Kaiser Health News covers health care in the Midwest out of our bureau in St. Louis.

Pandemic Funding Is Running Out for Community Health Workers

Illinois used federal pandemic money to hire community health workers who connect people with food banks and rental assistance programs, just like public health officials have long hoped to do. What will happen to the community trust that has been built up when the federal money runs out and the workers disappear?

Missouri Takes Months to Process Medicaid Applications — Longer Than Law Allows

Missouri has more people waiting to have their Medicaid applications processed than it has approved since the expansion of the federal-state health insurance program. Although most states process Medicaid applications within a week, Missouri is taking, on average, more than two months. Patient advocates fear that means people will stay uninsured longer, leading them to postpone care or get stuck with high medical bills.

Missouri’s War on Public Health Shows Extent of National Rift

A public health official who said he was anti-abortion and anti-mandate for masks and covid vaccines did not pass the purity test of a Missouri senator who opposes covid public health restrictions. The senator killed the official’s nomination to be state health director, highlighting how hands may be tied in the nationwide fight against infectious diseases.

Missouri state Sen. Mike Moon speaks in his office.

Faxes and Snail Mail: Will Pandemic-Era Flaws Unleash Improved Health Technology?

The covid-19 pandemic exposed how state and local governments’ severely outdated technology can hinder unemployment benefits, food stamps, Medicaid, vaccine registrations, and the flow of other critical information. Now, with hefty federal pandemic relief and unexpected tax windfalls, states may finally have the chance to revamp their information technology for health care and social services. But can they?