Tessa Weinberg

Tessa Weinberg

Tessa Weinberg covers education, health care and the legislature. She previously covered the Missouri statehouse for The Kansas City Star and The Columbia Missourian, where her reporting into social media use by the governor prompted an investigation by the Attorney General’s office. She most recently covered state government in Texas for The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Missouri to accept Medicaid expansion applications. Full approval likely weeks away

By: - August 11, 2021

Missourians who qualify for benefits under Medicaid expansion can begin enrolling, but it may take up to two months until they will find out if their eligibility has been verified and their application has been approved. In a news release Wednesday, Gov. Mike Parson announced that in response to a Cole County judge’s ruling, the […]

Protesters at Medicaid expansion rally

Lawmakers say special session likely unneeded to fund Missouri Medicaid expansion

By: - August 11, 2021

Legislative leaders of both parties said Tuesday that a special session is likely not needed to appropriate additional funds following a court order to begin covering Missourians who are eligible under voter-approved Medicaid expansion. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Dan Hegeman, R-Cosby, Senate Minority Leader John Rizzo, D-Independence, and Rep. Peter Merideth, D-St. Louis and ranking […]

Judge orders state to immediately allow Missourians to enroll in expanded Medicaid

By: - August 10, 2021

The Missouri Department of Social Services must allow newly eligible residents that qualify for benefits under voter-approved Medicaid expansion to enroll and cannot impose greater restrictions on them, a Cole County judge ruled Tuesday. Cole County Circuit Court Judge Jon Beetem sided with the plaintiffs who urged him to allow Medicaid expansion to take effect […]

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

Missouri seeks to boost prizes in local vaccine incentive program

By: - August 9, 2021

Prizes awarded through a vaccine incentive program offered by local public health departments in Missouri may get boosted to $100-per-person under a new federal allowance. After previously rejecting Missouri’s proposal to exceed a $25 limit on prizes paid for with federal funding to incentivize immunizations, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reversed course […]

COVID vaccine administered

Less than half of Missouri nursing home staff vaccinated, reviving fear of lockdowns

By: and - August 9, 2021

Many of the staff and residents in Shunda Whitfield’s St. Louis County nursing home were sick before they even realized what was going on.  It was April 2020, and masks weren’t yet standard practice. Little was known about COVID before it swept through nursing homes, and as a certified nursing assistant, Whitfield said she “didn’t […]

State asks judge to delay Missouri Medicaid expansion for two more months

By: - August 6, 2021

The Missouri Supreme Court ruled last month that the state must expand Medicaid as voters approved in 2020. Now it’s just a question of when. On Friday, attorneys representing plaintiffs who would have qualified for coverage urged Cole County Circuit Court Judge Jon Beetem to effectuate what the state’s highest court ordered and prohibit the […]

Missouri agency begins implementation of new law to regulate unlicensed boarding schools

By: - August 6, 2021

Unlicensed youth residential facilities across Missouri are expected to submit materials notifying the state of their existence by mid-October, but background checks for facility staff required under a new law likely won’t be completed by that time. That’s because the Department of Social Services (DSS) is still working to make hires in its background check […]

Sandy Crawford

Missouri lawmaker didn’t turn over emails with boarding schools after records request

By: - August 3, 2021

In 2017, a licensed youth residential facility in Bolivar called Home Court Advantage made headlines when a video surfaced depicting staff allegedly beating a student the year before. It drew the attention of state officials, who had been notified of the video through a report to the Missouri child abuse and neglect hotline. As a […]

Springfield officials: Cancelled request for temporary hospital not sign COVID crisis abated

By: and - July 29, 2021

A request for a temporary hospital was canceled because the state was too slow to act and local providers made emergency accommodations, not because the Delta variant crisis has diminished, the Springfield-Greene County Health Department said Thursday afternoon. Gov. Mike Parson cited a decline in cases in Greene County and surrounding areas when his office […]

Rep. Jered Taylor and Rep. J. Eggleston

House committee to review emails between Missouri lawmakers and Circle of Hope owners

By: - July 27, 2021

A Missouri House committee investigating the state’s response to reports of abuse and neglect at youth residential facilities will be reviewing years of emails between two fellow GOP lawmakers and boarding school operators who are now facing nearly 100 felony charges.   The emails — obtained through an open records request by House Minority Leader Crystal […]

Mary Byrne

Kansas City only Missouri school district reporting it teaches ‘critical race theory’

By: - July 27, 2021

A survey of over 400 Missouri school districts found only Kansas City Public Schools reported that it uses a curriculum that both teaches lessons about critical race theory and includes the 1619 Project. Two other districts reported that they utilize the 1619 Project in their curriculum. The results of the survey, administered by the Department […]

Parson announces vaccine incentive lottery with $10,000 prizes, picks new health director

By: - July 21, 2021

In a bid to increase vaccination rates to combat the Delta variant’s growing spread, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced Wednesday an incentive program that will feature chances to win $10,000 for those who get a shot. Parson was also joined Wednesday by Donald Kauerauf, a former assistant director in the Illinois Department of Public Health, […]