State imposes emergency rules on Kentucky’s only abortion clinic; Planned Parenthood joins suit

State officials have filed emergency regulations “that some abortion providers say are designed to shut them down,” The Associated Press reports. The emergency designation means the rules took effect as soon as the Cabinet for Health and Family Services filed them June 15. “State law requires abortion clinics to have agreements with hospitals and ambulance services to transfer patients...

Setting the Pace: Dog owners walk 22 more minutes per day; state seniors rank low for physical activity

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Dog owners walk on average 22 more minutes per day compared to people who don’t own a dog, says a recent study. “Not only did we see an increase in exercise, but also the exercise was at a moderate pace,” study author Daniel Mills of the University of Lincoln, in the United Kingdom, told Allison Aubrey of NPR. The study, published in the journal...

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...

Kentucky extends deadline for insurance companies to submit new rates a second time

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Uncertainty continues to surround the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s market for individual heath-care policies. Kentucky has extended for a second time the deadline for insurance companies to file plans and rates for next year, Anthem has pulled out of Ohio’s marketplace, and states are making deals with insurers to keep them from leaving. The...

Water Safety Tips: Drowning is top cause of accidental death among young children

Summer fun often includes heading to the swimming pool or lake, but it’s important to remember that all water activities come with a risk of drowning. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that every day, about 10 people die from unintentional drowning. Of these, two are children under 15 and most are between 1 and 4. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy...

Aging process can be slowed with regular exercise at a ‘high level,’ according to study

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News If you are willing to exercise regularly at a “high level,” you may be able to slow down the aging process in your cells, according to a study. “Just because you’re 40 doesn’t mean you’re 40 years old biologically,” Larry Tucker, a professor of exercise science at Brigham Young University, said in a BYU news release....

Senate health plan would extend Medicaid expansion past 2020; McConnell sounding more optimistic

The health bill being drafted by Republican senators would extend the Medicaid expansion beyond 2020, the ending date in the health bill the House passed last month, some of them told reporters after meetings on the issue. “Republicans were reluctant to disclose all the details of the bill but said it would protect those with pre-existing conditions and would keep the Obamacare expansion of Medicaid...

Misconception that skin color determines who will get skin cancer is dangerous, medical experts say

The misconception that people with darker skin are protected from skin cancer is dangerous, says a Rush University Medical Center news release. While skin cancer rates are higher among white people, blacks, Hispanics and Asians are also at risk of getting a melanoma, which is often caused by genetics and not sun exposure. Melanomas are the most common kind of skin cancer and also the deadliest. Dr....

Organized sports not the answer as CDC says children need an hour of exercise each day

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News We live in a world where children are more likely to participate in organized sports and activities than to spend time running and playing outside. Most parents seem to think this is a pretty good substitute for exercise, but a new study says otherwise. The study, published in the Journal of Sports Sciences and Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, found...

McConnell asks colleagues Portman, Toomey to help craft compromise on capping Medicaid spending

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has asked fellow Republican Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania “to come up with a compromise between GOP conservatives and moderates on capping Medicaid spending and rolling back the ACA’s Medicaid expansion to low-income adults,” Harris Meyer reports for Modern Healthcare. “That’s a key disagreement...

McConnell says he’s still looking for 50 votes in Senate to repeal, replace Affordable Health Care Act

“U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he does not yet know how Republicans will amass the votes needed to pass legislation now being crafted to dismantle Obamacare,” Reuters reports. “He declined to discuss what provisions he might want to see in the bill or provide a timetable for producing even a draft to show to rank-and-file Republican senators and gauge their support.” McConnell...

Kentucky a national leader in hepatitis C, yet many at-risk counties shun syringe exchanges

“Growing intravenous drug use by people sharing syringes to inject heroin and other substances” has helped make Kentucky a national hotbed for cases of hepatitis C, “which ultimately could mean a staggering cost to taxpayers to treat people with the disease,” Bill Estep reports for the Lexington Herald-Leader. “Giving addicts clean needles can help stem the spread of the...

McConnell says work continuing on health care bill, invites Senate Democrats to participate

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said this week that all Republican senators are working on a health bill, and invited Democrats to help them. “Can our Democratic colleagues, who promised more choice under Obamacare, really be okay with the continuing failures of Obamacare? The status quo under Obamacare is simply unsustainable and unacceptable,” McConnell said in a speech on the Senate floor....

Commentary: Price transparency in health care thwarted by providers who want to keep deals secret

By Trudy Lieberman Special to KyForward In a recent column I reported on an effort in Ohio to bring price transparency to medical services. Ohio state Rep. Jim Butler had spearheaded passage of legislation that would require healthcare providers, including doctors and hospitals, to disclose prices for their services. The law was supposed to take effect last summer, but Gov. John Kasich, the Ohio Hospital...

Nurses, allies seek mandate for a nurse in every school in effort to improve learning outcomes

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Putting a full-time nurse in every Kentucky school would not only provide health care, but improve education outcomes, say advocates of the idea. “We need a nurse in every school because we need to quit thinking about health and education as separate entities, because they are not,” said Eva Stone, an advanced-practice registered nurse and co-chair...

E-cigarette marketing finds a ready teenage audience, and preventive messaging isn’t keeping up

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News RICHMOND — Marketing messages for electronic cigarettes are resonating with Kentucky’s teenagers, who said in focus-group interviews that teens use e-cigs because they are safer, non-addictive, and cool. “Overwhelmingly, those first responses were about safety and less harm,” Amy Jeffers, director of Pathways Regional Prevention Center,...

House approves bill halting Medicaid expansion, clears way to higher premiums for pre-existing conditions

By Al Cross Kentucky Health News The health-care bill passed Thursday by House Republicans would end the expansion of Medicaid in 2020, limit the program’s funding after that to a fixed amount per person, and let states allow insurance companies to charge higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions. On a 217-212 vote, the bill went to the Senate, which undoubtedly will change it. About...

Obese children over four times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those with healthy weight

Children who are obese may be four times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those considered to have a healthy weight, according to a British study. “A child with obesity faces a four-fold greater risk of being diagnosed with diabetes by age 25 than a counterpart who is normal weight,” Dr. Ali Abbasi, of King’s College London, one of the study’s authors, said in the Endocrine...

‘Project e-Prevent’ conference at EKU focuses on affects of e-cigarettes on state’s youth

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News “Project e-Prevent,” a conference designed to help people understand electronic cigarettes and their effects on Kentucky’s youth, will be held at Eastern Kentucky University’s Perkins Conference Center on Tuesday, May 2. Fewer Kentucky youth are smoking tobacco (rates have dropped to 17 percent from 26 percent in just 10 years) but more...

Community health workers not medically trained, but assist rural people manage their health care

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News As health advocates at the Kentucky Voices for Health annual meeting discussed how to reduce health disparities and assure health equity in the state, a model of integrated care that includes community health workers resonated as a possible solution. “I really believe in the community health worker model,” said Keisha Cornett, health education coordinator...