A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Medicaid program for employer-sponsored insurance premiums has new application process

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News A program that will pay the premiums of working Medicaid members who have access to insurance through their employers has a “new and improved” application process, the state says. The voluntary program, called the Kentucky Integrated Health Insurance Premium Payment program or KI-HIPP, allows Medicaid members to sign up for their employer-sponsored...

Kentucky receives approval to provide increased access to Medicaid health services for students

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) has received final approval for a Medicaid state plan amendment that will expand health services in schools. The change to Medicaid will be phased in during the current school year, and approval for direct services reimbursements to school districts is retroactive to Aug. 1. “Approval of this amendment is a game-changer,” said CHFS Secretary Adam...

Grant will help UK Cooperative Extension Service in statewide effort to fight opioid addiction, aid recovery

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky The University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service recently received more than $1 million to help further the organization’s statewide educational efforts in opioid prevention and recovery. The grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration will allow Cooperative Extension Service professionals to implement new programming efforts...

Lexington-Fayette County Health Department to host naloxone training, provide free kits November 19

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department is hosting a free community training on naloxone, which will include providing free kits containing the overdose-reversing medication. The classes are scheduled for 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19, in the Dr. Rice C. Leach Community Room at the health department’s main building, 650 Newtown Pike. Participants must complete a...

E-cigarette users need to watch for symptoms of lung injury, seek medical care immediately if detected

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News If you use electronic cigarettes, contrary to current warnings, it’s important to watch for symptoms of lung injury, and to immediately seek medical care if you have any of them: cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, fever or abdominal pain. That was one of the main messages on a Nov. 1 “Lung Injury with Vaping”...

Bluegrass Care Navigators asks families to share stories during Hospice and Palliative Care Month

In recognition of National Hospice Month and Palliative Care Month, Bluegrass Care Navigators is calling for families to share their experiences with hospice care through a month-long campaign called “My Story.” UKHC Hospice Care in Lexington. (Photo by Mark Mahan) “Families who have experienced hospice care frequently say they wish they had called us sooner,” said Liz Fowler, CEO of Bluegrass...

Report card: Georgetown University report finds progress has stalled for Kentucky Kids Health

The number of uninsured children nationwide increased by about 400,000 in the past two years, reversing nearly a decade of gains, according to a new report released by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. An estimated 4 million children were uninsured nationwide in 2018, the highest levels since the Affordable Care Act took effect in 2014.   In Kentucky, the analysis shows progress...

Kentucky Health Issues Poll: Regional report finds health status and policy opinions vary across state

Adults living in the eastern and western regions of Kentucky are more likely to smoke and also to report poorer health than those living in Louisville, Lexington and Northern Kentucky. On the other hand, the lowest uninsured rate in the Commonwealth is found among residents living in the western counties. These are among the findings of regional reports for the Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP),...

Open enrollment for federally subsidized health insurance begins this Friday, runs through Dec. 15

Open enrollment for federally subsidized health insurance in Kentucky next year will begin this Friday (Nov. 1) and run through Dec. 15. Plans will cost more or less than this year, depending on the insurer and the type of plan. And many consumers will have more choices. (Click for larger image) Policies offered on the federal insurance exchange by Anthem Health Plans of Kentucky will be an average...

Healthy Headlines: Breast cancer genetic testing: What you need to know to make an informed decision

At St. Elizabeth Healthcare, we know that a breast cancer diagnosis can be shocking and overwhelming. We offer comprehensive care from the moment of your breast cancer diagnosis through your surgery, treatments, recovery and beyond. Our breast cancer care protocol has recently expanded to include meeting with a genetic counselor shortly after your diagnosis. New guidelines recommend multi-gene panel...

Kentucky’s four state Veterans Long-Term Care Centers earn top ratings from federal agency

Kentucky’s four state Veterans Long-Term Care Centers have earned the top rating from the federal agency that oversees those facilities. “The very highest standard of care for our veterans is not just our goal but what we expect from our superb, dedicated staff every day,” said Benjamin Adams, Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs, which operates four state veterans centers....

Trudy Lieberman: Exploring Medicare Advantage plans during open enrollment period can be tricky

Along with crunchy leaves and pumpkins, fall brings a slew of advertising for insurance plans that fill the gaps in Medicare coverage. Misleading and confusing messages continue to reach beneficiaries and those nearing Medicare age. To take myself as an example, I’ve received an invitation to a Medicare Advantage plan informational meeting. I’ve gotten a solicitation from my physician’s medical...

Kentucky Perinatal Quality Collaborative launched Tuesday during convening at Churchill Downs

The Kentucky Perinatal Quality Collaborative (KyPQC) launched Tuesday during a convening at Churchill Downs in Louisville. The launch brought together healthcare professionals and other stakeholders dedicated to decreasing the maternal mortality rate, decreasing rates of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), and improving maternal and infant health outcomes in the commonwealth amidst the opioid crisis...

More than 1/3 of Kentucky students in violation of required hepatitis A shots; immunizations fall short

More than a third of students in Kentucky schools are in violation of the year-old state law requiring them to be vaccinated for the liver disease hepatitis A, according to the annual report by the state Department for Public Health on student immunizations. “While hepatitis A rates were the lowest of all required vaccines, they reflect a broader trend: Kentucky students still aren’t getting...

Think about your eyes first before you wear those costume contact lenses with that Halloween outfit

Creepy costume lenses might add a spine-tingling thrill to your Halloween costume, but wearing costume contact lenses without a prescription can lead to serious eye infections or permanent vision loss. Decorative lenses are medical devices, not costume jewelry. They must be prescribed and fitted by an eye care professional, just like regular contact lenses. That’s why the Kentucky Academy of...

Pew Trusts: Hemp cannabidiol products may be natural, but does that mean they are safe?

By Sophie Quinton Pew Charitable Trusts At a recent conference Denver, city and Colorado public health officials recounted their scariest hemp CBD manufacturing stories to a packed hotel ballroom. There was the woman who was making hemp oil in her kitchen crockpot and selling it online. The manufacturing facility with no sinks for workers to wash their hands. The facility where dogs ran underfoot....

CHFS networking event ‘Helping Us Build’ an effort to increase collaboration in harm reduction services

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) held a networking event, “Helping Us Build,” at the Kentucky History Center this week. It was an effort to increase collaboration and efficiency in the delivery of harm reduction services. “We needed to find how could we collaborate further and find additional synergy between all the good work that is being done,” explained Dr. Connie White,...

Bluegrass Care Navigators receives $1 million grant to support Alzheimer’s patients and their families

Bluegrass Care Navigators has received a $1 million grant to support Kentuckians who have Alzheimer’s disease and their families. The award comes from the federal Administration for Community Living/Administration on Aging, under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Bluegrass Care Navigators is one of 13 organizations in the nation awarded the grant and the only one in Kentucky. The...

Officials say issues with Medicaid pharmacy benefit managers will be a priority in next legislative session

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News State Rep. Danny Bentley didn’t mince words when he told a health advocacy group that a priority of the next legislative session will be to deal with pharmacy benefit managers’ Medicaid payments to drug stores. Independent pharmacies in Kentucky and around the nation have said for years that the problems are so bad that PBMs threaten their survival. “I’m...

New data shows Kentucky has 93,000 young people who are considered obese, third highest in nation

In Kentucky, 93,600 young people ages 10 to 17 have obesity, according to new data included in the State of Childhood Obesity by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The obesity rate in Kentucky for this age group, 20.8 percent, has held steady in recent years and ranks as the third-highest in the nation. The obesity rate in Kentucky is significantly higher than the national rate. Click to enlarge The...