Harum Helmy | KBIA

Harum Helmy

Health and Wealth Reporter

Harum Helmy started as KBIA's Health and Wealth reporter in January 2013. She has previously worked at the station as a news assistant, helping assign and edit stories by student reporters. Harum grew up in Jakarta, Indonesia and graduated from MU with degrees in journalism and anthropology in 2011. She's trying to finish up an MA in journalism. 

Ways to Connect

Restaurants, schools and other big buyers are looking for local food year-round.  And many of them are connecting with small farms on the Internet.  But not all local producers are on the cutting edge… or even on the power grid.  Harvest Public Media’s Peter Gray reports on a community of Amish in Illinois, as they work out how to merge tradition with technology to sell the food they grow.

Courtesy of Cynthia Hill

This story is part of True/False Conversations, a series of in-depth interviews with the filmmakers of this year’s True/False Fest.  Find the rest of them here or download the podcast on iTunes.

When her ex-husband would beat her, survivor Deanna Walters says her family used to ask her "Why don't you just leave him?" 

If only the answer were simple. And as long-time advocate for domestic abuse survivors Kit Gruelle says: If only no one would ever ask that question. 

Courtesy of Cynthia Hill

When her ex-husband would beat her, survivor Deanna Walters says her family used to ask her "Why don't you just leave him?" 

If only the answer were simple. And for long-time advocate for domestic abuse survivors Kit Gruelle, if only no one would ever ask that question. 

Regional news coverage from the KBIA newsroom, including:

  • Federal judge issues injunction against Mo. state navigator law
  • Mo. transportation funding looks bleak
  • Mo. lawmakers consider blocking sale of E15 gasoline 

nomadsoul1 / dreamstime

At his sixth State of the State address Tuesday, Gov. Jay Nixon renewed his push to expand Medicaid, the health insurance program for the low-income population, in Missouri. He was careful, though, not to mention the “e” word itself. Instead, the governor called lawmakers to work on reforming the program.

“I look forward to working with all of you to bring affordable health coverage to working families in Missouri, and reform Medicaid the Missouri way,” said Nixon.

News coverage from the KBIA newsroom, including:

    • Nixon expected to push for Medicaid expansion, education funding at State of the State address
    • Mo. House committee cancels hearing on execution procedures
    • Winning lottery ticket worth $2 million purchased in Columbia

    Carol Ward / University of Missouri

    Our hand, the one we use to scroll down this page, is a feature that helps distinguishes us as a species. Carol Ward, professor at the MU Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences, puts it this way:

    “What we can do with our hands, the way we manipulate objects and use tools and technology, shape all of who we are as a species and how we adapt to the world.”

    Regional news coverage from the KBIA newsroom, including:

    • Low-income housing tax credit delay gets bipartisan criticism
    • Osage County sheriff accused of sexual misconduct to stand trial
    • Missouri high school equivalency exam gets reboot

    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.”

    Regional news coverage from the KBIA newsroom, including: 

    • Nixon appoints new agriculture department director
    • Death penalties down nationally, but up in Missouri
    • MU School of Medicine gets $4.5 million in federal grants to research patient-centered outcomes

    Regional news coverage from the KBIA newsroom, including:

    • Columbia schools superintendent considering retirement
    • Nixon: FY 2015 state budget to include $20 million in grants for mental health education
    • MDC scientists conduct DNA test to determine if shot animal is wolf

    Alan Cleaver / flickr


    As an Affordable Care Act navigator, Kate King has been traveling to counties throughout central Missouri spreading awareness of and getting Missourians enrolled in HealthCare.gov.  

    King works with the Central Missouri Area Agency on Aging, which serves a 19-county area, 17 of them rural. The agency is part of a nonprofit alliance that received $750,000 in federal grants in August to help with Healthcare.gov outreach. 


    jay nixon
    File Photo / KBIA

    As part of Gov. Jay Nixon’s mental health initiative program, two hundred Missouri K-12 teachers, counselors and administrators gathered in Columbia this week to learn how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness.

    Jermine Alberty is a mental health first-aid instructor. He says one of the first things he does in a session is ask his trainees to write down derogatory terms related to mental illness.

    missouri capitol
    Ryan Famuliner / KBIA

    The Department of Health and Senior Services has appointed Missouri’s first dental director in more than a decade.

    Dr. Ray Storm is a dentist from the St. Louis area. He founded Give Kids a Smile, a nonprofit that holds annual free dental clinics for children in need. The Missouri Oral Health Coalition helped raise the funds to reinstate the position in the state. Gary Harbison, the coalition’s director, said he’s pleased with Storm’s appointment.

    Regional news coverage from the KBIA newsroom, including:

    • Special session to discuss Boeing tax incentives to convene Monday
    • Almeta Crayton's Everyone Eats draws 200 volunteers, feeds 700 people
    • MU medical school has plans to expand to Springfield

    jay nixon
    File Photo / KBIA

    The special session aimed to pass legislation that will help Missouri attract Boeing's new commercial jet plant will convene Monday, Dec. 2. Gov. Jay Nixon called for the session Friday afternoon.

    Nixon has asked the General Assembly to pass legislation that will annually add up to $150 million for large-scale aerospace projects under four of Missouri’s existing economic development program.

    Marcus Mo / Flickr

    The 2013 edition of the Missouri Hunger Atlas is a 145-page-strong document and, according to one of its main creators, has more than you'd ever want to know about the extent of food insecurity in the Show-Me State. Missouri is in the top ten of states with highest number of food-insecure residents in the nation.

    News coverage from the KBIA newsroom, including:

    • UM Board of Curators continue search for new MU chancellor
    • Biotech start-up Nanova Biomaterials to expand, could create 50 new jobs in 5 years
    • Huntsville police chief found dead, foul play not ruled out

    The expansion of a bio technology start-up company in Columbia is expected to create 50 new jobs within five years. Nanova Biomaterials, Inc.’s expansion includes $1.5 million in capital investment.

    The research and development company uses nanotechnology to manufacture orthopedic and dental products, such as dental fillings and bone screws. Its parent company was founded in 2007 by a group of four researchers, two of whom are from the University of Missouri.

    If you're a 38-year-old Missourian living in Pemiscot County in the Bootheel, an Affordable Care Act "gold" insurance plan will cost you at least $418 per month, before subsidies. If you're a 38-year-old living in Kansas City, a similar plan will cost you about $263 per month. 

    Here's why:

    KBIA/file photo

    Health insurers serving the individual and small group markets in Missouri can continue selling plans that would have been canceled by Dec. 31 for not meeting the requirements outlined in the Affordable Care Act, according to the state's Department of Insurance. 

    Starting in 2014, all health insurance plans must include some services from all of the law's "10 essential health benefit" categories. The broadly defined categories include, among others: maternity care, behavioral health treatments, prescription drugs, laboratory services and preventive services.

    Insurance companies have now sent cancelation notices to millions of Americans who hold health plans that did not meet those requirements.  Following nationwide criticism, President Barack Obama proposed on Nov. 15 that the administration would allow the canceled plans to remain effective until the end of 2014.

    Alan Cleaver / flickr

    Out of nearly 28,000 Missourians who have completed the applications for insurance through HealthCare.gov, only 751 so far have chosen insurance plans. The online marketplace, a key part of the Affordable Care Act, opened for enrollment on Oct. 1. Technological glitches made signing up nearly impossible in its first couple of weeks. 

    Alan Cleaver / flickr

    As the Affordable Care Act's provisions continue to roll out, the law will continue to affect our lives.

    In Missouri, where the legislature still hasn't expanded Medicaid, 193,000 adults will fall in what’s called the “coverage gap.” These adults aren’t eligible for Missouri’s current Medicaid program (which doesn’t cover any able-bodied adult without children, no matter how low his or her income), and they make too little money to qualify for any subsidies that can help them pay for insurance premiums through the online health marketplace.

    Despite the gap, a national report says 40 percent of the 800,000 in Missouri who are uninsured could be eligible for free insurance premiums through HealthCare.gov. That is, of course, if the website would just function properly.

    Meanwhile, some people are also getting kicked out of their existing insurance plans -- some of which have been canceled for not meeting the basic coverage to be a Qualified Health Plan under the Affordable Care Act.

    KBIA needs your help in personalizing the stories mentioned above. Would you share with us your experience with the Affordable Care Act? Fill out the form below. We won’t publish your name or story without your permission.

    Hat tip to ProPublica, who published the original version of this form. 

    Abbie Fentress Swanson / Harvest Public Media


    While doing research for the Harvest Public Media series “In the Shadows of the Slaughterhouse,” reporters Abbie Fentress Swanson and Peggy Lowe called roughly two dozen institutions to get statistics about the children of immigrant and refugee workers at American meatpacking plants. Swanson said she called federal agencies, researchers, unions, and immigration advocacy groups. But she couldn't find anyone who kept data on how many of these children live in the U.S., not to mention their health, education or economic status.

    “They’re not on anyone’s radar,” Swanson said. “They’re not being tracked or followed, they’re kind of an invisible population in this country.”

    Joel Sager
    Joel Sager

    A little known part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development agency is one of the main sources of mortgage credit to low-income families in rural America.

    Alan Cleaver / flickr

    The Affordable Care Act’s online insurance marketplace has its problems, but the service also has potential to help improve rural health. Jon M. Bailey, the director of rural research and analysis at the Center for Rural Affairs, went as far as putting it this way:

    “The new health insurance marketplaces were practically created for rural people.”


      This week on CoMo Explained we look at how Missouri is implementing Obamacare and ask whether it'll be successful or not.

    Marcus Mo / Flickr

    The 2013 edition of the Missouri Hunger Atlas is a 145-page-strong document and, according to one of its main creators, has more than you'd ever want to know about the extent of food insecurity in the Show-Me State. Missouri is in the top ten of states with highest number of food-insecure residents in the nation.

    Before the atlas, no one really kept a centralized collection of the different aspects of Missouri’s food insecurity problem. 

    401(K) 2013

    Starting Oct. 1, anyone looking to purchase health insurance plans can enroll in the new online marketplace. A key component of the Affordable Care Act, the marketplace has been touted as a totally new way to buy insurance. You, the consumer, can go to the marketplace website and do a side-by-side comparison of the benefits, premiums and coverage of different insurance plans.

    For first-cousin filmmakers Tracy Droz Tragos and Andrew Droz Palermo, the hardest part about filming Rich Hill, their upcoming documentary on poverty in rural Missouri, was to stop.

    “I just wanted to keep visiting them and visiting them,” Tragos said.

    “I think we both very much fell in love with all these families,” Palermo added. “In turn, [they] say they love us like family.”