Lauren Weber

Lauren Weber

Lauren Weber, Midwest correspondent for Kaiser Health News, is covering how America’s health system is working — and not working — for patients in that region. Based in St. Louis, her hometown, she tackles everything from rural hospital closures to health system consolidation to state and national reform promises made on the 2020 campaign trail.

Thousands of experts hired to aid public health departments are losing their jobs

By: - November 21, 2022

This story was originally published by Kaiser Health News.  As COVID-19 raged, roughly 4,000 highly skilled epidemiologists, communication specialists, and public health nurses were hired by a nonprofit tied to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to plug the holes at battered public health departments on the front lines. But over the past few […]

Conservative blocs unleash litigation to curb public health powers

By: and - July 18, 2022

This story was originally published by Kaiser Health News.  Through a wave of pandemic-related litigation, a trio of small but mighty conservative legal blocs has rolled back public health authority at the local, state, and federal levels, recasting America’s future battles against infectious diseases. Galvanized by what they’ve characterized as an overreach of COVID-related health […]

Feds want a policy advocates say would let hospitals off the hook for COVID-era lapses

By: - July 8, 2022

This story was originally published by Kaiser Health News.  The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is responding to the chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic by proposing to hide from the public a rating that lets consumers compare hospitals’ safety records and to waive approximately $350 million in financial penalties for roughly 750 hospitals with the worst patient-safety […]

States have yet to spend hundreds of millions of federal dollars to tackle COVID health disparities

By: , and - May 17, 2022

This story was originally published by Kaiser Health News.  The Biden administration in March 2021 announced it was investing $2.25 billion to address COVID health disparities, the largest federal funding initiative designed specifically to help underserved communities hardest hit by the virus. Two months later, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awarded grants to […]

Legislature’s rejection of Missouri governor’s health director shows extent of national rift

By: - February 8, 2022

This story was first published by Kaiser Health News.  Republican Missouri state Sen. Mike Moon believes that COVID-19 vaccinations, especially among children, should cease until the long-term effects are known. He points to the research of sources of COVID misinformation like America’s Frontline Doctors and Dr. Robert Malone, a guest on Joe Rogan’s podcast. He […]

Lack of vaccine mandate becomes competitive advantage in hospital staffing wars

By: - August 31, 2021

This story was originally published by Kaiser Health News. In the rural northeastern corner of Missouri, Scotland County Hospital has been so low on staff that it sometimes had to turn away patients amid a surge in COVID-19 cases. The national COVID staffing crunch means CEO Dr. Randy Tobler has hired more travel nurses to […]

More than 100 Missouri schools have bought ‘often unproven’ air-cleaning technology

By: and - June 18, 2021

This story was originally published as a collaboration between Kaiser Health News and St. Louis Public Radio. When the coronavirus pandemic hit, Scott Dulle scoured the internet for ways to safely get kids back into St. Thomas More School, a private pre-K-8 school in Kansas City, Missouri, where he works as the director of building […]

Stark racial disparities persist in vaccinations, state-level CDC data shows

By: , and - May 20, 2021

This story was originally published by Kaiser Health News. Black Americans’ COVID-19 vaccination rates are still lagging months into the nation’s campaign, while Hispanics are closing the gap and Native Americans show the highest rates overall, according to federal data obtained by KHN. The data, provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in […]

Syringes of COVID-19 vaccinations are filled during MU Health Care’s vaccination clinic

How Missouri’s public health defunding led to vaccination chaos

By: - March 26, 2021

Missourians have driven hours to find vaccines in rural counties — at least those with cars and the time. Tens of thousands of doses are waiting to be distributed, slowly being rolled out in a federal long-term care program. Waitlists are hundreds of thousands of people long. Black residents are getting left behind. Missouri’s rocky […]

The University of Missouri-Columbia's iconic columns, remains of the school's first building, stand in front of Jesse Hall, which houses administrative offices. (University of Missouri photo)

University of Missouri settles lawsuits over knee surgeries involving veterinarian

By: - March 12, 2021

The University of Missouri has settled a collection of personal injury and false advertising claims over knee surgeries for $16.2 million, in what appears to be one of its largest public payouts in recent years. The 22 plaintiffs, a handful of whom were minors, filed suits from 2018 through 2020 over “BioJoint” surgeries pioneered by […]

Why state mask stockpiling orders are hurting nursing homes, small providers

By: - October 30, 2020

Nursing homes, small physician offices and rural clinics are being left behind in the rush for N95 masks and other protective gear, exposing some of the country’s most vulnerable populations and their caregivers to COVID-19 while larger, wealthier health care facilities build equipment stockpiles. Take Rhonda Bergeron, who owns three health clinics in rural southern […]