Robert Joiner | St. Louis Public Radio

Robert Joiner

Health Reporter

Robert Joiner has carved a niche in providing informed reporting about a range of medical issues.  He won a Dennis A. Hunt Journalism Award for the Beacon’s "Worlds Apart" series on health-care disparities. His journalism experience includes working at the St. Louis American and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, where he was a beat reporter, wire editor, editorial writer, columnist, and member of the Washington bureau.

Ways to Connect

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: It’s unusual for two supermarkets to open in St. Louis only months apart in or near neighborhoods where food deserts have taken root. That’s about to happen with the coming of two contrasting supermarkets.

Matthew DeCuffa with a patient
Provided by Saint Louis University | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Each Tuesday evening, some of the most medically underserved residents in St. Louis gather at a clinic in the Victor Roberts Building on the north side for generous access to medical advice. The discussions focus less on pills and prescriptions and more on wellness and prevention, with primary emphasis on measures the patients can take to improve their health.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: With the arrival of the Affordable Care Act, the health-care landscape is slowly changing, not only for the uninsured but for health-care providers and their employees. Part of that change was reflected in layoffs earlier this year at BJC HealthCare and more recently in changes in employee health insurance benefits.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When Alexis Young, a graduate student and part-time health researcher, began looking at her own insurance exchange options, she didn’t experience nearly as much sticker shock as she had expected.

With an income of less than $14,000 a year, she had braced herself for what she’d have to shell out for premiums. The sticker price in her case turned out to be about $2,400 a year for each of two plans reviewed by the Beacon. Of that premium amount, she’d have to pay $280 a year or less out of pocket because she’d be eligible for hefty tax credits to cover the rest.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Business is good at the Pilates and Yoga Center in Ladue. But an issue that continues to interrupt the peace of owner Karen Prechtl is affordable health insurance for herself and her 10 employees.

"It’s insane," she says of her skyrocketing premiums. But she takes comfort in the possibility that, starting Tuesday, relief might come when a new insurance marketplace opens in Missouri and nationwide, promising affordable health insurance for individuals, families and some small businesses. It is expected to open with plenty of promise — and glitches as well.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Much to the relief of health officials in the region, the federal government has decided to renew a waiver that guarantees continued health-care services to thousands of patients who signed up for Medicaid under a pilot program. Called Gateway to Better Health. The program has been offering primary, specialty and urgent care to more than 23,500 residents in St. Louis and St. Louis County.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: An executive at BJC HealthCare said Friday that some patients enrolling in Missouri’s insurance exchange will be able to get health services from its affiliates through an agreement between the hospital system and Conventry Health Inc. That means the patients will have access to medical treatment from doctors and other providers in the BJC network, said June Fowler, vice president of corporate and public communications.

Wikipedia Clockwise from top: Joan Baez and Bob Dylan at the March on Washington; The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the same day, Aug. 28, 1963, delivers the "I Have a Dream Speech"; President John F. Kennedy addresses the nation on civil rights, Jun
Wikipedia images

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Remarkable as it might seem, language in newspaper help wanted ads 50 years ago used to speak columns about unequal pay for women. Job listings were routinely segregated by sex with much of the high wage employment falling under the category that said “Help Wanted – Male.” Life for women in the job market began to change when President John F. Kennedy inked the landmark Equal Pay Act of 1963.

For the Sake of All

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Michael Jordan probably had no idea of the trouble he was causing 7th graders who couldn’t afford the athlete’s overpriced sneakers.

"Not wearing Jordans was when my problems really started," said Malik Avery, now 18. "In fact, I didn’t wear any designer outfits because I couldn’t afford  them. So I got picked on a lot.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Health policy analysts differ sharply on the conclusions of Wednesday's federal report, which says premiums in Missouri will be about 16 percent lower than previously projected for consumers eligible to buy their health insurance through the government-run marketplace or exchange on Oct. 1. 

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Mayor Francis Slay
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | 2013 photo

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Missouri could lose $8 billion in federal funding during the first six years of health reform if state lawmakers continue to refuse to expand Medicaid to insure more of the needy, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. She spoke during a stop in St. Louis for a meeting with St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, County Executive Charlie Dooley, health leaders and others working to help prepare consumers for the reform law’s insurance exchange marketplace, which opens for business on Oct. 1.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Missouri consumers wanting to know who will sell them insurance and at what cost through the health reform law’s online marketplace system won’t have answers until Oct. 1, the day the program begins taking applications.

Linda Spina, center, with helpers sorting donations to Nurses for Newborns.
Robert Joiner | St. Louis Beacon

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: With years of experience as a nurse and a nurse practitioner specializing in women’s health, Linda Spina has gained a lot of insight into why babies are born too soon, weigh too little, and, in some instances, die prematurely. She also has learned that conventional wisdom isn’t all it’s cracked up to be when it comes to saving at-risk newborns.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The reduction of health programs at ConnectCare will go beyond important specialty medical services and will extend to the crucial transportation network that has made it possible for some patients to get treatment at the site at 5535 Delmar Blvd.

Health planners said they will be scrambling to figure out which medical systems can provide specialty care to the more than 10,000 patients being displaced by ConnectCare’s decision. The planners promise to find transportation to alternative facilities.

During a 2010 interview, Norman Seay shared this photo of Jefferson Bank protesters being led to jail. A young William Clay, before he was elected to Congress, is second from left. Seay is the man wearing a hat and is behind the man with a pocket handkerc
Provided by Mr. Seay

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: About two dozen people, some from as far away as New York, California and North Carolina, gathered in the 2300 block of Market Street on Friday afternoon to mark the 50th anniversary of the Jefferson Bank demonstrations. As they took part in the commemorative march, some involved in the original movement offered stories about life in segregated St. Louis half a century ago.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: More than 1,000 lucky newborns in Oklahoma are part of an experiment, coordinated by Washington University, to determine whether a college savings account at birth can change the life of a kid growing up in moderate-to-low income families.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: It looked like a useful federal announcement, the kind that state education officials routinely pass on to local school districts and the public. The item was titled “Affordable Care Act – Back to School Materials.” It announced that the U.S. Department of Education was supporting efforts to inform the public about full implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Government photo

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Dozens of demonstrations have taken place in the nation’s capital over the years, but none matched the symbolism and impact of the one staged 50 years ago this month. Organized by labor leader A. Philip Randolph, the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom drew up to 250,000 people to the Lincoln Memorial.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: A few years ago, Missouri had a surplus of funds for assisting visually impaired people in the state but had difficulty reaching these clients. The state sought the help of the Missouri Association of Area Agencies on Aging, based in Jefferson City.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: An enthusiastic crowd of school officials and alumni showed up Monday morning to greet students on the first day of classes at Normandy High School, but the good mood was overshadowed somewhat by issues in the back of the minds of school officials and parents alike.