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Take 5 For Your Health

A Quick, Clickable Roundup Of Health News From Our Region For The Third Week Of May

Cerner headquarters in North Kansas City. (File Photo: Elana Gordon | KCUR)
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Cerner Faces Another Lawsuit Over Its Overtime Policy

Another class-action lawsuit alleging Cerner illegally failed to pay employees overtime wages has been filed against the health care technology company.

The latest was filed in federal court in Kansas City on behalf of so-called AMS delivery consultants at Cerner, basically help desk workers who offer technical support and troubleshooting assistance.

The lawsuit says they were expected to work at least 48 hours a week but were not paid overtime. The suit, which was filed by Jonathan Taylor, seeks unspecified damages under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Missouri’s overtime law.

A Cerner representative said the company does not comment on pending litigation. But Cerner has argued elsewhere that the workers in question are “computer professionals” or “administrative employees” who are exempt from overtime requirements under FLSA.

—Dan Margolies is editor of Heartland Health Monitor, a reporting collaboration that includes KCPT, KCUR and KHI News Service, an editorially independent initiative of the Kansas Health Institute.

Ghost Bikes’ Spectral Presence A Reminder Of The Hazards To Cyclists

In early April, dozens of cyclists gathered in a midtown Kansas City grocery store parking lot for a crosstown trek in honor of a fallen friend and fellow rider.

Thirty-two-year-old Anthony Saluto had been killed a few days earlier when a driver heading in the opposite direction swerved into his lane and hit him. Many of the cyclists, including Peter Quick, were still shaken up.

“It’s like losing a family member,” Quick said. “Bicyclists in this town are a pretty tight-knit group. So when something happens to somebody you know, it hits home pretty fast.”

Many advocates see a bright future ahead for cycling in the Kansas City area, as growing numbers of cities build bike lanes and an increasing variety of bike groups have made cycling accessible to more riders.

But plain, white ghost bikes installed at the sites of cyclist traffic deaths serve as a chilling reminder that safety remains a problem for the growing bike community.

—Alex Smith is a reporter for KCUR.

Kansas Bioscience Companies Prepare For State Sale

The beginning of May was a roller coaster of emotions for Innara Health CEO Michael Peck.

The results of a promising trial of his company’s NTrainer product, which helps premature babies learn to nurse, were unveiled April 30 at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in Baltimore.

The next day, the Kansas Legislature approved a bill to allow the sale of the Kansas Bioscience Authority — a quasi-governmental agency that nurtured and still houses Peck’s business — as part of an ongoing attempt to temporarily patch an underwater state budget.

Peck said his company is far enough along that it can weather the sale, but it will cause some hassles. And he sympathizes with KBA’s employees, whom he has enjoyed working with as his company grows.

“The rug has been pulled out from under them,” Peck said. “From our seat it’s not great, that’s for sure. I would rather that we don’t have investors in an impaired situation.”

—Andy Marso is a reporter for KHI News Service.

Selzer: Two More Companies File To Sell Insurance In Kansas Marketplace

Kansas Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer announced Thursday that two companies have filed to sell health insurance plans in Kansas on the individual market, including the federal Affordable Care Act’s online marketplace.

Ken Selzer

Ken Selzer

UnitedHealthcare’s announcement that it would be pulling out of the marketplace in 2017 opened the possibility that Kansans who shop there would be left with only one choice of insurer.

But a spokesman for Selzer’s office said two weeks ago that the commissioner was actively working to attract more companies to the marketplace, which was created as part of the health reform law.

According to a news release from Selzer’s office, Minnesota-based Medica and Aetna subsidiary Coventry Health and Life filed applications to sell individual health plans just a few days later.

—A.M.

From PBS NewsHour

Published on May 14, 2016

As Puerto Rico’s government grapples with an economic crisis, a Zika outbreak and widespread landfill closures, another disaster is brewing — trash on the island. Whenever it rains, several feet of black, contaminated water and trash flood the homes of people living near the Martín Peña Channel. NewsHour’s Ivette Feliciano reports.

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