Health

Health news and issues in the Ozarks.

Scott Harvey / KSMU

“So we’re gonna go ahead and go live… Hey! How we doing?” announces David Stoecker via a Facebook Live session on February 24. There are about a dozen monitoring the feed from a digital device, while a handful of us watch Stoecker in person from inside the Springfield Recovery Community Center.

Jennifer Moore / KSMU

In the Missouri capitol building in Jefferson City, Representative Holly Rehder, R-Sikeston, has been trying for half a decade to get Missouri to establish a PDMP, or Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.

That’s an electronic records database that would allow prescribers—doctors, dentists, nurse practitioners, and anyone who can prescribe narcotics—to pull up on a screen in the exam room that shows what medicines that patient has been prescribed, and when.

Missouri is the only state where medical professionals don’t have the option of using such a database.

Michele Skalicky

Opioids, both prescription and illicit, are the main driver of drug overdose deaths in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.   More than 33,000 people died in the United States in 2015 from opioid overdoses, the latest year for which numbers are available. 

Greene County had 97 overdose deaths in 2015, and, of those, 61 were opioid-related.

CoxHealth

Students in several area schools will soon be able to get a medical diagnosis without leaving the school building.  A Missouri Foundation for Health grant will allow CoxHealth telemedicine to be used in six elementary schools with the goal of reducing absenteeism. 

Over a three-year period, mobile telehealth carts will be placed in schools in Cassville, Forsyth, Monett, Mountain Grove, Ozark and Reeds Spring.  That will allow kids to be seen at school via video for acute ailments such as sore throats, chronic coughs and the flu.

Kate Cohn
Scott Harvey / KSMU

Jan. 31 marks the open enrollment deadline for citizens needing health insurance through the federal Marketplace. While the process has become more streamlined since it first launched, a likely repeal of the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, is bringing many questions from enrollees.

CoxHealth Monett
CoxHealth Monett

CoxHealth says it’s opening a new urgent care facility in Monett in January that aims to better serve area residents.

The 2,600 square foot facility, according to the hospital, is a resource for ailments that can’t wait for a traditional doctor visit, but aren’t severe enough for a trip to the emergency room.

“The focus of this facility is to bridge a gap between people needing same-day appointments and our physician offices,” said Darren Bass, president of Cox Monett, in a statement. “We want to be an addition to the exceptional care our primary care physicians provide.”

CoxHealth

Missourians now have another option when it comes to seeking treatment for minor illnesses.  CoxHealth has expanded its telemedicine service, DirectConnect, to individuals.  Previously, it had been offered only to employers.

Bridget O’Hara, product manager at Cox, said it’s an affordable option for those who need care—each “visit” is $49—and she said it frees up space in the ER and urgent care.

According to O’Hara, the service is easy to use.  She compares it to using Skype or Face Time.

Officials with Bolivar-based Citizens Memorial Hospital and CoxHealth in Springfield have signed a letter of intent to merge the two, making CMH a part of Cox.

The announcement came in a joint press release Friday morning.

It describes a due diligence period during which both entities will explore the details of one another’s business practices before reaching a final agreement. That could come as soon as mid-2017.

Mercy Kids Transport Unit
Submitted photo / Mercy Springfield

Mercy Springfield is touting a new, more accommodating way of transporting children to a hospital with a higher level of care.

The Mercy Kids Transport Unit features child-sized equipment and advanced treatments that enable service to children from premature babies to 17 years old.

CoxHealth

CoxHealth Center Marshfield will move into a bigger space next spring. Ground has been broken on a new clinic, at 1245 Banning St., in Marshfield. The clinic will have 10,400 square feet of space-- more than triple the size of the current facility.

David Taylor, corporate vice president at CoxHealth, says, since the healthcare system’s first clinic in Marshfield was established more than 20 years ago, the need for medical care in the community has grown considerably.

Kathea Pinto / Flickr

Prostate Cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths among men in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control.  And Dr. Abe Abdalla (Awb-DAW-luh), medical director of oncology at CoxHealth, said more men need to be tested for the disease.

Studies have shown that there isn’t solid evidence that screening increases cure rates.  But as a physician, Dr. Abdalla has seen evidence to the contrary.  That’s why he helped to form the Prostate Cancer Organization of the Ozarks (PCOO) at CoxHealth.  Its goal is to increase awareness about prostate cancer in men.

OTC Table Rock Campus
Kristina Bridges-Templeton

A new partnership will benefit students in the Hollister area wishing to go into healthcare as well as area healthcare providers.  KSMU's Bart Anders has more.

Incoming OTC students attending the Table Rock Campus will have a new program to choose from in the fall of 2017. OTC partnered with CoxHealth to establish an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) program at the Hollister, Missouri college.

Christopher Craig / Flickr

In an effort to show support to local law enforcement, CoxHealth is inviting all first responders from area counties to a free barbecue lunch at Cox North this Friday (8/12).

CoxHealth Public Safety director, Eric Clay, says when CoxHealth CEO Steve Edwards heard about the ambush on Dallas police officers he wanted to do something to show local first responders how much the hospital supports them.  According to Clay, “this lunch is a small way we can show them how much we appreciate all that they do for us.”

Michele Skalicky / KSMU

An annual event at CoxHealth allows kids to create items to make hospital stays easier for patients.  KSMU’s Michele Skalicky stopped by to see what was going on.

One day each month from February through July volunteers gather in the Cox North Fountain Plaza Room to sew and stuff and braid and fill.  They make items that will be used by patients at CoxHealth.  There are fleece blankets, eye pillows, fluffy heart pillows and stuffed bears.

jasleen_kaur / Flickr

CoxHealth is planning to hire nurses from overseas.  The hospital cited “tremendous growth” and “an effort to keep up with the growing need for health care personnel” as reasons for the decision.

Karen Kramer, CoxHealth’s chief nursing officer said, in Branson last year inpatient admissions volume grew ten percent.  And emergency department admissions are up about the same amount system wide.

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