Gov. Jay Nixon is defending his plan to issue $198 million of bonds for a new maximum and intermediate security facility at the Fulton State Hospital.

The governor wants to pay off the bonds through annual legislative appropriations. He is proposing to set aside $14 million this year and an additional $14 million in the 2015 budget for the initial bond payments. Nixon touted the plan Thursday at City Hall in Fulton.

Harum Helmy / KBIA News

    

On an afternoon in early December, 60-year-old Columbia resident Jeannie Wyble sits in a small cubicle at Columbia’s Family Health Center, telling Aaron Swaney, a HealthCare.gov application counselor, about the heart attack she suffered in 2002.

“I quit smoking when I had my heart attack,” Wyble said. “Smoked my last cigarette on the way to the ER, never smoked another one.”

At the time, Wyble was still insured through her husband’s union plan. But after the heart attack, the insurance company began increasing her monthly premium. Wyble says at one point, she had to pay almost $500 a month.

“And then when we found out they were going to jump even more again the following January,” Wyble said. “It was very clear to us that we couldn’t pay my premiums anymore and that mine would just have to be dropped. In effect, [the insurance company] decided to get rid of me, and it worked. They did. They got rid of me.”

Republican legislators in Missouri will try again next year to restore caps on damages awarded in medical malpractice lawsuits.

Moberly school promotes healthy living through running

Nov 21, 2013
Eli Sagor / Flickr

The students at Gratz-Brown Elementary School in Moberly get excited every Tuesday and Thursday when the final school bell rings. This is not because school is over for the day, but because Running Club is about to start. The Running Club was started by Principal Della Bell and is in its second year. 

Harum Helmy / KBIA News

At only 17 cents per cigarette pack, Missouri has the lowest tax for tobacco in the U.S. In 2012, Missouri voters said no to increasing that tax to 90 cents per pack. Missouri is also one of 14 states that don't have some sort of a statewide ban on smoking in non-hospitality workplaces, and/or restaurants, and/or bars. All of this adds up to the Show-Me State's top spot as the freest state in the nation when it comes to tobacco. 

But since 2007, about two dozen municipalities in Missouri have enacted a comprehensive smoking ban in all workplaces, including restaurants and bars. This Monday, rural Washington, Mo., joins that list. The City Council voted to pass the ordinance to ban smoking back in January. 

Images of Money / Flickr

The uphill congressional battle to expand Medicaid in Missouri is making rural hospitals that serve areas with high poverty levels really, really nervous. KSMU's Jennifer Davidson has the story.

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