Local Health Buzz

The case for expanding Medicaid in Missouri

By Jim Heeter, President and Chief Executive Officer, Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce

There’s a concerted effort underway right now to convince Missouri legislators to change their collective mind and vote to expand Medicaid. Whether successful or not, expanding Medicaid is the right thing to do.

The Greater Kansas City Chamber has been fully supportive of Medicaid expansion, for two important reasons.

First, it makes good economic sense. Just look at the data:



This is Ivanhoe

By Dina Newman, Health Initiatives Manager of Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council

A vacant lot. A community in crisis. A single mom. A young man struggling to read. And children no longer connected to the land. This is Ivanhoe.

From Paseo to Prospect, 31st Street to the street named for a congressman, a community of blocks upon blocks — some say more than 200, some say 400 — south to west and east to north; the Third District, in case you are wondering. Seven thousand souls separated, not by jealousy or anger, but by a strip of highway that cuts the neighborhood in two equal pieces, like an apple. This is Ivanhoe.


Make breakfast time your favorite time

Gretchen Speer PatchBy Gretchen Speer Patch, MPH, Healthy Schools Program Manager for Kansas Alliance for a Healthier Generation

Do you have trouble getting your children out the door with breakfast in hand bright and early in the morning? Do you find yourself begging your child to eat breakfast or sitting in the morning drive thru line? Let me share a time-saving secret that may also save you money-- it’s called school breakfast.

You already know breakfast is the most important meal of the day; it primes your child’s brain for peak performance and studies show children that eat breakfast have better concentration and critical thinking, fewer behavioral issues and reduced tardiness.

There’s no way around it: secondhand smoke threatens public health

By Tonia Wright, Editor-in-Chief of accessHealth News & President/CEO of Grace Advertising & Consulting, Inc.

You don’t have to be a smoker to suffer from heart disease, lung cancer or even throat cancer. People consistently exposed to secondhand smoke, at home or at work, are at risk for these conditions.

As for infants and children, consistent exposure to secondhand smoke can lead to frequent colds, respiratory infections—including bronchitis and pneumonia—frequent or chronic ear infections, undeveloped lungs and even SIDS.


Telemedicine empowers children and supports their families

By Eve-Lynn Nelson, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Kansas Medical Center

It’s 10 a.m., Monday morning, and Jordan is on the iPad. Jordan’s not checking Instagram, but rather securely logging in with his school nurse and parent to discuss the past week with a licensed behavioral health specialist.

That’s how simple telemedicine is making access to mental health care for individuals in remote locations.

Telemedicine — secure real-time videoconferencing — empowers children and families by extending access to the latest behavioral treatments for individuals who otherwise would not be able to receive care.


How a child's bedtime routine led to trauma-informed care approach

By Laura Shrader, MSW, Hospital Diversion Director, Trauma Matters KC Missouri Chair

I fell in love with trauma-informed care because I wasn’t doing my job very well.

I was trying to reduce restraints in the psychiatric treatment facility I oversaw,, and was having marginal success. We tried everything we knew at the time: more activities, more staff, more staff training, different staff, different policies — and the results were marginal.


On mental health and poverty: The new Rainbow to offer 'port of calm,' 'port of access'

By Mark Wiebe, Wyandot Inc. public affairs director

In Sunday's New York Times, a headline on the op/ed page underscored one of the central challenges in mental health and criminal justice circles: How do we reduce the number of people with mental illness in our jails and prisons? The column, "Inside a Mental Health Hospital Called Jail," profiles Cook County Jail in Chicago, where some 60 percent of the inmates on a given day are diagnosed with a mental illness.

HCF's Local Health Buzz Blog aims to discuss health and health policy issues that impact the uninsured and underserved in our service area. To submit a blog, please contact HCF Communications Officers, Jennifer Sykes, at jsykes@hcfgkc.org.


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