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health & wealth

Steve Dillman thinks he can trace his prostate cancer back to August 1, 1985.

Nearly 100,000 people are waiting for a kidney transplant in the U.S., but many will never get one. Instead they’ll stay on dialysis for the rest of their lives. A team of doctors in Philadelphia have found a possible solution to this problem, by infecting patients with a potentially fatal virus.

Every day, Amanda Moller scoops powdered formula out of a can and shakes it up with water from her kitchen sink. It's like mixing a cocktail, she said, "but not that much fun."

The formula doesn’t taste great – like watery pudding with a biting, cheesy aftertaste. But it’s something Amanda needs to treat a rare metabolic condition she’s had since she was born. After 30 years, she’s gotten used to it.

Amanda’s employer-based insurance plan (through her husband’s employer) doesn’t cover it. Like many treatments for rare diseases, the lack of well-funded research and the tendency of insurers to focus on the bottom line mean sometimes patients can’t afford necessary medical supplies. Many of the 16,000 people in the United States who need the formula spend close to $1,000 a month to buy it.

If you’re in the market for fluorescent light bulbs, you might talk to Chris Smiley. In the past few weeks, she’s been trying to sell off what’s left of Sac-Osage Hospital.

“Casework, lighting, plumping, sinks, toilets. Anything you want,” Smiley says.

That’s not in her job description. She’s actually the CEO of Sac-Osage, a hospital in Osceola, Mo., that closed in September.

Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA

The Missouri Association of Local Public Health Agencies (MoALPHA) was founded in 1994 to support the  city and county public health agencies in the state. I spoke with the incoming chair of the association, Gary Zaborac, about the public health challenges facing Missouri in 2015.


Obesity is the number one public health issue in Missouri – it affects more than 30% of adults and nearly one in seven children between the ages of ten and seventeen. But in order to solve the problem of obesity in Missouri, we need to first understand why it exists. Intersection host Ryan Famuliner will lead the discussion of some of the physical, cultural, and even political events that have brought on what is considered by many to be a public health crisis in our state. 

Join us this Tuesday at 7pm for “Missouri: State of Obesity,” a live taping of KBIA’s talk show Intersection. 

Leah Shafer / Flikr

For the past decade, Missouri has claimed the dubious distinction of the most meth busts of any state in the nation. In this week's Health & Wealth update, reporter Kyle Deas has the first in a two-part-series on Missouri's unique meth addiction.