Missouri

A Tale of Two Medicaid Expansions: Oklahoma Jumps In, While Missouri Lags

Temp worker James Dickerson applied for Medicaid because it will be cheaper than his current health plan. Home health aide Sharon Coleman looks forward to having coverage that will cover a hospital stay. Incoming medical student Danielle Gaddis no longer worries a trip to the doctor will leave her in debt. All three are among …

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Missouri’s Thin Dental Safety Net Stretched Amid Medicaid Expansion

At the Access Family Care clinics in southwestern Missouri, the next available nonemergency dental appointment is next summer. Northwest Health Services, headquartered in St. Joseph, is booked through May. The wait is a little shorter at CareSTL Health in St. Louis — around six weeks. Roughly 275,000 Missourians are newly eligible this year for Medicaid, …

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Trabajadores de salud alertan sobre el aumento de la violencia en hospitales

El departamento de emergencias del Hospital San Leandro, en California, donde trabaja la enfermera Mawata Kamara, se cerró de urgencia cuando un visitante, preocupado por no poder ver a un paciente por las restricciones de covid-19, amenazó con volver con un arma. No fue la primera vez que el departamento se enfrentó a una amenaza …

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‘Are You Going to Keep Me Safe?’ Hospital Workers Sound Alarm on Rising Violence

The San Leandro Hospital emergency department, where nurse Mawata Kamara works, went into lockdown recently when a visitor, agitated about being barred from seeing a patient due to covid-19 restrictions, threatened to bring a gun to the California facility. It wasn’t the first time the department faced a gun threat during the pandemic. Earlier in …

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Más de la mitad de los estados han revertido poderes de salud pública durante la pandemia

Motivados por votantes enojados por los cierres y los mandatos sobre el uso de máscaras durante la pandemia, legisladores republicanos en más de la mitad de los estados de EE.UU. están quitando los poderes que los funcionarios estatales y locales usan para proteger al público contra las enfermedades infecciosas. Una revisión de KHN encontró que, …

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Lack of a Vaccine Mandate Becomes Competitive Advantage in Hospital Staffing Wars

In the rural northeastern corner of Missouri, Scotland County Hospital has been so low on staff that it sometimes had to turn away patients amid a surge in covid-19 cases. The national covid staffing crunch means CEO Dr. Randy Tobler has hired more travel nurses to fill the gaps. And the prices are steep — …

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Concert Venues Are Banking on Proof of Vaccines or Negative Tests to Woo Back Fans

MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. — Fans of the band Wilco could have reasonably interpreted frontman Jeff Tweedy singing “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart” at an Aug. 13 concert at St. Louis Music Park as the universe explaining the past year or so. For example, 30-year-old fan Lazarus Pittman had planned to see Wilco and …

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What Missouri Learned the Hard Way About Rapid Covid Testing in Schools

Early in the tumultuous 2020-21 school year, Missouri officials made a big gamble: set aside roughly 1 million rapid covid tests for the state’s K-12 schools in hopes of quickly identifying sick students or staff members. The Trump administration had spent $760 million to procure 150 million rapid-response antigen tests from Abbott Laboratories, including 1.75 …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Hot Covid Summer

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Predictions of a “hot vax summer” that would let Americans who had their covid immunizations celebrate the waning of the pandemic are turning out to have been …

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As Holdout Missouri Joins Nation in Monitoring Opioid Prescriptions, Experts Worry

Kathi Arbini said she felt elated when Missouri finally caught up to the other 49 states and approved a statewide prescription drug monitoring program this June in an attempt to curb opioid addiction. The hairstylist turned activist estimated she made 75 two-hour trips in the past decade from her home in Fenton, a St. Louis …

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Journalists Dig in on Delta Variant Risks and Opioid Overdose Deaths

KHN Midwest correspondent Lauren Weber discussed outbreaks caused by the covid-19 delta variant in Missouri and elsewhere on Newsy on Thursday. Click here to watch Weber on Newsy Read Weber’s “The Delta Variant Thrives in a State of Political and Public Health Discord“ KHN correspondent Aneri Pattani discussed opioids and the rise in overdose deaths …

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The Delta Variant Thrives in a State of Political and Public Health Discord

ST. LOUIS — The day after Missouri Gov. Mike Parson finished his bicentennial bus tour to drum up tourism to the state in mid-July, Chicago issued a travel advisory warning about visiting Missouri. Earlier this summer, as covid-19 case counts began to tick up when the highly transmissible delta variant took hold in the state, …

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More Than 100 Missouri Schools Have Bought ‘Often Unproven’ Air-Cleaning Technology

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, Scott Dulle scoured the internet for ways to safely get kids back into St. Thomas More School, a private pre-K-8 school in Kansas City, Missouri, where he works as the director of building and grounds. When Dulle found air-purifying ionization technology that marketing materials said would inactivate over 99% of …

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For Toddlers, Pandemic Shapes Development During Formative Years

CASTLE POINT, Mo. — Lucretia Wilks, who runs a small day care out of her home in north St. Louis County, is used to watching young children embrace, hold hands and play together in close quarters. But the covid-19 pandemic made such normal toddler behavior potentially unsafe. “It’s weird that they now live in a …

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In Missouri and Other States, Flawed Data Makes It Hard to Track Vaccine Equity

Throughout the covid-19 vaccination effort, public health officials and politicians have insisted that providing shots equitably across racial and ethnic groups is a top priority. This story is part of a reporting partnership that includes KCUR, NPR and KHN. It can be republished for free. But it’s been left up to states to decide how to do …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Roe v. Wade on the Ropes

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. The Supreme Court agreed to hear a case next term that could result in a significant modification or overturn of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that legalized abortion nationwide. At issue is a Mississippi law that would ban the procedure after 15 weeks of …

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Covid Shot in the Arm Not Enough to Keep Pharmacies in Business

Tobin’s pharmacy and department store had already stocked its shelves with Easter and Mother’s Day items last spring, and the staff had just placed the Christmas orders. The shop in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, had been operating on a razor’s edge as retail sales moved online and mail-order pharmacies siphoned off its patients. It was losing money …

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Virtual Care Spreads in Missouri Health System, Home to ‘Hospital Without Beds’

When Tom Becker was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat in March 2020, the 60-year-old EMS helicopter pilot from Washington, Missouri, worried he would never fly again. This story also ran on U.S. News & World Report. It can be republished for free. But his cardiologist, Dr. Christopher Allen, had served in the Air Force and …

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Snag a Vaccine Appointment, Then Face the Next Hurdle: How to Get There?

The airport says a lot about Cortez, Colorado: The single-engine planes that fly into its one-room airport seat nine passengers at most. The city of about 9,000 is known largely as a gateway to beautiful places like Mesa Verde National Park and the Four Corners Monument. But covid vaccines have made Cortez a destination in …

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Brecha de género contra covid: se vacunan más mujeres que hombres

Mary Ann Steiner condujo dos horas y media desde su casa en University City, un suburbio de St. Louis, hasta la pequeña ciudad de Ozark, en Centerville, Missouri, para vacunarse contra covid-19. Después de poner su auto en fila en el estacionamiento de una iglesia, notó que las otras personas que esperaban tenían algo en …

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The Gender Vaccine Gap: More Women Than Men Are Getting Covid Shots

This story also ran on USA Today. It can be republished for free. Mary Ann Steiner drove 2½ hours from her home in the St. Louis suburb of University City to the tiny Ozark town of Centerville, Missouri, to get vaccinated against covid-19. After pulling into the drive-thru line in a church parking lot, she …

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Missouri ‘Voted for This Lie,’ Says State Rep Trying to Block Medicaid Expansion

It is hard to qualify for Medicaid as an adult in Missouri. Single adults aren’t eligible for coverage through the state’s program — dubbed MO HealthNet — at all, and parents can’t make more than 21% of the federal poverty level: $5,400 in 2021 for a family of three. This story is part of a …

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Journalists Dive Deep Into Roots of Vaccine Distrust in Prisons and Covid’s Toll on Public Health

Reporter Eric Berger discussed vaccine hesitancy among inmates at a Missouri correctional center with Newsy on Thursday. Click here to watch Berger on Newsy Read Berger’s “Inmates’ Distrust of Prison Health Care Fuels Distrust of Covid Vaccines” KHN Editor-in-Chief Elisabeth Rosenthal discussed how the U.S. has focused on international terrorism at the expense of public …

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How One State’s Public Health Defunding Led to Vaccination Chaos

ST. LOUIS — Missourians have driven hours to find vaccines in rural counties — at least those with cars and the time. Tens of thousands of doses are waiting to be distributed, slowly being rolled out in a federal long-term care program. Waitlists are hundreds of thousands of people long. Black residents are getting left …

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Inmates’ Distrust of Prison Health Care Fuels Distrust of Covid Vaccines

One November night in a Missouri prison, Charles Graham woke his cellmate of more than a dozen years, Frank Flanders, saying he couldn’t breathe. Flanders pressed the call button. No one answered, so he kicked the door until a guard came. This story also ran on St. Louis Post-Dispatch. It can be republished for free. …

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Indiana School Goes Extra Mile to Help Vulnerable Kids Weather Pandemic

After covid-19 forced Olivia Goulding’s Indiana middle school to switch back to remote learning late last year, the math teacher lost contact with many of her students. So she and some colleagues came up with a plan: visiting them under the guise of dropping off Christmas gifts. This story also ran on USA Today. It …

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Need Amid Plenty: Richest US Counties Are Overwhelmed by Surge in Child Hunger

Alexandra Sierra carried boxes of food to her kitchen counter, where her 7-year-old daughter, Rachell, stirred a pitcher of lemonade. This story also ran on USA Today and GateHouse Media. It can be republished for free. “Oh, my God, it smells so good!” Sierra, 39, said of the bounty she’d just picked up at a …

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University of Missouri Settles Lawsuits Over Knee Surgeries Involving Veterinarian

COLUMBIA, Mo. — The University of Missouri has settled a collection of personal injury and false advertising claims over knee surgeries for $16.2 million, in what appears to be one of its largest public payouts in recent years. This story also ran on St. Louis Post-Dispatch. It can be republished for free. The 22 plaintiffs, …

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Firefighters — ‘Health Care Providers on a Truck’ — Signal Pandemic Burnout

This story also ran on KCUR. It can be republished for free. Tim Dupin thought — or at least hoped — that Missouri firefighters, paramedics and other emergency medical services personnel would be among the first to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. After months of feeling overlooked by elected leaders in the distribution of safety …

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After Nearly 60 Years of Marriage, This Missouri Couple Stayed Together to the End

This story also ran on St. Louis Post-Dispatch. It can be republished for free. Arthur Kelley could barely raise his voice above a whisper last fall when he told a nursing assistant he never wanted his wife, Maggie, to be alone. After almost 60 years of marriage, five children and a lifetime filled with more …

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Are Public Health Ads Worth the Price? Not if They’re All About Fear

ST. LOUIS — The public service announcement showed a mother finding her teenage son lifeless, juxtaposed with the sound of a ukulele and a woman singing, “That’s how, how you OD’d on heroin.” It aired locally during the 2015 Super Bowl but attracted national attention and has been viewed more than 500,000 times on YouTube. …

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Mientras los vulnerables esperan, cónyuges de polٌíticos reciben la vacuna contra covid

Los suministros de vacunas contra covid-19 son escasos, por eso un panel asesor federal recomienda primero administrarlas a los trabajadores de salud, que mantienen en funcionamiento el sistema médico del país, y a los adultos mayores en hogares, que tienen más probabilidades de morir a causa del coronavirus. En ninguna parte de la lista de …

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As the Vulnerable Wait, Some Political Leaders’ Spouses Get Covid Vaccines

With supplies of covid-19 vaccines scarce, a federal advisory panel recommends first putting shots into the arms of health care workers, who keep the nation’s medical system running, and long-term care residents most likely to die from the coronavirus. Nowhere on the list of prioritized recipients are public officials’ spouses. Yet the first ladies of …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: 2020 in Review — It Wasn’t All COVID

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. COVID-19 was the dominant — but not the only — health policy story of 2020. In this special year-in-review episode of KHN’s “What the Health?” podcast, panelists look back at some of the biggest non-coronavirus stories. Those included Supreme Court cases on the Affordable Care …

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A Child’s Death in the Heartland Changes Community Views About COVID

WASHINGTON, Mo. — In August, local officials in this small city an hour west of St. Louis voted against requiring residents to wear masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. On Nov. 23, with COVID cases surging and the local hospital overflowing, the City Council brought a mask order back for another vote. As …

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Where Does the Arsenic in Rice, Mushrooms, and Wine Come From?

What happens when our crops are grown in soil contaminated with arsenic-based pesticides and arsenic drug-laced chicken manure? When arsenic-containing drugs are fed to chickens, not only does the arsenic grow out into their feathers, which are then fed back to them as a slaughterhouse byproduct, but the arsenic can also get into their tissues …

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Rural Areas Send Their Sickest Patients to Cities, Straining Hospitals

Registered nurse Pascaline Muhindura has spent the past eight months treating COVID patients at Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri. But when she returns home to her small town of Spring Hill, Kansas, she’s often stunned by what she sees, like on a recent stop for carryout food. “No one in the entire restaurant was …

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Despite Pandemic Threat, Gubernatorial Hopefuls Avoid COVID Nitty-Gritty

Just 15 days ahead of the election, Montana Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney laid out his ideas on how he’d handle the COVID-19 pandemic if elected governor. Details were few, but the Democrat’s plan became one of only a handful being offered by candidates in the 11 U.S. governor’s races about how they’ll approach what’s certain …

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Swab, Spit, Stay Home? College Coronavirus Testing Plans Are All Over the Map

Yousuf El-Jayyousi, a junior engineering student at the University of Missouri, wanted guidance and reassurance that it would be safe to go back to school for the fall semester. He tuned into a pair of online town halls organized by the university hoping to find that. He did not. What he got instead from those …

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In Rural Missouri, Latinos Learn to Contain and Cope With the Coronavirus

Francisco Bonilla is a pastor in Carthage, Missouri, tending to the spiritual needs of the town’s growing Latino community. He’s also a media personality, broadcasting his voice far beyond the walls of Casa de Sanidad. Bonilla runs a low-power, Spanish-language radio station from the church. He mainly uses the station to broadcast sermons and religious …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Still Waiting for That Trump Health Plan

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. President Donald Trump keeps promising to unveil a comprehensive plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, but it keeps not appearing. However, this week he did order an expansion of telehealth for Medicare beneficiaries and a program to help struggling rural hospitals. Meanwhile, the administration …

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Missouri Voters Approve Medicaid Expansion Despite GOP Resistance

Despite strong opposition from Republicans and rural voters, Missouri on Tuesday joined 37 states and the District of Columbia in expanding its Medicaid program. Voters in Missouri approved creating a state constitutional amendment that will open Medicaid eligibility to include healthy adults starting July 1, 2021. Voters approved expansion by a margin of 6.5 percentage …

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Missourians to Vote on Medicaid Expansion as Crisis Leaves Millions Without Insurance

ST. LOUIS — Haley Organ thought she had everything figured out. After graduating from a small private college just outside Boston, she earned her master’s degree, entered the workforce and eventually landed a corporate job here as a data analyst. Life seemed to be going as planned until the national retailer that Organ worked for …

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Trump Administration’s Sudden Shift on COVID Data Leaves States in the Lurch

Just as the number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 approaches new highs in some parts of the country, hospital data in Kansas and Missouri is suddenly incomplete or missing. The Missouri Hospital Association reports that it no longer has access to the data it uses to guide state coronavirus mitigation efforts, and Kansas officials say …

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