Blog Posts By: Mike Sherry

Could Schools Take on More Mental Health Responsibilities?

November 6, 2013

I have heard talk recently about relying more on schools to treat, diagnose and de-stigmatize mental illness. For instance, participants at a recent mental health summit in Kansas City, Mo., suggested several ways districts could help address the mental health needs of youths and young adults. Ideas from the summit included incorporating mental health screenings […]

Disparities Also Reflected in Mental Health Cost Data

October 29, 2013

Though they share a border, Johnson and Wyandotte counties often occupy different ends of the spectrum when it comes to health rankings. Wealthy Johnson County typically outshines its working class neighbor to the north, as is the case with the annual report issued by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population […]

Organizers Seeking Lively Discussion of Mental Health Issues at KC Event

September 17, 2013

Mental illness is no laughing matter, of course, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy talking about it. That’s especially true when you are going to be talking about the subject all day, which is the plan for a conference on tap for Saturday in downtown Kansas City, Mo. Click here for more details about […]

Improving a Region’s Health and Economy ‘One Family at a Time’

September 11, 2013

As an executive with the family telecomm business in La Harpe, Kan., David Lee doesn’t have much contact with recovering addicts or petty criminals. That was the case, at least, until a few months ago. He now spends time in nearby Iola, Kan., with folks who are trying turn to overcome bad choices. They meet […]

Using Story-Telling, Not Statistics to Understand Poverty

September 4, 2013

Dare I Say It, ACA Doesn’t Go Far Enough

August 29, 2013

Just like education and defense, health should be a core function of government. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my share of frustrations dealing with government bureaucracies at the local, state and federal levels. But our patchwork public-private system is a big reason health care in this country is so opaque, confusing, and expensive. Worst […]

It Takes a Village — Its Assets, That Is

August 21, 2013

If you take a broad view of community health, it also encompasses the economic and social well-being of residents. As I learned recently, philanthropic leaders are taking that approach in trying to reinvigorate struggling communities. A key element in this line of attack is retaining family assets within the community for the benefit of future […]

Missouri Coalition for Oral Health Seeking Advocate-in-Chief

August 15, 2013

When President Theodore Roosevelt coined the term, he was thinking more about busting trusts than preventing cavities. But the phrase “bully pulpit” works in the context of dental care, too, at least when it comes to a state’s role in protecting the mouths of its citizens. A state dental director can evangelize — both inside […]

Patients, Doctors Should Work Together to Harness Data from Health Apps

August 7, 2013

Headlines about the national security apparatus have served as a reminder that our digital lives say a lot about who we are as individuals. Some may view this dimly when it involves government workers sifting through cell phone records. But people who study the science of data have coined a new phrase to describe how […]

A Futurist’s Take on Tracking Improvements in the Health System

July 24, 2013

In the end, isn’t the safety net all about helping people lead productive lives? If so, then why measure results with lab tests, such as cheering reduced blood sugar levels in a chronically ill diabetic? Wouldn’t it be better to track how many hard-to-serve patients stay healthy enough to get and maintain jobs? That observation […]

Stop Paying for Procedures, Start Rewarding Outcomes

July 18, 2013

Outside of the fact that both are located in the Kansas City area, it’s hard to imagine two businesses more dissimilar than Cerner Corp. and Truman Medical Centers. The former is an entrepreneurial, international health care IT company founded a little more than 30 years ago. The latter is a two-hospital, urban safety-net system that […]

Advocates for Health Insurance Enrollment Would Do Well to Study Missouri’s Children’s Health Insurance Program

July 10, 2013

One of the more interesting phenomena in the public policy world is something called the “woodwork effect.” This can happen, for instance, when the government expands a program like Medicaid. As agency workers spread the word among newly eligible populations, the campaign can turn up individuals who qualify under the old rules – hence they […]

Health Care Legislation in Missouri Stalled? Think Again

July 3, 2013

It’s easy to assume Missouri has a do-nothing legislature when it comes to health care. The Republican-led General Assembly has dithered on Medicaid expansion, and conservatives’ antipathy toward anything else associated with the federal Affordable Care Act is not exactly a closely guarded secret in Jefferson City. But here’s something that might surprise you: More […]

Advocates Use Baby Steps to De-Stigmatize Mental Illness

June 26, 2013

I wouldn’t make it as a therapist, a lobbyist, or any other professional where patience and an appreciation for incremental change are part of the job description. That dawned on me as I contemplated how different my reaction to a recent piece of news was from the reaction of experts. The topic was Kansas City’s […]

A Domestic Guy’s Guide to Fitness

June 19, 2013

Public health experts have been telling us for years that grunting in the gym or gutting out a marathon are not the only ways to maintain good health. It’s pretty much standard practice nowadays for exercise proponents, such as the President’s Council on Physical Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, to talk in terms of just doing […]

New Data First Step in Demystifying Health Care System

June 13, 2013

Sometimes they are quirky, sometimes they are bereft, and sometimes they are just plain average, but to me, meeting everyday folks is one of the coolest things about being a journalist. I’ve talked with attendees at combined psychic fair/gun-knife shows, and I’ve interviewed tornado victims in front of their splintered homes. Disaster coverage makes for […]

Is Government Gridlock the Real Issue?

June 7, 2013

Conventional wisdom has it that gridlock and partisanship are the twin plagues of politics in America. But the fact of the matter is that, out of the spotlight, government rolls along as unceasingly as the Mighty Mississippi. When it comes to improving the health and well-being of our most vulnerable citizens, this grinding reality has […]

Missouri Governor Loses Medicaid Expansion Fight, Wins with First Steps Funding

May 29, 2013

Shortly after winning a second term in November, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon again hit the campaign trail. As he crisscrossed the state this spring, it seemed as if he was imploring each and every one of his million-plus election supporters to join the crusade to expand Medicaid, as envisioned by the federal Affordable Care Act. […]

When It Comes to Health Reform, There’s a Difference Between More Affordable and Less Expensive

May 23, 2013

Johnson County’s WIC Community Garden First of Its Kind in Kansas

May 15, 2013

We all know that low-income families often don’t have access to healthy foods. We also know that poverty exists in suburbia. Those facts led some Johnson County officials to, uh, plow new ground in Olathe. On Friday, the county christened a community garden for families in WIC — the federal program designed to maintain the […]

Substance Abuse Programs Funded by Liquor Taxes

May 8, 2013

Officials in Johnson County are about to kick off a process that distributes more than a million dollars each year to fight substance abuse within the county’s schools and communities. And, the funding comes courtesy of liquor sales. Since the late 1970s, Kansas has imposed a 10 percent tax on alcoholic drinks sold by clubs, […]

Advocates Present United Front Against KanCare

May 1, 2013

If there’s one thing that has stood out to me in the makeover of the Kansas Medicaid program, it is the doggedness of advocates for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. My observation comes from more than two decades of covering battles like this in communities big and small. The issues have been many, from […]

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