Opponents dominate public hearing on state’s revised proposal for changes in Medicaid program

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Only three of the 17 Kentuckians who spoke at the final public hearing in Frankfort on changes to the state’s Medicaid proposal supported it. The advocates said the work requirements “will make their lives better” and cited personal responsibility as reasons for their support. Opponents, however, said the changes create a barrier to care for...

Floyd County mobile dental until to provide free oral health evaluation, treatment at district schools

In an effort to make sure its students have access to dental treatment, the Floyd County School District has partnered with a regional health-care center that will provide dental services at its schools via a mobile dental unit, Mary Meadows reports for the Floyd County Chronicle. The school board approved the contract with Big Sandy Health Care at its June 26 meeting. Meadows reports that the contract...

State’s revised Medicaid waiver would increase work requirements, add penalty for not reporting changes

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Gov. Matt Bevin has proposed modifications to the state’s Medicaid waiver request, with stronger work and volunteer requirements and a six-month disqualification for those who fail to report changes in their work and employment status. Kentucky submitted its original proposal to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services about ten months ago...

Attorneys file 111 medical negligence cases to beat new law requiring prior health panel review

In a proverbial rush to the courthouse, Kentucky lawyers filed 111 lawsuits alleging medical negligence in the week before a new state law took effect, requiring such suits to be reviewed by a panel of health professionals before they can proceed. Andrew Wolfson of The Courier-Journal in Louisville reports that 68 of the suits allege “that doctors, hospitals, nursing home and other medical professionals...

Studies show Kentucky would be among biggest losers under current version of health care bill

Few states would lose more of their federal health-care spending than Kentucky if the current version of the bill being pushed by Sen. Mitch McConnell became law, according to studies surveyed by the Lexington Herald-Leader. “The left-leaning Center for American Progress estimated 231,400 fewer Kentuckians would have insurance in 2026 under the bill,” reporter Bill Estep writes. “The...

Women 25-44 driving increase in opioid-related emergency room visits, hospital stays

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Kentucky is a national leader in yet another measurement of the painkiller epidemic: the number of opioid-related emergency-room visits and inpatient hospital stays. That was established by a study which found that the numbers are largely driven by women between 25 and 44. Kentucky ranks eighth in the rate of opioid-related emergency room visits for both men...

McConnell delays vote on GOP health bill until after break; measure may need support of Democrats

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell delayed a vote on Republican senators’ health bill Tuesday, saying it needed redrafting to get the votes it needs to pass. Republicans have 52 of the 100 Senate seats, so McConnell can afford only two defections, and six GOP senators had rejected the bill when he pulled it. Three more did later. After Senate Republicans met with President Trump, McConnell...

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....