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Kansas City, MO

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Health coverage from KCUR.

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@kcurnews

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Episodes

While Opioids Grab The Spotlight, The Meth Epidemic Grows Worse Than Ever

9/5/2018
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Starting in the mid-1990s, Capt. Dan Cummings worked as an undercover cop going after meth suppliers in his hometown of Independence, Missouri. He had grown up seeing what meth could do, so for him the work was personal. “When I was a kid, a cousin brought a bag of this white powder in and said, ‘Man, hey, you gotta try this stuff. Man, you can go forever,’” Cummings says. “He did. He’s now passed on.”

Duration:00:04:20

Kansas' Abortion Past Could Foretell Its Future

9/4/2018
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The incident Julie Burkhart remembers most clearly about the 1991 Summer of Mercy is the man who attached himself to the front gate of a Wichita abortion clinic using a U-lock. Burkhart was a college student working at one of the three abortion clinics open in Wichita at the time. Today, she runs the one of two clinics left in the city.

Duration:00:04:34

Fearing Cuts To Healthcare, Some Transgender People In Kansas City Embrace Crowdfunding

8/22/2018
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Like many people who can’t afford medical care, Larissa Shively-Vitt of Shawnee, Kansas, has been spending a lot of time online lately, trying to tell her story and raise money through crowdfunding. Medical expenses are the category most often used on GoFundMe, which is the largest crowdfunding platform. And in recent years, campaigns have snowballed for one particular kind of medical care: gender confirmation surgery. GoFundMe has nearly 5,000 active campaigns for transgender surgery, a...

Duration:00:04:23

Keeping Families Together As Mothers Undergo Recovery: A New Approach To Drug Dependency

8/8/2018
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A day after her son Asher was born, state social workers paid a visit to Amber Johnson in the hospital. She had tested positive for meth, marijuana and painkillers during her pregnancy and, fearful she would lose her son, told them about her addiction.

Duration:00:05:28

Doctors Grapple With How Best To Treat Opioid-Dependent Newborns

8/1/2018
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When Victoria Worden of Kansas City was pregnant with her fourth child, she was addicted to heroin and hated herself for it.

Duration:00:04:54

Shortage of Drug Counselors Leaves Many Opioid-Addicted People Waiting To Get Treatment

7/18/2018
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When Cody Goodwin, of Independence, Missouri, was 24, he had already been hooked on opioids, including heroin, for years. His sister decided jail was the only way he could be cut off from drugs, so she reported him to the police.

Duration:00:04:20

Kansas City Group Aims To Lower Infant Mortality By Supporting Black Mothers

7/12/2018
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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, black women are three to four times more likely than white women to die from pregnancy-related causes and the rate of infant mortality for black infants is almost double that of white infants . An organization in Kansas City is trying to turn those numbers around.

Duration:00:04:27

Kansas City Scientists Capture Single Cells That Drive Flatworm’s ‘Witchcraft’-Like Regeneration

7/11/2018
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In a famous segment from Walt Disney’s 1940 film “Fantasia,” Mickey Mouse is a sorcerer’s apprentice tormented by a broom that he brings to life to help with his chores. At one point, Mickey completely loses it, grabs an ax and savagely chops the cheery, bouncing broom into splinters. But the story doesn’t end there. As Mickey walks away, the splinters begin to wiggle and regrow, until each one become a new broom. Researcher Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado specializes in studying a real-life...

Duration:00:04:55

Amid Branson’s Biggest Tourism Boom Ever, Homelessness Among Workers Surges

6/20/2018
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If you can imagine Las Vegas, a county fair and the TV show Hee Haw mashed up and spread out along an old Ozark highway, then you’ll have an idea of what the main strip of Branson in southern Missouri looks like. Miles and miles of all the miniature golf, bumper cars, fudge shops, custard stands and music theaters that a vacationing family could hope for. Shannon works as a waitress in one of those places – a Branson restaurant – and says she loves being part of the action. “I love to hear...

Duration:00:07:34

New Tests Could Detect Alzheimer’s Years Before Symptoms, But Why Find Out When There's No Cure?

6/12/2018
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Medical researchers have made giant leaps in diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease, which could make it possible to detect the illness long before memory and cognitive problems show up. There is no cure for the fatal, degenerative disease, and it remains one of the diagnoses most feared by patients. But researchers and patient advocates say it’s still worth facing their fears and getting tested.

Duration:00:04:45

Locked Up And Untreated: One Missouri Inmate’s Quest For Hepatitis C Treatment

5/9/2018
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Joe Watson has lived a troubled life. He had a traumatic childhood, spent years addicted to cocaine and meth and is now serving a 20 year sentence in the Jefferson City Correction Center for second degree murder. But the 47-year-old Kansas City, Missouri, native was shaken to his core by the death of his friend and fellow inmate Stevie Jimerson from hepatitis C early last year.

Duration:00:05:12

Missouri State Auditor Faces Lawsuit As Battle For Control Of Tiny Rural Hospital Escalates

4/6/2018
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A battle royale has erupted in tiny Unionville, Missouri, over the town’s endangered community hospital. Trustees of Putnam County Memorial Hospital in the north central community are trying to get rid of the company that took over the ailing institution in 2016 and then ran more than $90 million in questionable lab billings through the hospital.

Duration:00:04:32

Kansas City Judge Finds VA's Negligence Led To Iraq Veteran's Suicide

3/7/2018
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After a seven-month deployment in 2004 in Iraq as a squad leader and gunner, Cpl. William P. Draughon received a citation for heroic service and was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps. Several members of his squad were killed in Iraq, and when he returned stateside, the North Kansas City High School graduate began experiencing depression and nightmares and became withdrawn and moody. He also started drinking heavily.

Duration:00:05:26

Kansas City Researcher Asks: Does Insulin Lose Quality On Its Way To Patients?

3/7/2018
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Alan Carter didn’t start his recent research with any deep doubts about the insulin that people buy in pharmacies. He just wanted to find out how different kinds of insulin compared. “We thought, well, if we can figure out if there’s very subtle differences between the two manufacturing processes, then maybe we can help determine if there is a significant issue for patients who switch back and forth because of insurance formulary restrictions and costs,” Carter says. Daily insulin injections...

Duration:00:04:09

Encouraged By Trump Administration, Missouri Lawmaker Seeks More State Control Over Medicaid

2/21/2018
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Missouri’s general revenue spending on Medicaid has topped more than 2 billion dollars annually in recent years and its costs are rising. That’s a problem for Republican State Sen. David Sater of Springfield. “It continues to be the biggest inflation that we have in state programs, and we have to do something,” Sater says. The Springfield lawmaker is sponsoring a bill that would require Missouri to seek permission from the federal government to get what’s called a global waiver, basically...

Duration:00:04:52

She's Fighting Cancer — Now She's Fighting For Kansas Medicaid Expansion

2/13/2018
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Amy Houston got the bad news — a diagnosis of Hodgkin Lymphoma — in 2009. She started working 10-hour days in her corporate job to get Fridays off for chemotherapy. But that schedule no longer worked when the time came for daily radiation treatments. “I lost my job and therefore lost my medical insurance,” Houston said.

Duration:00:04:29

She Struggled Against Cancer, And To Get Insurance — Now She's Pushing For Kansas Medicaid Expansion

2/13/2018
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Amy Houston got the bad news — a diagnosis of Hodgkin Lymphoma — in 2009. She started working 10-hour days in her corporate job to get Fridays off for chemotherapy. But that schedule no longer worked when the time came for daily radiation treatments. “I lost my job and therefore lost my medical insurance,” Houston said.

Duration:00:04:29

Leading Health Reporter Warns Kansas City: Medicare About 'To Smack Us In The Face'

2/7/2018
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Longtime health reporter Julie Rovner is chief Washington correspondent for Kaiser Health News , a nonprofit news service providing in-depth coverage of health care policy and politics. Before joining KHN, Rovner was a health reporter for 16 years at NPR , where she helped lead coverage of the enactment and implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Rovner was in Kansas City last week to participate in a panel discussion presented by American Public Square , a Kansas City-based nonprofit...

Duration:00:05:30

Why Are Death Rates Rising Among White Rural Missourians?

1/31/2018
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In the last few decades, rates of premature death have been decreasing throughout the industrialized world largely because of improvements in public health. But there’s a striking exception. Young adult and middle-aged non-Hispanic whites in the rural United States have been dying in increasing numbers since 2000. The trend drew headlines in 2015 when Princeton economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton released an eye-opening report finding that increases in suicides and drug overdoses had...

Duration:00:05:16

Assailed And Besieged, A Year Into Trump The Affordable Care Act Still Offers Lifeline To Many

1/24/2018
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Entrepreneurs Keely Edgington and Beau Williams, owners of a Westport bar called Julep, say that the Affordable Care Act has been an easy, inexpensive way for them to get health insurance. Having insurance has been critical for the married couple. Their daughter Lula was diagnosed with cancer in 2016 when she was nine months old. Even with insurance, the family needed help from friends and family to pay her medical costs.

Duration:00:05:31