Health and Wealth | KBIA

Health and Wealth

How do you travel?

Jan 24, 2020
Jessie King

“They Literally Left My Legs in Chicago.”      

Traveling with a disability is not always the easiest task. There are more barriers and logistics and things – like wheelchairs – can often turn up lost or broken.

In this episode, Madi and Becky discuss some of the experiences Madi has had with the airline industry, with ground transportation and more. And they take a look at how experiences like these impact the ability of those with disabilities to travel.

Aaron Hay / KBIA

Words Matter.

There are so many ways that language shapes our perception of others. In this episode, Madi and Becky sit down with Becky’s Dad, Dean Smith. He was a teacher and principal at a school for people ages 5 to 21 with severe cognitive and/or physical disabilities for many years.

They spoke about ableist language and the way that influences, both consciously and subconsciously, people’s view of those with disabilities and what they are capable of doing.

For those not familiar, ableist language is when a term that is associated with people with disabilities – things like the R-word, “lame,” or “crazy” – take on a negative and belittling meaning.

Sebastián Martínez Valdivia / KBIA

Patients and former employees alike showed up to the Pinnacle Regional Hospital in Boonville Thursday, a day after its abrupt closure.

Most doors to the hospital were locked, but the emergency room entrance was open for patients to collect medical records.

There were also representatives from Bothwell Regional Health Center in Sedalia, looking to recruit former Pinnacle employees. Lisa Irwin, director of human resources for Bothwell, said they had spoken with some 20 former employees, and had already hired one. 

What's wrong with you?

Jan 10, 2020
Christopher Shannon stands alone on stage.
Rebecca Smith / KBIA

“Pain may be my constant companion since the day I was born.” – Christopher Shannon

Since last season, Madi has found out that she is an ever “rare-er” breed of unicorn, as she got a newer and more correct diagnosis in 2019 that – for a while – shook her sense of identity. Ullrich congenital muscular dystrophy.

Sebastián Martínez Valdivia / KBIA

On a chilly afternoon, Terry Cox had come to Mountain View, Missouri, to see a dentist and was waiting on a bench outside a converted rectory.

“Came to get a tooth check and see what they got to do to it," Cox said. "Maybe get ‘em all out."

The 56-year-old works in northern Arkansas, and drove an hour and a half to the Good Samaritan Care Clinic.

MU Health Care's main campus, near Stadium Blvd. in downtown Columbia.
Nathan Lawrence / KBIA

A healthcare group that owns hospitals in Jefferson City and Mexico has announced it’s ending exclusive negotiations with MU Health Care over their acquisition.

St. Louis-based SSM Health and MU Health Care released statements Friday saying the decision was mutual and the two groups will continue talks even as SSM looks for other prospective buyers. They said they have agreed to let a Letter of Intent for the acquisition expire in January.

After Experiencing Sexual Assault, Students Look to Move Forward

Dec 8, 2019
Danielle Pycior / KBIA

When Casey Smith was a sophomore at the University of Missouri, she was sexually assaulted.

“We all think of a girl walking down a dark alley and getting grabbed, where mine was someone who I intimately knew as a friend,” she says in a recent episode of KBIA’s Intersection podcast.

Sexual assaults are not always the case of stranger attacks. 80 percent of assaults are committed by friends, family or acquaintances. 

KBIA/file photo

The computer system the state implemented last year to handle Medicaid renewals is known as the Missouri Eligibility Determination and Enrollment System or MEDES. At multiple points in its workflow, it sends out forms asking for information like income, expenses and immigration status. 

The state sent out 13,710 of these forms due by September 30, but received just 7,965 responses by October 2 - less than 60 percent.  


File photo / KBIA

Missouri has one of the highest rates of uninsured children in the country, and the number is growing, according to a new report.

The Georgetown University report found an estimated 83,000 children were uninsured in 2018: 21,000 more than in 2016.

The rate of uninsured children has increased nationally, but with 5.7 percent of Missouri children uninsured, the state is above the national average.

Sebastián Martínez Valdivia / KBIA

On a sunny afternoon in Sedalia, Jennifer and Matt Boatright escorted some unusual visitors into a pasture on their farm. They opened the heavy gate and called their sheep over to meet a half-dozen medical and health professions students from the University of Missouri system. 

The farm tour was part of a week-long program designed to introduce future doctors, pharmacists and nurses to rural life.  The goal: Get the students interested in working in rural areas.

KBIA/file photo

Georgetown University professor Tricia Brooks focuses her research on access to health insurance for children in low-income families with a particular focus on Medicaid and the children’s health insurance program, or CHIP. In this week's episode of Health and Wealth, Brooks talks about how Missouri's Medicaid enrollment drop compares to the rest of the country, and some of the factors behind it.


Sebastián Martínez Valdivia / KBIA

More than a dozen people testified at an unofficial hearing on decreasing Medicaid enrollment at the capitol Thursday, raising concerns, particularly about the rate of uninsured children in the state.

Legal advocates, activists and private citizens spoke on a range of issues, including the complexity of forms applicants for Medicaid have to fill out to re-enroll, and potential glitches in the renewal system.

Eldon School District / Photo Provided

In rural school districts, teachers and staff can often wear a lot of hats. When it comes to addressing mental health and taking care of students, the responsibility is shared between teachers, counselors and other administrators. This is true in Eldon, where elementary school teacher Katie Schulte and high school counselor Tara Jenkins sat down to talk about looking out for their students' mental well-being. 


Sebastián Martínez Valdivia / KBIA

It’s the middle of summer but Harrisburg Middle School is a hive of activity. Between summer school classes and renovations, it’s a little chaotic for school counselor Brett Rawlings, who just wrapped up his first year at the school.

Harrisburg itself is a small town of fewer than 300 people, but the school serves the larger surrounding area, which is primarily farmland. As the K-through-8 counselor, Rawlings is responsible for some 400 students, and he deals with a range of issues.


Rebecca / KBIA

An outbreak of Hepatitis A continues to spread across portions of southeast Missouri and is starting to make its way to more populated areas.

The outbreak was first identified in September 2017, but as of July 23, 2019, there have been 378 confirmed cases throughout 33 Missouri Counties. Some of the hardest hit include Butler, Howell and, more recently, Franklin counties.  


Trevor Hook / KBIA

David “Racin’ Dave” Stevens has ridden a lot of motorcycles. “The name actually came from car racing days cruising the loop back in the ‘80s,” he said. He fixes a lot of them too. Stevens is a mechanic at Gilbane Motorsports in Columbia.

He has ridden a variety of bikes – motorcycles, dirt bikes, three-wheelers - for more than 45 years. And not always while wearing a helmet. “If I’m riding my bike into town, I’m not being stupid or unruly. I feel like I should have the choice of not wearing a helmet if I don’t want to,” Stevens said. Senate Bill 147 may give him that choice.

Henry Domke / Photo Provided

It was humid spring morning in the woods of central Missouri and Henry Domke was lining up a shot. His target? The vibrant petals of a red buckeye bloom.

"I want to level it. Make sure it’s really sharp," Domke said as he adjusted his tripod and focused in before snapping the photo. 

Domke — a retired family doctor — has been photographing the wildlife in his back yard for years. When he was a doctor, he decorated his practice with his photographs, and after he retired he started exhibiting his work.

 

Paul Sableman / CC BY 2.0

Missouri health officials said Friday an ongoing investigation into reported abortion complications is the reason they’ve withheld a license for the last clinic performing abortions in the state.

The Department of Health and Senior Services says it’s still seeking answers from the clinic about why patients were unaware that they remained pregnant after what the officials described as "failed surgical abortions."

In a statement, Planned Parenthood accused state officials of fearmongering, and maintained it has “bent over backwards to cooperate with [the department].”

Photo provided by Mat Reidhead

In 2017, the Missouri legislature expanded Medicaid managed-care organizations, or MCOs, state-wide, putting third-party contractors in charge of hundreds of thousands of patients. Advocates say managed care programs allow for more personalized care for patients and more predictable budgeting. But hospitals have criticized MCOs, saying they cover less and take longer to reimburse for care than traditional Medicaid.

Now, a new study from the Missouri Hospital Association suggests switching from traditional Medicaid to MCOs could be linked to increased risk of suicide in teens. Mat Reidhead is the Hospital Association's lead researcher.


Photo provided by Mei-Ling Wiedmeyer

The language barrier can cause  a lot of problems when it comes to refugees getting health care, but there are other obstacles as well.

Mei-Ling Wiedmeyer, a family physician who grew up in Columbia, but now works with refugees in Vancouver, Canada and is on the faculty of the North American Refugee Health Conference. She spoke with Health and Wealth about the other barriers to care, and how communities can get around them.


At a pediatric clinic in Kirksville, Missouri, a young boy is waiting in an exam room to be vaccinated. A nurse explains the shots to his mother, and Lisette Chibanvunya translates.

Chibanvunya is one of two Congolese interpreters the Northeast Health Council has hired to help the clinic care for refugees and immigrants from central Africa. She first came to town to study at Truman State University in 2013.

Chibanvunya says, "When I came I faced discrimination, because they didn’t have a lot of black people." But now, she says, "They start accepting people because they finally understand that people kind of decided to make it home." 

A study of more than 2,000 children in Missouri whose coverage switched from traditional Medicaid to managed-care organizations or MCOs, found suicide risk among them nearly doubled.

The Missouri Hospital Association study analyzed a group between the ages of five and 19 whose coverage switched after the state expanded MCOs in 2017.

Sebastián Martínez Valdivia / KBIA

About 15 miles southwest of St. Louis, is Fenton City Park. It’s pretty unremarkable, with picnic shelters, softball fields, and flags waving gently from a memorial to fallen soldiers. It's also where Kevin Mullane sought refuge as he struggled with an opioid addiction.

"Anybody that knew Kevin knew he loved Fenton Park," Kevin's mother Kathi Arbini said, recounting how her song became increasingly isolated. Mullane turned to prescription opioids to deal with depression. He eventually started stealing medications from friends and family members, and doctor-shopping for more.

Ashoor Rasho has spent more than half of his life alone in a prison cell—22 to 24 hours a day. The cell was so narrow he could reach his arms out and touch both walls at once.

Research published in a major medical journal concludes that a parachute is no more effective than an empty backpack at protecting you from harm if you have to jump from an aircraft.

But before you leap to any rash conclusions, you had better hear the whole story.

The gold standard for medical research is a study that randomly assigns volunteers to try an intervention or to go without one and be part of a control group.

Smoking looks a lot different these days. It’s been on the decline, due to restrictions at work and in bars and restaurants. But there is one segment—teenagers who use e-cigarettes—that is growing fast. And health experts are worried about the consequences.

 


Physicians across the country have a message for the National Rifle Association: Gun violence is our concern. It's part of a battle being fought vigorously on Twitter in recent weeks.

Alisha Floyd bounces her son Chance on her lap. He giggles and pulls her hair.

“He’s the fattest baby here,” she says, laughing.

Ryan Famuliner / KBIA

“You can’t be worried about what other people are thinking all the time. “

In this episode, co-hosts Madi and Becky and executive producer Aaron Hay answer a few listener questions during a recent launch party in Columbia and give listeners a look behind the scenes of “The Obvious Question.”

They discussed the editorial process, how Madi selected her guests, which episodes were personal favorites and what’s next.

A new Illinois statute aims to boost flu shot rates among healthcare workers by making it harder for employees to decline the vaccine.

Lawmakers say this is important in light of last year’s flu season that killed more people than car crashes and drug overdoses. But some on the frontlines of public health worry that a law that’s not enforced will have little effect.


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