Journal of Rural Health shows the importance of integrating oral health, primary-care medicine

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Three studies reported in the autumn edition of The Journal of Rural Health show different ways a regular health care provider can help patients get access to dental care, and all three articles say that integrating oral health and primary care would benefit patients. The first study, using data from more than 26,000 participants in the 2012 Medical Expenditure...

State teens lagging behind nation average in getting vaccines to prevent cervical cancer

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Fewer than half of Kentucky’s teenagers are getting the human papillomavirus vaccine, which is known to prevent several cancers, including cervical cancer — a disease for which Kentucky leads the nation. A federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, using data from the 2016 National Immunization Survey for teenagers, found that 48 percent...

Dreamland author says opioid epidemic leads to discussion of addiction, first step to finding solutions

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Since Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic was published in 2015, the author says the nation has seen both positive and negative changes in the epidemic that is sweeping Kentucky and other states. “The negative changes are pretty dramatic,” Sam Quinones said in a telephone interview with Kentucky Health News. “The number...

Study finds Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program funding insufficient for a healthy diet

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps, only covers 43 to 60 percent of the cost of the federal nutrition guidelines, according to a study by researchers who say policymakers should consider that as they propose deep cuts to the program. “Even though SNAP is not designed to cover all of the cost of food – it’s meant...

Number of Kentucky school districts implementing 100 percent tobacco free policies drops sharply

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Only two school districts have passed 100 percent smoke-free school policies in Kentucky this year, compared to 16 in 2016, perhaps because they are waiting to see if the state will require such action. “Sometimes when the state legislature takes things on, local officials kind of wait and see if the state’s going to do it,” Ellen Hahn, director...

Roundtable says poor health a major obstacle to economic development in Appalachia

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Appalachia faces many hurdles when it comes to economic development and creating a healthy workforce, including education barriers, addiction issues, stigma and overall poor health. Those were the conclusions of a 13-member panel convened to discuss the findings of two new Appalachian Regional Commission reports that found Appalachian health continues to fall...

Deadlines for individual insurers extended to Sept. 5 amidst uncertainty over cost-sharing subsidies

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Insurers in the Obamacare marketplace for individual coverage have been given three more weeks to finalize their 2018 rates, pushing the deadline to Sept. 5. The most recent filing deadline was Aug. 16. This is in response to the uncertainty around whether the Trump administration will continue to fund the cost-reduction payments that help low- and moderate-income...

Smoking largely responsible for shorter life spans, higher infant death rates in Appalachia

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News People who live in Appalachia are dying sooner than two decades ago, and the region has a higher infant death rate compared to the rest of the nation. A new study blames both largely on the region’s high smoking rate, as well as its other bad health habits. “What this report shows is the extreme damage that tobacco is causing our people, and how we are...

Syringe exchanges coupled with therapy, treatment could virtually eliminate hepatitis C, conference told

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Kentucky leads the nation in new infections of hepatitis C, a liver disease now driven mainly by intravenous drug use. It could be virtually eliminated, but that would require a committed strategy to increase syringe exchanges, medication-assisted therapies, and cutting treatment restrictions such as a ban on treating active intravenous drug users. That was the...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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....

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...

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,...

‘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...