Given the intricacies of individual insurance plans, co-pays and hospitals' calculations to determine how much to charge for care, it is no simple feat to figure out how much your health care costs. Shopping around for around for the best price in town? Even harder. But a new set of data released Wednesday by the Missouri Hospital Association might make that process a little bit easier.  

Mary Edwards

Reporters Durrie Bouscaren and Camille Phillips have covered a wide variety of issues in the region in the last year. They joined host Don Marsh to discuss the most problematic ones and agreed the two most pressing issues are homicides and heroin addiction. To date there have been 187 homicides in St. Louis but few arrests. | Flickr

Missouri hospitals have seen a drastic increase in prescription painkiller abuse over the past decade. According to a study from the Missouri Hospital Association, the rate of hospitalization due to the abuse of prescription opioids has increased by 137 percent since 2005.

The numbers localize a problem usually shown through national statistics. For instance, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 44 people die every day in the United States from prescription painkiller overdoses.

(via Flickr/Jennifer Boriss)

Financial disclosures aren’t just for political candidates. New data released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services shows that Missouri doctors received at least $71.9 million from medical device and drug companies in 2014 and the latter half of 2013. Illinois doctors pulled in $104 million during that same time period, many of whom hail from the Chicago area.  

A view of Saint Louis University Hospital, taken 02/23/15.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Saint Louis University Hospital will soon come under the ownership of SSM Health, one of the largest not-for-profit Catholic health care systems in the country.  

Connie Chapman, who worked at the Sac-Osage Hospital in Osceola, Mo.,for 40 years, looks over a nearly empty room in the hospital.
Todd Feeback|Heartland Health Monitor

Chris Smiley spent most of Tuesday moving the last of the boxes out of Sac Osage Hospital in rural Osceola, MO. In the months after the small town’s only hospital closed for good, the facility’s CEO has been selling off supplies and making arrangements to transition her patients’ care to other places. The building itself is set to be demolished.

“We arranged to have another facility take over our clinic,” Smiley said. “There will be ambulance service in the community. There’s a heli-pad that will be maintained by the ambulance bay.”

President and CEO, Maryann Reese, stands in front of St. Elizabeth's Hospital in downtown Belleville, IL. The current building was completed in 1954.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

An eight member board of an Illinois health services regulatory agency voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve St. Elizabeth's Hospital's plans to relocate from Belleville to O'Fallon. 

The Illinois Health and Facilities Review Board initially denied the hospital's request in January, but procedures allowed the hospital to submit additional data in an attempt to sway their decision.

Developer Paul McKee outlined his plans for an urgent care hospital at 25th St. and Maiden Ln. in July of last year.
Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

Developer Paul McKee is asking the state of Missouri for permission to relocate a proposed urgent care facility to the former Pruitt-Igoe site in north St. Louis.

President and CEO, Maryann Reese, stands in front of St. Elizabeth's Hospital in downtown Belleville, IL. The current building was completed in 1954.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Update 12/16/14: St. Elizabeth's Hospital has asked the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board to delay their planned vote over the hospital's move because not all board members will not be present at their December 16 meeting. The board's next meeting is January 27, 2015.


To date, Missouri has failed to expand its Medicaid program as part of the Affordable Care Act, aka "Obamacare." As a result, federal dollars that would normally flow to underserved areas are being transferred to states that have expanded their programs. This loss of funding has major implications for health care in our state especially for those in areas of poverty and who are underserved. One particularly susceptible area is rural Missouri.

Sac-Osage Hospital in Osceola is a telling example.

A.D.A.M via the National Institutes of Health

Researchers at Washington University have developed a new vaccine to prevent urinary tract infections caused by catheters. This type of infection is the most common of all infections that patients can get during a hospital stay.

The vaccine is still in its very early stages and has only been tested on mice.

Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis
courtesy of Barnes Jewish Hospital

A health industry report published Thursday suggests federal programs that tie hospital quality scores to Medicare reimbursements are giving St. Louis hospitals a reason to improve.

Seventeen St. Louis area hospitals received bonus payments this year from Medicare thanks to programs in the Affordable Care Act that reward hospitals for providing a high quality of care. At the same  time, 25 were penalized for low scores, high readmission rates or failing to improve between 2011 and 2012.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Pemiscot Memorial Hospital, in Hayti, Mo., is on the equivalent of life support, unsure how long it will survive without an infusion of more federal Medicare and Medicaid dollars.

When it comes to health care, the biggest of the big data are all about Medicare.

So, it's kind of a BIG deal when the government releases what individual hospitals charge Medicare — and what they actually get paid — for the most common diagnoses and treatments.

In a first, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services made those figures from more than 3,000 hospitals public Wednesday.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

St. Louis Police debate workplace representation

Next month, St. Louis City police sergeants are set to decide who will represent their interests at work, and the St. Louis Police Officers Association says it is the best option on the table.

At a meeting last night, members of the St. Louis Police Officers Association made their case to sergeants.To punctuate their point they brought in Chuck Canterbury, the National President of the Fraternal Order of Police.

(Illinois Department of Health)

For the first time, the Illinois Department of Health is making information about surgical infections in Illinois hospitals available to the public.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Updated 3:40 p.m. with a statement from Sen. McCaskill, additional information from the VA:

Sen. Claire McCaskill echoed Cong. Carnahan's sentiment in her statement:

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has been treated and released from a hospital after being involved in a traffic accident.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol says Nixon was a passenger in a Chevrolet Suburban driven by a patrol trooper that was rear-ended Friday morning in a three-vehicle accident. The crash occurred on U.S. Highway 50 in Jefferson City, just a few blocks south of the Capitol.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

Updated at 8:36pm with response from John Cochran officials.

The troubled John Cochran veteran's hospital is under fire again, this time for allegedly failing to keep critical supplies stocked on a timely basis.