A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Comment period for Kentucky HEALTH Medicaid beneficiary work mandate ends midnight Saturday

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service Time is short for Kentuckians to weigh in on the state’s request to mandate work requirements for Medicaid beneficiaries. The deadline for a federal comment period on the Kentucky HEALTH plan is Saturday at midnight. Under the proposed waiver, Medicaid expansion beneficiaries would need to meet an 80-hour-per-month work requirement in order to continue receiving...

New list provides resources for Kentuckians looking to quit smoking; low-cost NRT products available

Kentuckians who want to quit smoking have at least two dozen sources for free and low-cost nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products, such as patches, gums, lozenges and sprays, according to a list made available by the Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow and developed by the Kentucky Cancer Consortium and the Kentucky Department for Public Health. NRT products are medications that help reduce nicotine...

Northern Kentucky joins statewide Hepatitis A outbreak, Newport Syndicate food handler diagnosed

A case of hepatitis A that has been diagnosed in an employee who handled food at the Newport Syndicate (18 East 5th Street, Newport). An investigation found that this employee worked for a period of time when he/she was ill or infectious, which included the dates of July 25 through Aug. 11, 2018. While it is relatively uncommon for restaurant patrons to become infected with the hepatitis A virus due...

Baptist Health has two of Kentucky’s top three hospitals, according to U.S. News & World Report

Baptist Health has two of Kentucky’s top three hospitals — Baptist Health Lexington, ranked second, and Baptist Health Louisville, ranked third — in the 2018-19 U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals rankings. Baptist Health Louisville was also named No. 1 in Metro Louisville – the sixth time in seven years that it has been either No. 1 or tied for that ranking. Both hospitals are listed...

Albert B. Chandler Hospital ranked No. 1 in Kentucky; four adult specialties ranked in nation’s top 50

UK HealthCare’s University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler Hospital remains the No. 1 hospital in Kentucky and the Bluegrass Region for the third consecutive year, according to the 2018 U.S. News and World Report Best Hospitals Rankings. In addition, four major health care areas have achieved Top 50 national rankings. UK HealthCare national rankings include 33rd in Diabetes and Endocrinology, 38th...

Study shows secondhand smoke linked to school absence, ER visits and respiratory issues in teens

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News It’s long been established that exposure to secondhand smoke is harmful to babies and young children. Now a study shows that it’s bad for teenagers, too. The University of Cincinnati study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Pediatrics, analyzed data from 7,389 non-smoking teens aged 12-17 who did not have asthma and had completed the 2017 Population...

UK’s Markey Cancer Center earns renewal of prestigious National Cancer Institute designation

The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center announced today that the National Cancer Institute (NCI) renewed its national cancer center designation for the next five years. The UK Markey Cancer Center remains one of only 70 NCI-designated centers in the country and the only one in Kentucky.   “UK was founded for the people of Kentucky, and still today, they turn to us. Five years ago, we stood...

UK researchers track genetic trail of ALS; one form found most common around Cumberland Gap

Two University of Kentucky researchers are on the genetic trail of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Their detective story has not reached its end, but it is told in fascinating fashion by Eric Boodman of Stat, the medicine-and-science publication of The Boston Globe. The story is based around the Cumberland Gap, where Kentucky meets Tennessee and Virginia....

Kentucky making strides in treating hepatitis C with harm-reduction programs, fewer treatment limits

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Eliminating hepatitis C in Kentucky and the rest of the nation will require universal screening and non-restricted access to treatment, and because new cases of the disease are largely driven by intravenous drug use, states must also commit to increasing harm-reduction programs like syringe exchanges and medication-assisted therapies. Those were the overarching...

Frontier Nursing University accredited for master of science in nursing, post-graduate certificates

The Board of Commissioners of the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) has granted continued accreditation to Frontier Nursing University (FNU) for its master of science in nursing and post-graduate certificate nursing programs. ACEN also affirmed continuing accreditation of FNU’s newly implemented psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner specialty track. ACEN is the leading...

Kentucky implements new immunization requirements for students in upcoming school year

As students prepare to head back to school this month, the Kentucky Department for Public Health is reminding parents and caregivers to make sure children and teens are up-to-date on their vaccines. Kentucky’s vaccine requirements for school entry, which is modeled after Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, include new requirements for Hepatitis A and Meningococcal vaccines. “We encourage...

Preparing for back-to-school means school supplies — and wellness exams to be sure kids are ready

As a new school year approaches, KentuckyOne Health reminds parents with students of all ages to prepare early to help children ease back into a routine. A new school year can be overwhelming for the whole family. From purchasing school supplies and scheduling wellness exams to reducing a child’s anxiety and making sure they are getting adequate sleep, parents have a lot to juggle. Immunization Protects...

New HUD rules give public housing residents protection from secondhand smoke

Federal Public Housing residents in Kentucky gained further protections from the dangers of secondhand smoke Monday, as new smoke-free housing rules from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) tooke effect. In November 2016, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced a rule requiring all federally-owned public housing to become smoke-free by July 30. This...

Study says youth likely to start smoking after they turn 18, not before; calls for more prevention efforts

The celebration in recent years about lower smoking rates among teenagers could end up being all for naught, as a new study shows that more people are likely to now start smoking after they turn 18, not before. The study at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston looked at data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2006 to 2013. It found that the start of cigarette smoking...

New University of Kentucky Center for Health Equity Transformation addresses state’s health disparities

At the University of Kentucky, understanding and addressing the health needs of the people of the Commonwealth is the goal of many faculty, staff, clinicians and researchers. As a step toward improving health equity, the University of Kentucky Center for Health Equity Transformation (CHET) was established and recently approved by the UK Board of Trustees. Nancy Schoenberg and Carrie Oser (Photo from...

Rural Blog: Nine Kentucky counties among 42 ‘bright spots’ identified by Appalachian health researchers

Appalachia’s major problems include poor health, but in the 420-county region there are counties that have better health than you might expect, given their socioeconomic status. The Appalachian Regional Commission issued a study Tuesday that points out 42 “bright spots,” 10 of them with case studies, that may suggest strategies for others in the region. This map spotlights the 10...

Kentucky’s Hepatitis outbreak worst in nation, but fading in Louisville, the ‘gold standard’ for response

Kentucky’s hepatitis A outbreak is now the biggest outbreak in the United States. As of July 7, the outbreak had struck 65 of Kentucky’s 120 counties with 1,094 hepatitis A cases and eight deaths. But federal officials say Louisville is a national example for how to respond to an outbreak, reports Phillip M. Bailey of the Courier Journal. As of July 17, Louisville had 540 cases and four deaths....

Guide to Bug Repellents can help you fend off disease-carrying ticks, mosquitoes as diseases rise

A number of factors should come into play when you’re choosing a bug repellent: what part of the country you live in, where you plan to travel, whether you’re pregnant and whether you are planning to use the product on children. Environmental Working Group‘s 2018 Guide to Bug Repellents can help you find the right product for yourself and your family. No repellent works every place against...

Pew Trusts: Public Health officials say commonly prescribed drugs could be next drug epidemic

By Christine Vestal Pew Charitable Trusts The growing use of anti-anxiety pills reminds some doctors of the early days of the opioid crisis. Clonazepam (traded as Klonopin), diazepam (Valium) and alprazolam (Xanax) are among the most sold drugs in a class of widely prescribed anti-anxiety medications known as benzodiazepines. Public health officials warn the pills should be used only in the short...

Lexington workshop will teach senior citizens low-cost ways to prevent falls within their homes

Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for senior adults in the United States. To help reduce this number in Fayette County, Lexington is joining with the Friends of the Lexington Senior Center to host a “Building Independence” workshop to teach seniors low-cost ways to improve safety within their homes. The workshop will be held on July 26 from 9:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. at...