Report finds Kentucky spends just 4.6 percent of 1998 settlement funds on tobacco prevention

“Broken Promises to Our Children: A State-by-State Look at the 1998 Tobacco Settlement 19 Years Later,” released Tuesday, finds that states continue to spend only a small percentage of the revenues from the 1998 settlement and tobacco taxes to reduce tobacco use. According to the authors, no state currently funds tobacco prevention and cessation programs at the CDC-recommended level. Kentucky...

Open enrollment for healthcare.gov ends Friday; automatic re-enrollment may not be best option

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News You have just a few days to enroll in a 2018 health-insurance plan on healthcare.gov. Open enrollment under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ends Friday, Dec. 15. “The clock is ticking,” Whitney Allen, the outreach and enrollment coordinator for the Kentucky Primary Care Association, said in an e-mail. ” We encourage anyone that...

Flu, pneumonia are 8th largest U.S. cause of death; officials urge all over six months to get flu shot

Flu season is here and will last through February or longer, prompting state health officials to encourage Kentuckians to get their flu vaccinations. “During the holidays families and friends will gather, which increases the potential for exposure to the flu virus,” Dr. Jeffrey Howard, the state’s acting health commissioner, said in a news release. “We urge everyone who hasn’t...

UK pediatric psychologist develops Cellie Coping Kit to help sick kids manage the stress of treatment

By Hilary Brown Special to KyForward Treatment for any serious medical condition can be daunting for even the most intrepid adults. But for children who deal with serious illness, the lack of understanding about what is happening to them coupled with fear and anxiety, can make it difficult for them to cope with their treatment. Dr. Meghan Marsac, pediatric psychologist and assistant professor in the...

Coalition for a Smoke-Free Kentucky releases Infographic illustrating high cost of smoking

Kentucky spends $1.92 billion every year on health care costs related to smoking, according to a new infographic released by the Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow. The infographic makes the case for raising the state’s current tax on cigarettes by at least $1 per pack, which would raise $266.2 million a year in revenue that the Commonwealth could use for health care, pensions or other needs. Created...

KAEPS urging shoppers to consider eye safety when shopping for toys this holiday sesason

With the holiday shopping season now in full swing, the Kentucky Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons (KAEPS) joins the American Academy of Ophthalmology in reminding the public of certain safety guidelines when choosing the perfect gifts for little ones in their lives. A number of recent studies have shown that some popular toy types are commonly associated with childhood eye injuries. These include...

52 Weeks of Public Health: Encouraging Kyians to get flu shots during National Influenza Vaccination Week

Officials with the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) are encouraging Kentuckians to get a flu vaccination during National Influenza Vaccination Week, Dec. 3-9, to reduce the spread of illness this holiday season. “Getting a flu vaccine is an early holiday gift you can give to yourself and your family,” said Jeffrey Howard, M.D., acting commissioner of DPH. “During the holidays...

Even if automatically re-enrolled, check out your healthcare options; open enrollment ends Dec. 15

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News This is the first year that more than 80,000 Kentuckians with a 2017 health insurance plan on the federal exchange will be automatically re-enrolled in a 2018 marketplace plan. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t check out other options before open enrollment ends Dec. 15. “People should not automatically assume that they are going to get re-enrolled...

The Opioid Files: More than 100 states and cities are suing drug companies for role in epidemic

By Mattie Quinn Governing Magazine A few years ago, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood was worried about a friend’s son who served two tours in Iraq. After being injured overseas, he became dependent on prescription painkillers and eventually developed a heroin addiction. But then, his friend’s son got into law school and showed signs of sobriety, so Hood offered him an internship in his...

UK Dietetics and Human Nutrition students help to create a healthier world one recipe at a time

By Carley Fort Special to KyForward Recently, students in a University of Kentucky Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition class got the chance to create healthier recipes and serve them to panelists that included some Kentucky celebrities. Taught by UK lecturer Jessica Houlihan, students in the experimental foods class receive hands-on application of food modification and its impacts. For their...

University of Kentucky study shows lower lung cancer rates in cities with tougher smoke-free laws

A recent study by University of Kentucky BREATHE (Bridging Research Efforts and Advocacy Toward Healthy Environments) researchers shows that fewer new cases of lung cancer were found in communities with strong smoke-free workplace laws. The study, “Lung Cancer Incidence and the Strength of Municipal Smoke-free Ordinances” was published in Cancer, an American Cancer Society journal dedicated...

Many Kentuckians with Obamacare plans received premium notices that over-estimated costs for 2018

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News With a shortened enrollment period, huge cuts in advertising and in-person assistance, and ongoing efforts to repeal and replace the federal health law, it’s no wonder many Americans are confused about whether they can or should sign up for health coverage on government marketplaces this year. Perhaps the most basic facts are these: The Patient Protection...

School Boards Association says it will support any legislation to make all schools in state tobacco-free

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Usually opposed to statewide mandates on schools, the Kentucky School Boards Association says it will support any legislation that proposes a statewide tobacco-free school law in the 2018 legislative session, because the majority of its members support such a law. “We really try to protect local decision-making on these things,” Eric Kennedy, director...

Ky. teen suicide rate more than doubles in two years; One in 12 sophomores report trying to kill themselves

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News A recent survey found that one in 12 of Kentucky’s high-school sophomores said they had attempted suicide, prompting experts on the topic to discuss what is being done about it. The main solution offered was more family support for teenagers, even those who may be only temporarily troubled. In a tone of incredulity, Dr. Allen Brenzel, medical director of...

The season of eating like it’s our job is upon us! Some tips to avoid overindulgence this holiday

By Cristy Nickel Special to KyForward It’s the time of year so many people dread. Just when the last of the Halloween candy is either consumed or discarded; BAM! Thanksgiving. And the sugar binge begins anew. The holiday season is a three-month junk food marathon, but Thanksgiving is the foremost culprit. Why? The entire holiday is based on a meal! Sure, we drive (or fly) for hours to visit family...

Department of Public Health reports outbreak of Hepatitis A as 31 cases reported throughout state

The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) has declared an outbreak of acute hepatitis A with cases in multiple counties in Kentucky. In total, 31 cases of acute (rapid onset with symptoms of illness) Hepatitis A have been reported throughout Kentucky in 2017, a 50 percent increase above the average of 20 cases per year reported over the past 10 years. Twenty-two cases have been reported in...

Open enrollment for health care ends Dec. 15, but one-third of Americans remain unaware of deadline

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News About a third of Americans haven’t heard anything about open enrollment for federally subsidized health insurance, and nearly half of them say they are hearing less about it this year than last year, according to a recent poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation. That’s a problem, especially in Kentucky, where about 265,000 people had no health coverage...

Kentucky Primary Care Alliance accountable care organization saves Medicare nearly $2 million

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News The Kentucky Primary Care Alliance says its Medicare accountable care organization, in its first year, saved Medicare nearly $2 million. Accountable care organizations were created under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to encourage doctors, hospitals and other providers to work together to provide coordinated patient care as a way to cut back on...

Ky’s children improved on several health measures in last year, but many counties remain far behind

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News More Kentucky children than ever have health insurance, fewer Kentucky teens are getting pregnant, fewer mothers are smoking during pregnancy, and the state has fewer low-birthweight babies – but that’s not the case in every county, according to the annual Kentucky Kids Count report. The report, released Nov. 15 by Kentucky Youth Advocates, is part of...

52 Weeks of Public Health: Spreading awareness among Kentuckians about risks of lung cancer

As part of the 52 Weeks of Public Health Campaign, the Kentucky Department of Public Health within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services is raising awareness about lung cancer in Kentucky. Lung cancer impacts Kentuckians more than any other cancer. In Kentucky, both men and women have significantly higher rates of lung cancer than other states in the U.S. More Kentuckians have died from lung cancer...