A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Commentary: Put patients first by putting prior authorization requirements with people in mind

By Sen. Ralph Alvarado and Rep. Kimberly Moser Imagine you are a cancer patient and your physician prescribes a medication with the potential to improve your condition or even save your life. Now imagine you must wait two to three agonizing weeks to begin the treatment because your insurance provider demands you receive prior authorization before they’ll cover it. As you wait for their response,...

Bill could let legislature limit lawsuit awards; second bill could limit attorney fees in malpractice suits

The Kentucky General Assembly would be able to pass a law limiting the amount of non-economic damages that could be awarded in personal-injury and wrongful-death lawsuits, under a bill moving to a floor vote in the state Senate. The House may block the legislation, but a companion bill approved by another Senate committee Feb. 7 would limit the amount of attorney fees in medical-malpractice lawsuits...

Prunty, Alvarado, Schroder honored with ‘Champions for Justice’ award at KASAP/KCADV conference

Rep. Melinda Gibbons Prunty, Sen. Ralph Alvarado and Sen. Wil Schroder received the “Champions for Justice” Award for their legislative work on behalf of victims of domestic violence and sexual assault Friday at the 19th Ending Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Conference in Lexington. Rep. Gibbons Prunty (R-Greenville) and Sen. Alvarado (R-Winchester) were honored for their support...

School Boards Association says it will support any legislation to make all schools in state tobacco-free

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Usually opposed to statewide mandates on schools, the Kentucky School Boards Association says it will support any legislation that proposes a statewide tobacco-free school law in the 2018 legislative session, because the majority of its members support such a law. “We really try to protect local decision-making on these things,” Eric Kennedy, director...

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...

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...

Campbellsville University hosting Alzheimer’s discussion, Legislative wrap-up session on Tuesday

Campbellsville University’s Department of Psychology will host Dr. Ben Mast, associate professor and vice chair of the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Louisville, who will speak on Alzheimer’s dementia from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 25 at Campbellsville Baptist Church, 530 N. Central Ave., Campbellsville, Ky. Mast is a licensed clinical psychologist...

Bill making all Kentucky schools tobacco-free appears dead for this session, Hoover says

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News A bill that would ban tobacco use on school properties and at school events has all but died in the state House, despite its quick passage in the Senate and polling that says Kentuckians would support such a mandate. “We are probably not going to do that this session. . . . With the change of direction in the caucus, we are probably not going to do that,”...

Republican senators scale back statewide smoke-free efforts to cover just public schools, activities

Two Republican state senators who couldn’t make progress toward a statewide smoke-free law are shooting for a lesser goal: a ban on use of tobacco products on public school property or at any school-sponsored activity. “It’s the first time to be presented to the legislature, but we are optimistic that it will become law,” Sen. Ralph Alvarado, a Winchester physician, told the Lexington Herald-Leader....

Kentucky state senator Alvarado will address GOP Convention in prime time slot

Kentucky State Senator Ralph Alvarado (R-Winchester) has been asked to speak in prime time at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday night, July 20. Alvarado is scheduled to speak around 9 p.m. Ralph Alvarado (LRC Public Information Photo) “It is an honor to be asked to speak at the convention and to represent Kentucky on the national stage,” Alvarado said. “I strongly believe that...

Kentucky by Heart: Soured on politicians? Here are a few examples of ones who might change your mind

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist For sure, criticizing politics and politicians is not a novel practice seen only in modern times, but it seems to be getting nastier and more widespread. Television, radio, and social media fuel the caustic tone—rightly or wrongly–for all to see and hear. Might citizens wonder, from this steady diet of negativity: Is politics purely the realm of a bunch...

Despite budget dispute, a number of significant health proposals were passed by Legislature

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Kentucky legislators have all but ended their regular session without agreeing on a budget, but they were able to pass a wide range of health bills that await Gov. Matt Bevin’s signature or veto. Legislators can still pass more bills, including a budget, when they return for one day, April 12, and reconsider any bills the governor vetoes (except the budget,...

Kentucky House gives approval to Medicaid appeals bill, now heads to Bevin for signature

A bill that would give Kentucky’s medical providers a pathway to external, independent appeals of denied Medicaid managed-care claims is on its way to the governor for his signature following approval in the House of Representatives. Senate Bill 20, sponsored by Sen. Ralph Alvarado, R-Winchester, would allow medical providers to receive an independent third-party review of claims denied by Medicaid...

Hypodermic needle disposal education measure picks up amendment, surprising sponsor Denham

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News A House bill to educate the public about how to safely dispose of hypodermic needles easily passed, but was hit with a surprise amendment that would require a one-for-one needle exchange at exchange programs. The amended bill, which passed at the Wednesday Senate Health and Welfare Committee meeting and now goes to the Senate floor, didn’t set well with...

Ralph Alvarado: Scholarship tax credits would help expand opportunities for all Kentucky students

I serve the people of Kentucky today to ensure our tomorrow is better and brighter for future generations. I work every day to find solutions allowing Kentucky to grow and prosper. One of the most important aspects of a strong Kentucky is the best education possible for every student, despite their economic standing. Unfortunately, our current system is saddled by a lack of choice in education, a...

GOP senator suggests expanding Kynect to other states to help fund Medicaid expansion

By Melissa Patrick Special to KyForward   While the Republican nominee for governor says he would dismantle the state health-insurance exchange branded as Kynect, a GOP senator is talking about not only keeping it, but expanding it to other states to pay for the other big feature of federal health reform: expanded Medicaid.   Sen. Ralph Alvarado of Winchester made the suggestion at a legislative...

Smoking ban bills assigned to committee
that appears unlikely to send to full Senate

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News   FRANKFORT – The state Senate’s Republican leaders have assigned both the Republican and Democratic smoking ban bills to a committee that appears unlikely to send them to the full Senate.   The Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection Committee got House Bill 145, which the House had passed 51-46, and Senate Bill 189, filed by Sen....

Capitol Notes: Senate committee takes up electronic gaming, approves three bills

How technology is revolutionizing gambling and threatening traditional bingo and state lotteries was evident at a hearing of a state Senate committee designated to examine such issues.   The Senate Committee on Licensing, Occupations and Administrative Regulations approved three bills designed to do everything from curtail online gaming to allowing nonprofit bingos to compete in the computer age....