Missouri Minute: MLB set to return; UMKC expanding med school to St. Joseph

Good morning, MBA readers,

To address an acute shortage of primary care providers in rural Missouri, the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine is expanding its program to St. Joseph, which will allow the school to add 20 students per year. Dr. Mary Anne Jackson, dean of the medical school, said students that train in rural programs are three times more likely to eventually practice in those areas. “The disparities in care in rural areas result in higher rates of death, disability and chronic disease for rural Americans,” Jackson said. “Expansion of our medical school to the northwestern region of our state will serve to bridge this gap.” The announcement came within days of news that University of Missouri Health Care, based in Columbia, will open a health clinic in Boonville. The mid-Missouri community has faced a health care void since January, when Pinnacle Regional Hospital closed. Both St. Joseph and Boonville represent an effort by the University of Missouri System’s health care entities to improve coverage of the state’s rural areas. Said MU Health Care’s Dr. Michael LeFevre: “The new Boonville family medicine clinic supports MU Health Care’s mission to maintain local access to quality health care.”

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Royals, Cardinals to return as MLB reaches deal
After months of contentious negotiations, Major League Baseball’s owners and players have reached agreement over a 60-game season set to start in late July. The shortened season will be played in empty stadiums, among other big alterations. (Associated Press)

UMKC expanding med school to St. Joseph to address rural doctor shortage
The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine will expand its operations, allowing for 80 students to attend school in St. Joseph over four years. The move is made possible by $7 million federal grant. (KCUR)

St. Louis leaders release roadmap for geospatial industry
Business and civic leaders in the area unveiled their plan for making St. Louis a destination for location data firms, building off the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s new western headquarters. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

USDA to move 1,000-employee office within St. Louis
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is leaving north St. Louis for a downtown location, where it will occupy about 165,000 square feet. The move was prompted last year after a government audit found high levels of cancer-causing hazards in the old facility. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Cerner to cut 50 Kansas City-area jobs
The health care IT company will shed 50 jobs in the area, and 100 total, in its third round of layoffs since September. Cerner cut 255 employees in September and 130 in November. However, the company expects to hire 5,000 new employees by the end of the year amid a “transformation.” (Kansas City Star)

Creative Planning acquires KC-area firm, adds $700 million in assets
The Overland Park, Kansas-based wealth management firm acquired Sunrise Advisors for an undisclosed amount. It’s the seventh acquisition by Creative Planning since the start of 2019. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Blunt, Reed sued for violating free speech 
U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt and St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed are being sued for allegedly violating the First Amendment by blocking social media users or hiding their comments. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Washington University law school’s First Amendment clinic filed the suits. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

St. Louis biotech startup chosen for Illumina Accelerator
Pluton Biosciences, founded in 2017, is one of seven companies selected for the accelerator specializing in genomics startups. The company has developed a process called micromining that is designed to allow inexpensive examination of microorganisms to facilitate development of natural products for agriculture and pest control. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Former CEO of Planned Parenthood’s Missouri region steps down over abuse claims
Laura McQuade, who moved from CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains to be CEO of the organization’s New York region, has left her role after open letters signed by hundreds of current and former employees accused her of abuse, financial mismanagement and racism. (Kansas City Star)

COVID-19 virtual telethon inspires new business
Columbia entrepreneur Sean Spence helped raise more than $32,000 for the Community Foundation of Central Missouri’s COVID-19 Regional Relief Fund, far surpassing his goal of $5,000. The success has prompted him to start Armchair Telethon, a company that will help clients set up virtual telethons. (Columbia Missourian)

Say that again

“A reasonable inference from all this evidence is that, motivated by profits, Defendants disregarded the safety of consumers despite their knowledge the talc in their products caused ovarian cancer.”

That’s part of a decision regarding defendant Johnson & Johnson handed down Tuesday by the Eastern District Missouri Court of Appeals. The court rejected an attempt by the consumer products company to throw out a 2018 ruling in favor of 22 plaintiffs who claimed the company’s talcum powder caused ovarian cancer, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports. However, the court reduced the verdict to $2.1 billion from the $4.69 billion originally awarded by a St. Louis jury. The amount was reduced because not all the plaintiffs were from Missouri — about five of 22 are or were before their death. Though the company publicly denies that the powder contains cancer-causing asbestos, it faces more than 19,000 lawsuits alleging its products have caused cancer.

Go figure


That’s the percentage of schools with 200 or fewer students that offer Advanced Placement, or AP, classes, according to a study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. By contrast, schools with 1,000 or more students offer AP classes 95% of the time. That disparity has financial ramifications: Students coming to college from rural and smaller schools tend to step on campus having accrued fewer credits in high school than their counterparts from larger high schools. That can add up to extra credit hours required — and dollars spent — for students from schools with fewer AP courses.

Send tweet

That was the first of two tweets posted Tuesday by the KC Tech Council, an industry group that advocates for technology companies in the Kansas City area. The council was responding to the executive order President Donald Trump signed that temporarily suspends the issuance of several types of work visas, including the H1-B and H-4 visas used by immigrant technology workers. Trump said such visas “pose an unusual threat to the employment of American workers” in a labor market hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Tech companies and industry groups across the U.S. have pushed back against Trump. In a letter to KC Tech Council members, Ryan Weber, the group’s president and CEO, said the policy “will have a negative impact on our economy and the tech industry, which is a vital industry leading the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.”

Hello, my name is


That’s the name of an Overland Park, Kansas-based startup that’s aiming to shake up the food delivery industry, the Kansas City Business Journal reports. KnockKnockKC, a subsidiary of IT staffing company InnovaMatch, was started by James Bates and seeks to solve challenges restaurant owners face with third-party delivery services. The company helps screen delivery drivers, who are then trained by the restaurants themselves. A delivery driver only works for one restaurant brand during each shift and is required to wear the restaurant’s uniform. The startup has partnered with Kansas City’s Red Door Woodfired Grill, which had wanted to offer delivery from its four locations but had avoided partnering with national delivery services.

It’s been a pleasure doing business with you this morning.


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