A collaboration among KCUR Public Radio, KCPT Public Television, KHI News Service and Kansas Public Radio, Heartland Health Monitor focuses on health issues and their impact in Missouri and Kansas. Whether breaking news or in-depth features, we strive to bring listeners and readers timely, accurate and comprehensive coverage of a topic that leaves no one untouched.


Kansas City, MO




A collaboration among KCUR Public Radio, KCPT Public Television, KHI News Service and Kansas Public Radio, Heartland Health Monitor focuses on health issues and their impact in Missouri and Kansas. Whether breaking news or in-depth features, we strive to bring listeners and readers timely, accurate and comprehensive coverage of a topic that leaves no one untouched.






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Kansans Can't Gather For Funerals, Further Complicating Grief During COVID-19 Times



These Kansas Citians Are Getting Coronavirus News Out In Spanish, Burmese And Sign Language

Celia Ruiz updates her Facebook page multiple times a day. These days, the content is all coronavirus-related – flyers from school districts on how to get kids’ lunch, infographics from local health care providers, articles on how the virus is affecting people across the world. And she’s translating it all into Spanish. Ruiz works for United Healthcare, so she’s constantly getting new information to share. “Once I receive a resource, I try to translate it as best and as quickly and as...


Science Suggests Loneliness Is Tied To Addiction — These Kansas City Moms Work To Recover From Both

As the United States struggled with a crisis of addiction to opioids and other drugs over the past few years, scientists began to learn how addiction and loneliness can feed one another. That was true for the Kansas City women in recovery whose stories support researchers’ findings about how loneliness and addiction work together to create a downward spiral. “It isolated me from my family,” Monica says of her addiction. “They did not want to be bothered with me because of my behaviors. It...


Video Chatting With A Doctor Could Boost Rural Kansans' Health Care, But Adoption Is Slow



150,000 Kansans Who Drink From Private Wells Are Largely Blind To Contamination



Kansas Paves Medicaid Expansion Path After Governor And Top Republican Break Partisan Logjam

TOPEKA, Kansas — Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly and a key Republican lawmaker said Thursday they’ve crafted a deal to make roughly 130,000 more Kansans eligible for Medicaid.


Kansas City Cancer Patients Pin Hopes On Controversial Proton Beam Therapy

Cancer survivors and their loved ones who attend meetings of the Prostate Network in Kansas City have talked for years about a radiation treatment called proton beam therapy. They know it’s expensive and controversial. Some doctors and healthcare experts say it’s no more effective than standard X-ray radiation, and costs twice as much. But some of the network’s own members have used proton therapy and swear by the results.


Missouri's Refusal To Treat Mental Health Like A Physical Condition Means Patients Wait Months

Starting treatment with a mental health specialist often requires a wait of several weeks, but many psychiatrists and other specialists in Kansas City have waiting lists stretching over months. While the need for mental health treatment has been growing in Missouri, many patient advocates say the state’s refusal to aggressively enforce mental health parity may be making the wait times even longer. Marty Sexton, a 50-year-old disabled grandfather who lives in Peculiar, worked as a firefighter...


Rural Kansas Loves Its Hospitals, But Keeping Them Open Only Gets Harder



Rural Kansas Loves Its Hospitals, But Keeping Them Open Only Gets Harder

Go here to subscribe to the My Fellow Kansans podcast. This season, we look at the prospects of rural places. ANTHONY, Kansas — Few things signal a rural community’s decline more powerfully than the closure of its hospital. Like shuttered schools and empty Main Streets, an abandoned hospital serves as a tangible reminder of the erosive power of decades of population loss and unrelenting economic trends.


S2 Episode 4: Ailing Rural Health Care

The closing of a rural hospital marks a particular loss for a community — greater distances to travel for health care, fewer jobs, and the sense that a town is on the wane. This episode of the podcast looks at the forces that have led to an epidemic of shuttered small-town hospitals, and some things being tried to resuscitate rural health systems.


Doctors Stand By Meds For Treating Kids With ADHD But Many Experts Say That’s The Wrong Approach

When children are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, stimulant medications like Ritalin are usually the first line of treatment. Doctors recently issued new guidelines that mostly uphold the role of those medications, but many experts argue that other effective behavioral treatment methods are being ignored.


How A Rural Hospital In Kansas Survived Multiple Owners And Bankruptcy

Sitting at the edge of the gently undulating landscape of the Flint Hills in east-central Kansas, the town of Hillsboro boasts a small hospital that has survived a remarkable roller coaster ride even as other rural hospitals stagger and fail. Nine months ago, everything seemed to be coming apart at the 15-bed facility, Hillsboro Community Hospital, which traces its roots back more than a century.


This Missouri Mom Fought Hard For Medical Marijuana. Now She’s Fighting To Pay Its High Price.

It took years for advocates to get medical marijuana legalized in Missouri, but when it’s finally available in 2020, they may face an even tougher challenge: paying for it. Ashley Markum of Rogersville, Missouri, the mother of a young son who takes CBD to control seizures, was heavily involved in the legalization push. This year, she helped start a charity called Ayden’s Alliance to help families like hers take on what’s likely to be the high costs of treatment. When her son Ayden was born...


The Man Behind Kansas City's Fastest Growing CBD Chain Is Gaining Notoriety And Making Some Enemies

As a teenager, Vince Sanders watched his father go to prison. He dropped out of school and ended up serving time himself. It makes an unlikely history for the 55-year-old founder of a fast-growing retail chain who owes his fall and rise to the cannabis plant.


Climate Change Could Make Missouri A Mosquito Paradise, But Health Experts Warn We Aren’t Ready

This year’s catastrophic flooding has created hard times for many people in Midwest, but it’s created a nirvana for mosquitoes. Kansas City and the surrounding region could potentially become a hotbed for mosquito-borne viruses like West Nile virus in the coming years due to increasing temperatures and more frequent flooding, which are predicted by climate experts.


In Kansas, Peer Mentors Tackle A Side Of Mental Health That Pros Can’t Touch

KANSAS CITY, KAN. — Susan Haynes used to have panic attacks seven times a day. Sometimes, she would fall out of her chair. Sometimes, she would stop breathing. “I could just fall down, just collapse and look like I was having a seizure or stroke,” she said. “It was pretty scary.”


It's Easier To Buy CBD In Kansas Than To Know For Sure What's In It Or What It's Good For

LAWRENCE — Before starting his CBD company, Chris Brunin researched the competition, the labs they used, the products they sold. He checked out ingredient suppliers and organic hemp farmers. He took everyone’s pitches with a heapful of salt. “The hemp industry is like the Wild West and Wall Street had a baby,” said Brunin. “You have to vet everything and everybody … to make sure you’re not getting messed with or lied to.”


As Anti-Vax Movement Grows In Missouri, Families With Sick Children Fear For Their Lives

Vaccinations not only protect your health, they protect the health of the community by slowing or stopping the spread of illness. But Missouri now has some of the lowest measles vaccination rates in the nation, and that’s especially troubling for families with children who can’t get the shots for medical reasons.


Treating Kids' Peanut Allergies With Peanuts Might Work — Or Cause More Reactions

When Porter Hall of Raymore, Missouri, was a year old, he broke out in hives after eating a spoonful of peanut butter. It led to a scary night in the emergency room and a diagnosis of peanut allergy. But today, Porter, who’s now five, is giving peanuts another shot with the help of Kansas City doctors, who have been giving him tiny doses of peanuts over the course of months. This oral immunotherapy treatment isn’t a cure, but doctors say these tiny exposures may help to reduce or prevent...