Health Care

Finally there's a way to understand the language of health insurance

By Rhonda Holman, HCF Vice President

Rhonda HolmanOn October 24, Health Literacy Missouri (HLM), in concert with Health Literacy Kansas and the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City, staged its first annual Summit in Kansas City. At that conference, as at similar conferences this year across the nation, health insurance literacy was on the agenda.

The first enrollment period for health insurance marketplaces uncovered a secret that most of us have been able to keep for a long time.

Blurred Lines: Oral health and overall health

Jessica HembreeBy Jessica Hembree, HCF program officer

While also the name of a hit pop song, blurred lines is an apt summary of the recommendations stemming from HCF’s recently released oral health assessment. Oral health has traditionally been siloed apart from physical health and, unfortunately this separation has greatly impacted the cost, quality and access to oral health services.

Free Mental Health First Aid training offered

Editor's note: The next Mental Health First Aid training will be planned for late winter/early spring. Please check Wyandot Inc's website for more information.

By Mark Wiebe, Wyandot Inc. Public Affairs Director

On July 10, the Metropolitan Council of Community Mental Health Centers will host a Mental Health First Aid ‘Day.’ This first-ever opportunity for the Kansas City area will be offered at no cost to the public thanks to funding from the Health Care Foundation and the Jackson County Community Mental Health Fund.

Our aim is to certify more than 250 Kansas Citians in the adult or youth version of the course and increase the ranks of people trained to respond to a mental health crisis. In the process, we hope to add momentum to an already robust conversation about mental health in the region.

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.

Navigating the ACA

Elizabeth DarrBy Elizabeth Darr, Navigator at Shepherd's Center

Navigators are individuals — mostly volunteers — dedicated to assisting people in signing up for health insurance plans available under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare. I am one of these navigators.

Our training consisted of 20 hours of online learning. We were required to obtain a Missouri license. There are Navigators and Certified Application Counselors working at many area clinics, but our group works at the Shepherd’s Center, supported by a grant from Primaris.

Canvassing team Covers KC

By Tyler Menges, Canvasser for Enrollment Outreach Campaign

With the deadline for open enrollment through the Health Insurance Marketplace quickly approaching, I jumped at the opportunity to join the CoverKC team canvassing the neighborhoods in the Greater Kansas City area.

In my opinion, access to medical care is a human right, and I feel privileged to be a member of this dedicated team going door to door, offering information about the Affordable Care Act for those who need it most.

U.S. health care system not built to foster informed and engaged patients

Rhonda HolmanBefore we bid farewell to an eventful year dominated by the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, our HCF associates take a look back at significant events and projects and share their insights about the year 2013.

On day seven of our year in review, HCF Vice President Rhonda Holman reflects on the challenges for patients to be stewards of their health.

“What is your potassium level normally?”