A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

State provides Q&A sheet to providers, patients in wake of ruling blocking Medicaid plan

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News As the Cabinet for Health and Family Services scrambles to deal with the fall-out from a court ruling that vacated the state’s new Medicaid plan, which was set to go into place Sunday, July 1, its call centers and front-line staff are using a new question-and-answer document to help health-care providers advise their Medicaid clients. The document says...

New collaboration between ADA, UK Healthcare connects Kentucky kids with diabetes

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service A diagnosis of diabetes can be overwhelming, especially for a child. And a Kentucky program is working to provide emotional support for kids with Type 1 diabetes and their families. The “Family Link” program is a collaboration of the American Diabetes Association in Kentucky and the UK HealthCare’s Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center. Dr. Laura Hieronymous,...

Kentucky’s new Health Secretary Adam Meier makes move from creating policy to delivering it

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News The state’s new health secretary moved from a policy job that he loved to one that puts him squarely into a position of delivering those policies he helped to create, a decision that he didn’t take lightly. Gov. Matt Bevin “didn’t have to twist my arm,” Adam Meier told Kentucky Health News in an interview. “It was a big decision...

City of Lexington activates Office of Homelessness Intervention weather plan due to high temperatures

The Office of Homelessness Prevention and Intervention Weather Plan has been activated due to the forecast of extreme hot temperatures in Lexington. This plan will remain in effect through Monday, July 2. The plan is activated anytime the temperature is expected to exceed 90 degrees so that people experiencing homelessness in Lexington have access to a cool, secure shelter. The plan includes expanded...

Kentucky HEALTH delayed by federal judge, halts plan to require Medicaid recipients to work

Staff report A federal judge ruled Friday the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) failed to adequately consider how Kentucky’s proposed Medicaid work rules would affect residents’ access to health care as required under federal law. The ruling halts implementation of the state’s proposal which would have required Medicaid recipients to work, volunteer or otherwise engage in community...

Registration open for 2018 Bost Health Policy Forum; Opioids and alternative pain therapies among topics

As Kentucky continues to struggle with the health impact and economic cost of a massive opioid addiction crisis, the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky’s annual health policy forum will explore medical marijuana and other alternative pain therapies, as well as the rise in infectious disease associated with the crisis. “We need to understand the truth behind the push for medical marijuana,...

National Fire Protection Association offers fire safety tips for those outdoor Independence Day festivities

With the Fourth of July fast approaching and the summer months upon us, indulging in barbecues, holiday parties and swimming often top the list of activities to enjoy during the summer season. To help everyone do so safely, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is reminding people about potential summer fire and electrical hazards, and providing tips and recommendations to minimize them. “By...

Kentucky’s cigarette tax increase takes effect July 1; many resources available to help smokers quit

When the tax on a pack of cigarettes sold in Kentucky rises from 60 cents to $1.10 on Sunday, July 1, many Kentuckians may decide it’s a good time to kick the habit. The Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow, which convened 160 organizations to advocate for a state tobacco tax increase in an effort to reduce smoking and smoking-related illness in the Commonwealth, reminds smokers that there are...

Agencies offering new resources for state’s Medicaid recipients transitioning to Kentucky HEALTH

Kentucky HEALTH, the Commonwealth’s new program for certain able-bodied adults receiving Medicaid, begins on July 1, and several state agencies are working to make the transition as smooth as possible for those recipients. “We have numerous print and digital resources now available that will help the people of the Commonwealth understand and take advantage of Kentucky’s new Medicaid program,”...

Both of state’s Affordable Care Act providers seek rate hikes; Anthem to return to some counties

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News The two health insurers offering government-subsidized health plans in Kentucky’s individual market for 2019 are both requesting an overall rate hike, the most popular one seeking increases averaging 3.5 percent and the other asking for 19.4 percent. Insurers offering plans for small groups under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are asking...

Lexington launches new medical care program to help local homeless population

Lexington citizens who are homeless and in need of short-term recuperative medical care have a new place to find help. The Medical Respite Program is a partnership between the city and Bluegrass Care Navigators (formerly Hospice of the Bluegrass) through its Bluegrass Care Transitions program. Local hospitals and other medical providers will identify patients who are eligible for the program, which...

House passes 58 opioid bills, including two from Hal Rogers; McConnell aide says package a priority

The U.S. House passed a massive opioids package last week that includes two measures sponsored by Rep. Hal Rogers, Republican from Eastern Kentucky’s 5th Congressional District. “The Treating Barriers to Prosperity Act will expand the Appalachian Regional Commission’s efforts to combat the deadly drug abuse epidemic in the Appalachian region, where the opioid-related overdose rate...

LFCHD warning residents after two bats found in Lexington neighborhood test positive for rabies

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department received word Wednesday afternoon that two bats found in Lexington have tested positive for rabies. The bats were discovered in homes in the Lakeview Acres and Cumberland Hills neighborhoods. The health department posted signs in the area on Wednesday to notify residents of the discovery.  LFCHD officials continue to remind residents to make certain...

Division of water, DPH offer tips to help avoid illness while enjoying Kentucky’s waterways this summer

With summer upon us and July 4th quickly approaching, the Kentucky Division of Water (DOW) and the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) offer these safety tips to help Kentuckians enjoy the many rivers, lakes and creeks in which we boat, fish, swim, canoe or otherwise enjoy our abundant water resources. Despite many water quality improvements, there is the potential for human health risks in...

UofL receives $5 million donation for institute to study environmental conditions affecting health

With a $5 million gift from leading Louisville philanthropist Christina Lee Brown, through the Owsley Brown II Family Foundation, the University of Louisville has established an Envirome Institute in its School of Medicine to “develop integrated knowledge of the environmental determinants of health.” Christy Brown, U of L President Neeli Benapudi and Dr. Aruni Bhatnagar, director of the...

Rates remain high, but fewer kids are smoking; e-cigarettes raise concern about reversing the trend

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Kentucky’s high-school students continue to smoke at higher rates than their national counterparts, but the good news is that their rates continue to drop. The bad news: An influx of new vaping products could reverse this downward trend. The recently released 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that 14.3 percent of Kentucky high-school students reported...

SmartHealth: Summer hit without much warning this year, so staying hydrated is more critical than ever

By Nathan Skaggs St. Elizabeth Healthcare This year in the Tri-State area, it feels like we skipped spring and went straight to summer. Without a gradual warmup for our bodies to get used to, it’s more important than ever to focus on staying hydrated as the temperature continues to climb. Whether you are training for a marathon, playing a round of golf or sitting by the pool, it’s also important...

Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky applauds Murray City Council’s passage of smoke free policy

The Murray City Council has passed, by an 8-2 vote, a comprehensive smoke-free policy to protect residents and visitors from exposure to dangerous secondhand smoke. “Heartfelt congratulations to Mayor Jack Rose,” said Ben Chandler, President and CEO of the Foundation For a Healthy Kentucky. “When Charlie Ross and I met with Mayor Rose back in April to talk about the health benefits...

Almost half of Kentuckians 30 and older have advanced gum disease that can cause tooth loss

Kentucky Health News Half of Americans aged 30 and older have a disease of the gums called periodontitis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If left untreated, gum disease can not only lead to tooth loss, but can also lead to other health problems like heart disease and diabetes. The CDC data found that 45 percent of Kentuckians aged 30 and older had periodontitis, with...

Frontier Nursing University president inducted as president of American College of Nurse-Midwives

Susan Stone, president of Frontier Nursing University (FNU), was officially inducted as the new president of the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) at the organization’s annual meeting in May. ACNM is the professional association that represents certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) and certified midwives (CMs) in the United States. With roots dating to 1929, ACNM is the oldest women’s health...