Missouri Minute: Parson announces rural broadband investment; Cerner hires new CEO

Hello MBA readers,

Missouri is channeling a portion of the billions of dollars in federal pandemic aid it has received into improving internet access in the state. Gov. Mike Parson on Thursday announced plans for a $400 million investment into rural broadband and the infrastructure required to deliver it. About 147,000 Missouri households don’t have access to high-speed internet, and most of them are in rural areas. Meanwhile, the governor also announced a plan that would allow some state employees to work remotely on a more permanent basis. The news comes as COVID-19 surges in the state, and just three months after state employees were all called back to in-person work. And, in the Kansas City area, one of the state’s largest companies has announced its new chief executive. Health care information technology company Cerner has selected Dr. David Feinberg, a former Google Heath vice president, to be its new leader.


Stay alert

Governor announces rural broadband investment
The plan would use $400 million in federal pandemic relief funds to boost access to high-speed internet. (Associated Press)

Judge bars St. Louis County from enforcing mask mandate; KC extends its order
A St. Louis County judge issued a preliminary injunction barring enforcement of a mask mandate there. In Kansas City, officials approved the extension of a local mandate to Sept. 23. (St. Louis Business JournalKansas City Star)

Kansas City Southern sets new date for merger vote
A delayed shareholder vote concerning the Kansas City-based railroad’s sale to Canadian National Railway will happen Sept. 3. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Missouri eyes remote work for some state employees
As three state-run facilities were closed to the public this week because of COVID-19, the governor is reviewing a plan to allow a more permanent remote arrangement for some employees. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Mercy to raise minimum wage 
The Chesterfield-based hospital system will boost its wage floor to $15 an hour, affecting an estimated 6,000 employees. (KSDK)

Balto raises $37.5 million
The St. Louis-based startup plans to use the funds to continue developing its coaching software for call centers. New York venture capital firm Stripes led the Series B round, and Cultivation Capital of St. Louis also participated. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Biden mandates nursing homes require COVID vaccine
Facilities not in compliance could lose Medicare or Medicaid funds. Some worry the mandate will drive away workers from Missouri facilities, where less than 47% of workers are vaccinated. (Missouri Independent)

MidxMidwst festival canceled again
The debut of the Springfield’s mural art and culture festival will be delayed another year, with the event rescheduled for September 2022. (Springfield Business Journal)


Say that again

“It’s like a two-edged sword. In one way, it has helped us to keep the units occupied, and another way, it has decreased our revenue.”

That’s Pamela Harris, executive director for the North Newstead Association, speaking about the effects pandemic eviction moratoriums are having on landlords, St. Louis Public Radio reports. While having units occupied relieves landlords from the need to hire additional security to monitor the properties, it becomes disadvantageous when the tenants do not pay the rent. Some landlords have been forced to take out loans to stay afloat while the moratorium is in place. Even when the moratorium is lifted and evictions can proceed once again, it will not instantly provide increased revenue for landlords.


Go figure

13%

About 13% of people who live along the New Madrid fault line carry earthquake insurance, according to the Missouri Department of Commerce & Insurance. In 2000, that number was 60%. Earthquake insurance has risen in price by about 720% over the last 20 years. That lack of insurance puts homeowners along the fault line at financial risk. “There is no coverage in the standard policy for certain items like flooding and earthquakes, and I think there is a big education piece that needs to happen so people can understand what they have coverage for,” said Jo LeDuc of the Department of Commerce & Insurance.


Hello, my name is

David Feinberg

Cerner, the North Kansas City-based health care IT company, has announced that Dr. David Feinberg will become its new chief executive. Feinberg, 59, is a medical doctor who most recently worked as vice president of Google Health, The Kansas City Star reports. He replaces Brent Shafer, who has led the company since 2018, when he became the first outsider to serve as CEO. Feinberg will receive a sign-on package valued at about $33 million. Some observers believe Cerner’s selection of a former Googler may signal plans for future partnerships with the technology giant.


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


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