A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Flu spreads in Kentucky as holiday season begins; best advice is to get vaccinated, don’t shake hands

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Kentucky has seen 785 laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza since the flu season started in late September, and health officials say there are many more. So far the hot spot has been around Hazard. A recent uptick in cases has prompted the state health department to upgrade the state’s flu activity level to “regional,” a classification that...

CHFS, Kentucky Department of Education partner on framework to improve student care and wellbeing

The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) and the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) are collaborating on a framework to improve the physical and mental wellbeing of Kentucky’s youth, called Kentucky CARES. Kentucky CARES is a grassroots prevention campaign aimed at addressing the risk and protective factors associated with multiple forms of youth violence in schools, homes and...

Pharmacies could help Ky. teens get vaccinated for virus that causes sex-related cancers

There’s a vaccine for a virus that causes sex-related cancer, but rural teens are less likely to get it or know about it. Rural pharmacies could help improve vaccination rates, writes Casey Daniel, a Ph.D. pharmacist who teaches in the family medicine department at the University of South Alabama. “Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection, with 80 million...

Tom Miller: University of Louisville hospital acquisitions benefit the entire commonwealth

The University of Louisville’s recent acquisition of Jewish Hospital and other Louisville-area assets of KentuckyOne Health has led to many questions. For us – President Neeli Bendapudi, the Board of Trustees, our physicians and academic and administrative leaders– our decision to move forward came down to the answer to one very important question: What would happen if Jewish Hospital closed? On...

Beshear aide voices concern as Kentucky’s new Medicaid contracts drop Passport, Anthem

On its way out, the administration of Republican Gov. Matt Bevin has given five health-insurance companies new, five-year deals to manage the care of Kentuckians on Medicaid — and dropped Anthem Inc. and the nonprofit Passport Health Plan, which now have contracts with the state. The three returning firms are subsidiaries of Aetna, Humana and WellCare. The two newcomers are UnitedHealthcare Community...

Blue Grass Quality Meats recalls pork and turkey products due to misbranding, undeclared allergens

Blue Grass Quality Meats in Erlanger, Kentucky, is recalling approximately 121,083 pounds of pork bacon and ready-to-eat turkey products due to misbranding and undeclared allergens, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today. The products contain soy, a known allergen, which is not declared on the product labels. This is identified as a Class II...

Dr. Niket Sonpal: How to avoid holiday heartburn by making these right food choices

Even if you’re not a “foodie” most people look forward to indulging in the culinary delights of holiday time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. This  means that even people who are typically disciplined eat too much in one evening, eat rapidly, imbibe amounts of alcohol they are unaccustomed to, and consume foods that may not be part of their regular diet because “tis the season.” ...

Federal grant of up to $12 million will provide behavioral health services to Kentucky children

The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) has received a four-year federal grant of up to $3 million per year to support the behavioral and social health of youth through comprehensive services and community partnerships. The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) has awarded CHFS the grant for its System of Care (SOC) with the goal to improve behavioral...

Baptist Health Urgent Care and Occupational Medicine to open doors in La Grange on Dec. 2

Baptist Health is acquiring PMC Urgent Care & Occupational Medicine at 1006 New Moody Lane in La Grange. Effective Dec. 2, Baptist Health Urgent Care and Occupational Medicine will officially open to the public. Hours of operation will be Monday through Friday: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Online check-in at BaptistHealthClinics.com will be an option for patients wanting...

Kentucky’s diabetes problem continues to worsen; rate now seventh highest nation at nearly 13 percent

The number of adults with diabetes and pre-diabetes in Kentucky continues to rise, according to the 2019 Kentucky Diabetes Report. The number of adults in the state with diabetes has nearly doubled since 2000 to 12.9 percennt, or more than 440,000 adults. In 2000, that rate was 6.5%. Kentucky ranks seventh highest in the nation for this measure. November is National Diabetes Month. Most adults in Kentucky...

Pay close attention to good hygiene practices, keep holiday gatherings safe from foodborne illness

Parties, family dinners and seasonal gatherings where food is served are a traditional part of holiday cheer. This holiday season, the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH), within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), urges consumers to take precautions in purchasing and preparing food items, and to pay close attention to good hygiene practices to combat foodborne illness this Thanksgiving...

Pew Trusts: The politics of Medicaid expansion have changed; trend appears likely to continue in 2020

By Michael Ollove Pew Charitable Trusts Year by year, resistance to extending Medicaid to more low-income Americans in conservative states has given way. That trend seems likely to continue into 2020. In some states, Democratic governors who favor expansion have replaced Republicans who were stalwart opponents. GOP critics have had a change of heart in some holdout states. And in several Republican-led...

Kentucky Youth Advocates: Nearly one in five women in Kentucky smoked during pregnancy in 2018

Nearly one in five women in Kentucky smoked during pregnancy in 2018, according to the 2019 Kentucky KIDS COUNT County Data Book that was released by Kentucky Youth Advocates (KYA). While the statewide rate of smoking during pregnancy in 2018 was 18.7 percent, about the same as 2017, the number of counties with rates exceeding 30 percent rose from 22 to 24; Lee and Owsley counties continued to have...

Cancer-fighting advocates mark Great American Smokeout, call for action to prevent tobacco addiction

Cancer patients and survivors will mark the American Cancer Society’s 44th annual Great American Smokeout today by calling on the General Assembly to protect the health of Kentucky residents by passing strong tobacco control legislation, including increased funding to go toward tobacco control programs. The effort to combat tobacco addiction comes at a critical moment, as Big Tobacco has now succeeded...

Department for Public Health launches free service to help Kentucky teens stop vaping, smoking

The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) is launching a free service aimed at helping teens quit vaping, smoking, and using other tobacco products. The service is called My Life, My Quit and began across the state Nov. 12. Teenagers who want to stop using e-cigarettes or other tobacco products can text or call the toll-free My Life, My Quit number: 1-855-891-9989. They will then be connected...

Kentucky receives D-minus for high rate or pre-term births on annual March of Dimes report card

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Childbirth, which should be one of life’s most joyous occasions, has become more deadly for Kentucky mothers and remains problematic for many Kentucky babies because it comes too early. One in nine Kentucky babies is born prematurely, so many that the March of Dimes gave the state a D-minus on its 2019 Premature Birth Report Card. And the rate of Kentucky...

Diabetes increasing among Kentucky adults, according to report: Get tested, make healthy choices

Saint Joseph Health Diabetes and prediabetes are on the rise in Kentucky. The prevalence of diabetes among Kentucky adults has increased from 6.5 percent – 240,000 adults – in 2000 to 12.9 percent – 442,480 adults – in 2017, according to the 2019 Kentucky Diabetes Report.   In recognition of National Diabetes Awareness Month, CHI Saint Joseph Health urges those who have a family history of...

EKU online nurse practitioner program wins UPCEA South Region Program of Excellence Award

Eastern Kentucky University’s Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program won the UPCEA South Region Program of Excellence Award for quality teaching and learning. The 100-percent online program, which was introduced in 2013, has built a reputation for academic rigor and student support. “Community is the foundation of a successful online program. Developers of Eastern Kentucky University’s...

Officials encouraging Kentuckians to get flu shots now in order to be protected throughout the holidays

The Department for Public Health (DPH) is encouraging Kentuckians to get vaccinated against the flu, as the holiday season is approaching. “As the holidays approach, people will be traveling and families will gather together, increasing the potential for exposure to the flu,” said Dr. Angela Dearinger, Commissioner of DPH. “We are strongly urging anyone who hasn’t received a flu vaccine, particularly...

Tick-borne illness that causes severe allergy to red meat becoming more common in Kentucky

A tick-borne allergy to red meat is becoming more common, the Adair County Community Voice has reported. The allergy is caused by a sugar molecule called alpha-gal. Anna Buckman writes, “Dr. Kourtney Gentry Gardner, an allergist-immunologist in Bowling Green, diagnoses about five people a month with the alpha-gal allergy, and it’s becoming increasingly more common,” she says. People...