Local Health Buzz

Hunger is a major culprit in health problems

By Bridget McCandless, President/CEO of the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City

A recent study showed that there was an increase at the end of the the month in the number of visits to the emergency room from low-income patients who had low blood sugar.

As a physician who treats diabetic patients, this increase doesn’t surprise me as people try to manage their diabetes with fewer food resources at that time of month.

Food insecurity means not having regular access to an adequate quantity of nutritious food, and it is a real problem for many in our area. In the HCF service area, there are approximately 230,000 people facing food insecurity.

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.

Focus groups reveal barriers to oral health care

By Lisa Wolff, ScD, Director of Research and Evaluation, Health Resources in Action and Allyson Scherb Auerbach, MPH, Community Health Associate at Health Resources in Action, Inc.

“I had better dental care when I was in prison. When you come in, they give you an examination and they say that the tooth might need to be pulled. And then they can see if they can save it and they will work to try to save the tooth.”

Recently, we were given the opportunity to work with the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City to complete a comprehensive oral health system assessment. We wanted to understand the challenges and successes related to oral health in the region, and how the community can more effectively address regional oral health needs.


Small business engine of change

By Bridget McCandless, President/CEO of the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City

I was fortunate to travel to Washington D.C. recently with a group of people who are concerned about health and access to health insurance. While there were many sectors represented at our meeting, the overall theme was the same: small businesses want to have a healthy workforce, and recognize the importance of insurance coverage. There’s no doubt that the landscape of choices to make that happen is changing.

Many small employers are looking to the Affordable Care Act to see what options exist to provide health insurance for their employees.


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.

The muddled, messy, maddening, mystifying, magnificent Marketplace

Sheldon WeisgrauBy Sheldon Weisgrau, Director of Health Reform Resource Project

Error messages.

Frozen screens.

Inability to log in.

Inability to log out.

Endless buffering.

Vanishing user names.

Lost applications.

By now, anyone who’s been paying attention — and probably even many who aren’t — knows about the disastrous start of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) federal Health Insurance Marketplace. It was described, at best, as “glitchy” and, at worst, as evidence of “stunning ineptitude.” And this was from ACA supporters. Even President Obama said his administration “fumbled” the rollout.

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.



About Bridget's Blog

Bridget McCandless

Bridget McCandless, MD, MBA, FACP, HCF President/CEO

Bridget McCandless is the President/CEO of the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City and is a Board Certified Internal Medicine Specialist with an interest in chronic disease management and poverty medicine. She shares her thoughts and perspectives on health and policy issues that impact the health of the community as a whole.

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