A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Medicaid enrollees sue federal agencies, officials, alleging Ky Medicaid changes violated the law

By Al Cross Kentucky Health News Sixteen Kentucky Medicaid enrollees filed a class-action lawsuit in Washington Wednesday, claiming that federal officials violated federal law this month by approving changes to Kentucky Medicaid and declaring their intent to approve similar changes in other states. The lawsuit alleges that work requirements in the program, to be phased in starting July 1, “sharply...

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...

Yarmuth seeks update on Kentucky’s Medicaid waiver; urges health secretary to reject it

In a June 15 letter, Democratic U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth of Louisville asked U.S. Health Secretary Tom Price for an update on the status of Kentucky’s proposal to reshape its Medicaid program, and urged him to not approve it. The proposal went to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services almost 10 months ago. Approval is expected, but it may include provisions that were not requested of the...

Trump administration estimates fewer Americans would lose health coverage than CBO forecast

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News The Trump administration has come up with its own estimate of how many Americans would lose or forgo health coverage under the bill that House Republicans passed last month, and it’s a lot lower. An actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services concluded that 13 million fewer people would be covered by 2026, not the 23 million estimated by...

Nonprofit evaluation shows Kentucky improved slightly in national ranking for hospital patient safety

By Traci Thomas Kentucky Health News A nonprofit group that rates hospitals has released its latest patient-safety grades, giving most Kentucky hospitals a B or C. The scores are similar to grades released in October, but the overall score for Kentucky hospitals rose from 35th to 32nd among the states. The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., evaluated 2,639 hospitals nationwide,...

Comparing Kentucky Hospitals: Combining several ratings provide method to see where facilities rank

A federal agency, magazines and a consulting group have compiled ratings that allow comparison of hospitals. Now Dr. Kevin Kavanagh of Somerset-based Health Watch USA has compiled the ratings, allowing comparison of hospitals across rating methods. “It needs to be stated on the front end that the hospital industry is not happy with the current quality measurements,” Kavanagh writes for...

Bevin: Kentucky’s proposed medicaid plan changes may fare better under Trump

Gov. Matt Bevin said his proposed changes in the Medicaid program have a better chance of getting federal approval under the incoming Trump administration. “Do I think the presidential election will affect that? Oh, you betcha,” Bevin said at a recent press conference. “And do I think it will increase the odds of this being approved? I do, and in fact what I think you are going to see is a devolution...

No Kentucky hospitals received top ranking in recent federal star ratings; 16 found in second tier

By Danielle Ray Kentucky Health News The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on released its Overall Hospital Star Ratings, just two days after two U.S. House members introduced a bill that would delay the release for a year. The ratings aim to give consumers a simple measure of hospital quality. Critics say they are too simple. They rate 3,662 U.S. hospitals from one to five stars, with the...

Grace Boatright: Fiscal cliff health care fix good for rural patients, as well as taxpayers

Rarely do federal lawmakers come upon a policy that can expand access to critical health care services and simultaneously save taxpayers money.   But according to a new report from the Congressional Budget Office, a tweak in the way Medicare pays for certain kidney disease drugs could do just that – preserving the availability of crucial treatments to rural patients and saving the program billions.   At...