Department of Health and Senior Services

Stark disparities persist in Missouri’s maternal mortality rate, state board finds

BY: - August 2, 2022

A multi-year report analyzing maternal mortality in Missouri and published Monday found that women on Medicaid are eight times more likely to die within one year of pregnancy than their counterparts with private health insurance. It also found Black women in Missouri were three times more likely to die within a year of pregnancy than […]

Missouri health agency appeals ruling requiring it to pay Planned Parenthood legal fees

BY: - May 27, 2022

Missouri’s health department is appealing a Cole County judge’s ruling that put the state on the hook to pay at least $170,000 in Planned Parenthood’s legal fees. The state intends to argue to the Missouri Court of Appeals in the Western District that Cole County Circuit Court Judge Jon Beetem erred by awarding attorney’s fees […]

Judge orders Missouri DHSS to pay Planned Parenthood’s legal fees in license dispute

BY: - April 25, 2022

A Cole County judge denied the state health department’s attempt to relitigate a case stemming from a 2019 licensing dispute with Missouri’s lone abortion provider and ordered Missouri to pay Planned Parenthood’s legal fees. In a ruling Friday afternoon, Cole County Circuit Court Judge Jon Beetem affirmed an administrative court’s ruling that the state must […]

Missouri governor declares end to ‘COVID-19 crisis,’ state will treat virus as endemic

BY: and - March 30, 2022

Missouri will officially transition from treating COVID-19 as a public health crisis to treating it as endemic, much like the seasonal flu, Gov. Mike Parson announced Wednesday.  That shift will be complete on April 1, Parson said. The change, which was first reported by the Documenting COVID-19 project and The Independent in February, comes as […]

Missouri launches cancer study after ProPublica identifies toxic air pollution hot spot

BY: - March 26, 2022

This story was originally published by ProPublica. After learning from a ProPublica analysis that his southwest Missouri city is a hot spot of toxic air pollution, Verona Mayor Joseph Heck demanded that government officials look into the local cancer rate. Three months later, the state health department confirmed his fears: The rate of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma […]

Missouri argues it shouldn’t pay Planned Parenthood’s legal fees in licensing dispute

BY: - March 9, 2022

Its effort to deny Planned Parenthood a license to perform abortions in Missouri was unsuccessful, but the state health department argued Tuesday in court that it still shouldn’t have to pay the clinic’s legal fees.  An administrative hearing commission ruled in May 2020 that the state wrongly denied Planned Parenthood’s St. Louis clinic, the state’s […]

Gov. Mike Parson, Paula Nickelson

Missouri governor picks new acting health director after ouster of his original choice

BY: - March 1, 2022

Gov. Mike Parson announced Tuesday that Missouri health department veteran Paula Nickelson will be the agency’s new acting director, after his original pick for the job was ousted by conservative lawmakers and Missourians opposed to mandates. Nickelson, a longtime Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services employee, will assume the role of acting health director […]

Missouri spent $25 million to aid hospitals. Contract marked by no-shows, high costs

BY: and - February 28, 2022

SLSCO, a Texas-based construction company, made lofty promises to Missouri’s state health department over the summer that, if hired, it could immediately send hundreds of healthcare workers to aid struggling hospitals. As evidence, the company pointed to filling a request within 36 hours for 200 intensive care unit nurses and staff in California, and indicated […]

Missouri state health agency seeks control of Title X funds that go to Planned Parenthood

BY: - February 17, 2022

Missouri’s state health department has applied to oversee federal family planning funds, a move reproductive health advocates fear would give the state power to cut off funding for providers who refer patients for abortion services. During his confirmation hearing late last month, former Department of Health and Senior Services Director Donald Kauerauf’s testimony focused on […]

Missouri plotting official ‘end’ to COVID-19 pandemic as soon as March, document says

BY: and - February 16, 2022

The state of Missouri is planning an official end to the COVID-19 pandemic as a public health crisis and will transition to treating the virus as endemic, much like it does the seasonal flu. The target date for when Missouri’s public health agencies would begin treating COVID-19 as endemic is mid-March, the two-year anniversary of […]

Missouri Supreme Court: Medical marijuana application info must be disclosed in appeals

BY: - February 8, 2022

In a unanimous decision Tuesday, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that a lower court was justified in ordering the state health department to disclose medical marijuana application info that it had argued was confidential. The Department of Health and Senior Services refused to provide applications of businesses who were awarded licenses to grow and sell […]

Donald Kauerauf

Anti-vaccine protesters rally against Senate confirmation of Missouri health director

BY: - January 31, 2022

State health director Donald Kauerauf adamantly spoke against mandating face masks and COVID-19 vaccines during a hearing Monday, as anti-vaccination demonstrators protested his confirmation in the halls outside. While protesters chanted outside the Capitol hearing room, senators inside grilled Kauerauf for nearly two hours on his views on how best to mitigate the spread of […]