Health news and issues in the Ozarks.

Lindsay Fox / Flickr

A common resolution as a new year begins is to quit smoking.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, seven out of 10 tobacco users say they want to quit.  But doing away with cigarettes can be difficult. 

Jim Brawner, community educator at CoxHealth and a nationally certified tobacco treatment specialist, said nicotine is addictive, and many smokers (nearly 90 percent) have been using cigarettes since before the age of 18.

Program Allows Young People to Explore Medical Careers

Dec 18, 2018

Registration is open for young adults to sign up for a longtime tradition at CoxHealth.  The Medical Explorers program lets students ages 15 to 20 shadow health care providers to see if a career in that industry would spark their interest.

According to a release from CoxHealth, the local Medical Explorers program began in 1968 and has grown to be the largest in the country.

For more information abouit the program or to apply, call (417) 269-1469.  The deadline for those applications is January 18.


CoxHealth is planning to build a new hospital in Monett.  The $42 million hospital will replace the current facility that was built in 1953.

The 70,000-square-foot hospital will be located along Highway 60 on the eastern edge of Monett.  According to the health system, it will offer an enhanced emergency department, multiple operating rooms and an attached office building that will house physician clinics, 40 exam rooms and a cardiac rehab facility.

Ground will be broken in the coming months, according to CoxHealth, and the project will take around two years to complete. 

Martin Brigden / Flickr

Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper, Jay Sampietro Jr. died in the line of duty in 2005.  The 36-year-old married father of two young boys was struck and killed while directing traffic around a crash reconstruction scene on I-44 in Webster County.  

To honor his memory, the Corporal John A. “Jay” Sampietro Jr. Toy Drive was started 12 years ago.  Each year, the public is invited to donate toys at several drop off points in Springfield. 

CoxHealth to Host Halloween-themed Job Fair Tuesday

Oct 18, 2018
CoxHealth south location building
CoxHealth / CoxHealth

CoxHealth is embracing the spirit of Halloween during a job fair on Tuesday, Oct. 23.

The job fair runs from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. and job applicants can visit Cox South’s west tower lobby to meet with different departments at Halloween-themed booths.

According to CoxHealth, there will be free food and prizes.

The hospital system is looking to fill jobs from entry-level to management positions. Openings include dietitians, secretaries, psychologists, registration specialists, nurses and more.

Mercy Clinic Advanced Ambulatory Care will open Monday, October 1.  It will serve those whose illness or injury is too serious for urgent care but not serious enough for the emergency room.

Patients must first call their primary care provider, and if that doctor can't see them right away, they can be referred to the new clinic for an appointment.  It opens Monday in the former Mercy Urgent Care building at National and Montclair.

Michele Skalicky

Leaders from several Springfield organizations, including the Springfield Fire Department, CoxHealth and Mercy, gathered at the Springfield Regional Police & Fire Training Center Wednesday to officially launch PulsePoint in the region.

The app notifies those trained in CPR, and who have downloaded it on their mobile phones, of a medical emergency within 1500 feet of their location as well as the exact location of the emergency and the nearest automated external defibrillator (AED).


CoxHealth is adding a new layer of security for patients.  It’s implementing palm vein scanning technology at its hospitals and clinics over the next few months.

Under the system, imprivata PatientSecure, A biometric palm vein scanner uses a near-infrared light wave to capture the vein pattern in a patient’s palm. The scan produces a unique biometric template that is a digital representation of the patient’s unique vein pattern, according to imprivata.

Charles Williams / Flickr

Anyone who goes in for surgery at CoxHealth will get some extra education about pain management and how to dispose of unused pain medication, including opioids. 

According to Joel Daniel, system medication safety pharmacist at CoxHealth, opioid medications are an effective and appropriate way to manage pain but only if used as directed.

"We want to make sure that medications are taken as prescribed and only for as long as we need," Daniel said.


There’s about a one in 15,000 chance that a student athlete will experience sudden cardiac death.  For African-American men, the chance can be even greater:  as high as one in 7,000, according to Dr. Shannons Woods, medical director of sports medicine at CoxHealth.

That’s why CoxHealth decided to add EKGs to its sports physicals for college athletes. 

"The scary thing about sudden cardiac death is only 15 percent of the time does somebody have a symptom prior to dying.  So, the vast majority of cases, the first symptom is death," said Woods. 

Cox Health South
Chloe O'Neill / KSMU

Free mammogram screenings are now available to women of the Ozarks who don’t have insurance for that procedure.

Women who are uninsured or underinsured can receive a free mammogram screening, thanks to a partnership between CoxHealth and the Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks.

Susan Smith is a manager in the Breast Care Center at CoxHealth.


A new partnership in Springfield will train students for careers as emergency medical technicians or paramedics.

The Emergency Medical Services (EMS) program at Ozarks Technical Community College was dedicated Thursday.  The program, co-sponsored by CoxHealth and Mercy, not only trains students for careers as EMT’s and paramedics, it also provides continuing education for those who already work in the field.

Kelly Sue DeConnick / Flickr

The most common form of cancer in the U.S. is skin cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  It’s estimated that more than three million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancers each year.

According to CoxHealth, identifying potential skin cancers and pre-cancers can keep the disease from spreading beyond control.

That’s why each year, the health system offers a chance for people 18 and older to be screened for free.  This year, the screening will be held on May 12.