A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

This is the last week to sign up for health insurance at Healthcare.gov; deadline is Saturday, Dec. 15

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News With just a few days left to enroll in a health insurance plan on Healthcare.gov, it’s time to sign up if you want federally subsidized coverage for 2019. Enrollment under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, ends Saturday, Dec. 15. If you need help with enrolling or simply have questions, there are more than 600...

Number of Ky. parents claiming religious exemption for children’s vaccinations jumps 59 percent

Kentucky Health News More Kentucky children are not being immunized “for medical and religious reasons,” Ashleigh Mills reports for Spectrum News. “Doctors worry the number could be growing because of misinformation circulating online.” In the last school year, parents of 442 sixth graders exempted them from vaccines. That was only 1.5 percent of the total, but an increase of...

Don’t let flu ruin your holiday plans, health officials urge vaccinations for everyone six months and older

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service With the holiday season here, health officials in Kentucky are urging people to take steps to help prevent spreading the flu. During last year’s flu season, 325 adults and five children died in Kentucky due to flu or complications from the virus, and there were a record number of hospitalizations. Christa Mitchell from Central Kentucky says she spent 49 days...

Friedell Committee, Foundation for a Healthy Ky. unite to strengthen state, local policy advocacy

Two statewide health promotion organizations today announced that they have joined forces to strengthen advocacy for state and local policies for improving health in Kentucky. In announcing the unification, the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and the Friedell Committee for Health System Transformation emphasized the organizations’ congruent missions and committed volunteers, and the value of...

National Influenza Vaccination Week is Dec. 2-8; get vaccinated to help prevent spread of flu

The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH), within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, encourages Kentuckians to get a flu shot during National Influenza Vaccination Week, Dec. 2-8, to help prevent the spread of flu this holiday season. “The flu vaccine is the single best way to protect you and your loved ones against the flu,” said Jeff Howard, M.D., commissioner of DPH. “If...

Kentucky, 26th in population among states, ranked fourth in number of drug overdose deaths in 2017

Kentucky had the fourth highest rate of drug overdoses among the states in 2017, fifth when the District of Columbia is added to the list, according to a new report from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Kentucky had 37.2 overdose deaths per 100,000 people. West Virginia had the highest rate, 57.8, and Ohio was second with 46.3. Pennsylvania and D.C. were close behind at 44.3...

Deadline to sign up for insurance on Healthcare.gov is Dec. 15, but most Americans don’t know

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News With just two weeks left to sign up for federally subsidized health insurance for 2019, time is running out. The deadline for open enrollment on Healthcare.gov is Dec. 15, and fewer Kentuckians have enrolled compared to the same time last year. Four weeks into the six-week enrollment period, Kentucky enrollment on the federal exchange is 22,565. That is 5,414...

Pikeville Medical Center announces $52 million expansion, creation of children’s Hospital

Pikeville Medical Center has announced it will spend $7 million to relocate and expand its inpatient pediatrics clinic into a children’s hospital, and establish, expand or improve nine other facilities with price tags totaling $45 million. Officials said about 200 jobs would be created. The hospital appears to be on a rebound. In June, CEO Donovan Blackburn laid off 130 employees, blaming mismanagement...

LFCHD warning customers of three area restaurants about risk of exposure to hepatitis A

Customers who ate at three area restaurants in November may have been exposed to hepatitis A. As a result, anyone who ate at the following restaurants are advised to get a hepatitis A vaccination: • Hardee’s, 2990 Richmond Road, Lexington; Nov. 23-26, 2018 • Waffle House, 2347 Buena Vista, Lexington; Nov. 11-19, 2018 • Waffle House, 4 Carol Road, Winchester; Nov. 20, 2018 While it is relatively...

Rural Blog: Sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise as funding to prevent and treat them falls

“Health officials are tracking record-breaking rates of sexually transmitted disease, including a resurgence of some infections which had been considered rare, such as gonorrhea and syphilis. These STDs are on the rise amid cuts to public health budgets dedicated to testing, prevention, and public outreach,” Mary Meehan reports for Ohio Valley ReSource, which covers Kentucky, Ohio and West...

CDC, Alzheimer’s Association release Healthy Brain Initiative Road Map, how to deal with dementia

In an effort to help state and local health departments address the growing Alzheimer’s crisis, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Alzheimer’s Association have released the third edition of the Healthy Brain Initiative Road Map. State and Local Public Health Partnerships to Address Dementia, The 2018-2023 Road Map, provides public health officials with a set of strategies...

Study says genes linked to body’s use of cholesterol, fat and heart disease also increase Alzheimer’s risk

A study of more than 1.5 million people found that some of the genes that increase the risk of heart disease also increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. It might mean, eventually, that managing cholesterol and fat in the diet could lower some people’s risk for Alzheimer’s. Illustration by Michael Worful The study, published in the journal Acta Neuropathologica, looked at the differences...

Kentucky Health News: Don’t ignore hearing loss; study shows it will cost you more in health expenses

Untreated hearing loss in older adults affects more than just their ability to communicate. It can also increase their health-care expenses. A Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health study found that older adults with untreated hearing loss pay an average of 46 percent more — or $22,434 more — for health care over a decade, compared to those who have no hearing loss. “Knowing...

Healthy Headlines: Here are some tips to make the struggle for a healthy lifestyle easier

St. Elizabeth Healthcare If you’re like most Americans, the struggle to consistently eat a healthy diet is real. Barbeque and fried chicken restaurants surround you. According to Amber Cranfield, a Registered Dietitian at the St. Elizabeth Physicians Weight Management Center, “In the U.S., most people don’t look at the quality of their food and recipes. If you looked at your food as energy and...

Organizations working to educate Ky. families served by food banks on how to manage Type 2 diabetes

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service While helping to reduce hunger throughout the state, some advocacy groups also are spreading the word about how to avoid an all too common disease. The American Diabetes Association, the Kentucky Association of Food Banks and Passport Health Plan are working to educate families served by food banks about how they can best prevent and manage Type 2 diabetes. Kirsten...

State has approval for new rules for Medicaid participants, including some ‘work’ requirements

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – The federal government has again approved new rules for some of Kentucky’s Medicaid participants, including a community engagement component of either going to school, getting a job or volunteering in the community to keep their government health coverage. 
The Medicaid waiver is known as Kentucky HEALTH, an acronym for Helping to Engage and Achieve...

Ky. has 78 confirmed flu cases, two deaths this season; officials urge shots for all over six months

Kentucky is one of three states under an influenza threat defined as “regional,” with confirmed cases in 11 of the state’s 17 regions. During the 2018-19 flu season, Kentucky has had 78 laboratory-confirmed cases of the flu and two deaths from it, according to the state Department for Public Health’s weekly influenza surveillance report. The flu killed 325 Kentuckians in last...

FDA cracking down on youth e-cigarette use; proposes ban on menthol flavored tobacco products

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News The U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed Thursday to ban menthol-flavored cigarettes and cigars, and restrict the sales of some flavored electronic-cigarette liquids, some flavored cigars and the removal of e-cigarettes that are marketed to youth. The proposals are aimed at curbing teen use of e-cigarettes and follow the release of data showing that teen...

Healthy Headlines: Know warning signs for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) as winter approaches

As the weather turns colder and the daylight hours grow shorter, it’s important to keep an eye out for a mood disorder that affects nearly three million Americans each year: Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). “Our body runs just like a clock, and when those rhythms are disrupted for any reason, we can experience emotional and physical symptoms,” says Amanda Galer, a Licensed Clinical Social...