Rancher Roger Zimmershied poses with some of his cattle on his ranch just south of Sweet Springs, Mo. Zimmershied recently switched from Kentucky 31 tall fescue to MaxQ tall fescue in two of his pastures.
Governor Jay Nixon signed a bill that now requires insurance counselors or navigators to be licensed by the state.
The counselors are required to get the license in order to help consumers search for their insurance options on an online marketplace called a health insurance exchange. The exchanges are set to start on October 1st of this year as part of the Affordable Care Act.
For the third year in a row, the American Hospital Association has named MU Health Care as one of the “Most Wired” hospitals in the country.
The recognition is given to hospitals that work to adopt the newest health-care information technology. Spokesperson Bryan Bliven says as the technology continues to evolve, the benchmarks of the Most Wired list changes every year.
“The gait is always rising,” Bliven says. “It’s very good to keep the designation and it’s a challenge each year and we’re really happy to meet it for the third year in a row.”
A law that takes effect Aug. 28 will give physicians assistants more freedom to provide care in areas of Missouri with a shortage of doctors.
Currently, physician assistants must be supervised by a doctor located within 30 miles of where they practice. And a doctor must be present 66 percent of the time they are caring for patients.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the new law will allow the supervising doctor to be up to 50 miles away. The doctors also will have to spend only half of a day on site for every 14 days the physician assistant practices.
Drowning deaths have risen dramatically in both Missouri and Kansas this year.
State officials say that before this weekend, 24 drownings had been reported this year in Missouri, four more than all of last year. And in Kansas, 12 drownings had been reported before this weekend, double the average for an entire year.
The Kansas City Star reports officials in both states say the pleasant summer weather likely has contributed to the increase, with more people venturing out to the states' waterways.
Listen to KBIA's Harum Helmy chat with insurance industry 'whistleblower' Wendell Potter on Under the Microscope.
For about two decades, Wendell Potter spun carefully crafted public relations messages for Humana and Cigna, the insurance companies where he worked. He recalls convincing consumers that high-deductible insurance plans would be good for everyone; telling them that by paying more, they’d have more skin in the game of their own health.
“I frankly just got so disillusioned and, ultimately, disgusted with what I was doing,” Potter said.
He said through his own research, he knew high-deductible plans were not the best insurance coverage for those with middle-class income.
“The median household income in this country is just barely $50,000,” Potter said. “A family that’s earning $50,000, if they’re in a plan with a high deductible, they face bankruptcy or foreclosure [if something happens]. I’ve talked to a lot of people who have lost their homes and have to declare bankruptcy because they have been in these kinds of plans. They think they have adequate coverage and they don’t.”
In 2008, Potter left the insurance industry and became a consumer advocate. He testified in Congress against high-deductible plans. In 2010, he published a book detailing the ways public-relations practices of the insurance industry affect American health care.
Now, Potter writes columns and travels around the country to debunk what he calls are “myths” about the Affordable Care Act. The law imposes stricter rules on insurance companies. They can no longer refuse coverage for consumers who have a pre-existing condition, for example. Companies also have to spend at least 80 percent of every dollar of a consumer's premium for patient care and quality improvements, not profits or administrative costs.
On a recent visit to Columbia, Potter sat down with KBIA's Harum Helmy to chat about health care reform and the insurance industry's response to it.
A Missouri program that is now entering its 25th year has provided more than $100 million in loans for energy efficiency projects around the state.
This Department of Natural Resources program helps finance energy-saving measures such as improved insulation, windows, lighting and heating and cooling systems. The loans are available to public schools and colleges, local governments, water and sewage treatment facilities and some hospitals.
The department says $102.7 million in low-interest loans has been awarded through the fund since its creation in 1989.
The United States Geological Survey, or USGS, is taking to the sky this week with a low-flying airplane that will map the subsurface of the New Madrid Seismic Zone. The plane will collect aeromagnetic data in Missouri’s Bootheel and small slivers of northeastern Arkansas and northwest Tennessee.
A bill that was pushed by the state's insurance agents association could create a barrier in getting Missourians enrolled in time for the new online health insurance marketplace – one of the key parts of the health care reform law.
A new Missouri law creates a checkbox on Missouri income tax forms that allows taxpayers to contribute a minimum of $1 of their tax return to fund pediatric cancer research.
“Sahara’s Law” was introduced by Cape Girardeau Republican Senator Wayne Wallingford, and it’s named after Sahara Aldridge.
“She was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor and she fought that battle for 17 months, going through chemotherapy and radiation and even some alternate treatments,” Wallingford said. “But sadly she passed away when she was 13.”
The University of Missouri in Columbia has wrapped up its first week as a smoke-free campus.
The ban on smoking, which took full effect on July 1, had been in the works since 2009 when Chancellor Brady Deaton announced a plan to become a smoke-free campus within five years.
As part of the transition, the school began allowing smoking only in designated areas in 2011. The Smoke-Free Mizzou website says the move was meant to give smokers time to quit or "make necessary adjustment to their smoking patterns."
BJC HealthCare has named Jim Sinek, a long-time hospital executive, as Boone Hospital’s new president. Sinek has served as a hospital CEO for about 14 years. He comes to Columbia from Faith Regional Health Services, a 200-bed facility in Norfolk, Neb., two hours northeast of Omaha.
At Faith Regional, Sinek recently oversaw the addition of a new 5-story patient tower and the implementation of an electronic medical records system. Boone Hospital's Vice President of Human Resources Michelle Zvanut said those experiences made Sinek stand out in the pool of applicants.
People enrolling in Missouri's Medicaid health care program soon could do so online instead of through paper applications.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the state has awarded a $147 million contract to a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.,-based company called EngagePoint to set up the new system. About 90 percent of the money is coming from the federal government.