A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Rural hospitals are likely to suffer from limit on payments for Medicaid and unisured patients

Many if not most rural hospitals are likely to take a hit from an Aug. 13 decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. “Hospitals that care for a large share of Medicaid, low-income and uninsured patients stand to receive less funding from the federal government after the D.C. Circuit reconsidered how Medicaid disproportionate-share hospital reimbursement is calculated,”...

‘Juul-alikes’ fill niche after firm stopped some sales; Drug Free Lexington video target e-cig users

Pressed by the chief of the Food and Drug Administration last fall, Juul Labs “stopped selling most of its hugely popular flavored nicotine pods in stores last fall,” but now other companies are “trumpeting their own fruity and candy-flavored pods as compatible with Juul devices,” Sheila Kaplan reports for The New York Times. That illustrates “just how entrenched the youth...

Hepatitis A outbreaks shadowing growing opioid epidemic as number of cases rises across country

By Laura Ungar Kaiser Health News AKRON, Ohio — Just before the Fourth of July, Trenton Burrell began feeling run-down and achy. Soon he could barely muster the energy to walk from one room to another. A friend shared an alarming observation: “You’re turning yellow.” Within days, the 40-year-old landed in the hospital, diagnosed with the highly contagious liver virus hepatitis A, which in Ohio...

Bevin, University of Louisville, KentuckyOne Health strike deal for acquisition of Jewish Hospital

Gov. Matt Bevin and University of Louisville President Dr. Neeli Bendapudi have announced a plan to secure the future of the Jewish Hospital and other KentuckyOne Health properties and their employees. Under the deal, University Medical Center Inc., owned by U of L, would acquire Jewish Hospital and other KentuckyOne Health assets located in the metro Louisville region and then integrate them into...

Interactive map of DEA database shows Kentucky a major source of pain pills from 2006 through 2012

Last month The Washington Post published a story and interactive map about the Drug Enforcement Administration database that reveals the distribution patterns of opioid painkillers from 2006 through 2012, when the opioid epidemic was surging. The first map showed the number of pills by county; a new map makes them easily visible by store, and the Post did a story about the data, with a list of the...

Workshop offers tips to keep kids save on farms; biggest risks include tractors, animals, machinery

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Growing up on a farm gives children the opportunity to play in ways that few others get to experience, and gain a set of useful skills, but agricultural safety experts caution that farm life also comes with safety challenges that all too often can result in injury or even death. According to the National Ag Safety Database, 33 children sustain agriculture-related...

FDA probing 127 reports of seizures and other neurological issues possibly related to e-cigarettes

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating 127 reports of seizures, tremors, fainting or other neurological symptoms that may be related to electronic cigarettes, and is asking people to report if they have such symptoms, the agency announced last week. “The FDA is continuing its scientific investigation to determine if there’s a direct...

Bluegrass Care Navigators to complement clinical care plans with new integrative medicine program

Patients and families served by Bluegrass Care Navigators will soon have access to supportive therapies to complement their clinical care plan, through a new integrative medicine program.  Integrative Medicine brings conventional and complementary practices together in a coordinated way as part of the patient’s medical care plan. The program was developed at the recommendation of the organization’s...

Allen County Health Department nurse supervisor Carolyn Richey named latest Health Policy Champion

The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky has named Carolyn Richey, a nurse supervisor with the Allen County Health Department who has worked to increase access to healthy foods for youth, as the latest Healthy Kentucky Policy Champion. Carolyn Richey receives the Healthy Kentucky Policy Champion award from Ben Chandler, CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. (Photo by Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky) Richey,...

Foundation for a healthy Ky., Green River ADD to host health forum in Owensboro Aug. 14

Organizations and individuals working to improve health are invited to attend a Regional Community Health Forum in Owensboro on August 14. Hosted by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky in partnership with the Green River Area Development District (GRADD) and Green River District Health Department. The 90-minute afternoon forum will include information on efforts to address teen vaping and the latest...

Change in Medicare reimbursement rules means more money for 39 rural Kentucky hospitals

The Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services said Friday that it will adjust its Medicare payment formula, starting in October, in a way that will boost payments to rural hospitals, which “have complained that this measure has unfairly disadvantaged some of them because wages are lower in their communities,” Dan Diamond reports for the Politico Pulse newsletter. (Photo from Rural Health...

CHFS launches new Medicaid program to help members obtain commercial insurance

In line with its commitment to support improved health outcomes for Kentuckians, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) has launched a new Medicaid program. The Kentucky Integrated Health Insurance Premium Payment (KI-HIPP) program helps eligible Medicaid members cover the cost of an employer-sponsored health insurance plan. Kentuckians qualify for KI-HIPP if they or a member of their...

Health departments have another year before pension hikes kick in, but some are already raising taxes

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News While local health departments are more than grateful that legislation passed in the recent special legislative session gives them another year to manage their looming pension crisis, several counties have already asked for a tax increase as a way to help pay for it. The Kentucky Department of Public Health said in an email last week that it had received 63 of...

Healthy Headlines: Vaping, JUULing, e-Cigarettes — by any name they pose a real danger to children

e-Cigarettes have been around since 2006, and by that name most people assume there is nicotine in the product. They are also easy to spot when people use them—they look like a fake cigarette or pipe and produce a noticeable cloud of vapor. Which is why the term vaping is used to describe them. JUULing is a newer form of e-Cigarettes that came on the market in 2017. JUUL is popular among middle...

New hepatitis C treatment service to provide option for patients in parts of Kentucky, Tennessee

A new hepatitis C treatment service will provide an immediate impact for patients living in southeast Kentucky and northeast Tennessee. With the assistance of a USDA grant, Dayspring Health purchased a FibroScan machine for its clinic in Jellico, Tenn. Previously, patients were traveling to Lexington or Knoxville to receive a liver scan to start treatment. “Our community no longer needs to travel...

Skin-cancer rates have spiked among young women; experts advise limiting sun exposure, tanning beds

New research shows that skin-cancer rates have surged among young women, likely because they use tanning beds, but health experts warn that exposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays puts us all at risk, so it’s important to always take precautions when out in the sun. The research, presented at the summer meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology, found that between 1970...

Anthem, Renew Recovery partnership gives Kentucky consumers first in-home addiction treatment program

Through a new partnership between Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Kentucky and Renew Recovery, a Kentucky-based treatment center specializing in substance use disorders, Anthem consumers covered through employer-based and individual health plans now have access to an innovative treatment model that allows them to receive addiction treatment in the comfort of their own homes. This is the first...

Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky seeking input about topics, questions to be included in next KHIP

The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky is seeking input about the topics and questions to be included in the next Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP). The deadline for suggestions is Aug. 9. KHIP is a telephone poll of Kentucky adults, asking their views on key health policy issues likely to come before the legislature or local policy-making bodies. KHIP also asks adults’ opinions on health-related...

Six Kentucky hospitals named among nation’s ‘Best Regional Hospitals’ by U.S. News & World Report

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Six Kentucky hospitals have been named among the nation’s “Best Regional Hospitals” in the annual rankings by U.S. News & World Report magazine. They are, in order, the University of Kentucky hospital, St. Elizabeth Healthcare Edgewood-Covington Hospitals, and in a tie for third, Baptist Health Lexington, Baptist Health Louisville, Norton...

UK gets $11 million grant to decrease cervical cancer in Eastern Ky; focus on smoking, HPV, screenings

The University of Kentucky has been awarded a five-year, $11 million grant to work toward reducing the rates of cervical cancer in Eastern Kentucky, a region that has some of the highest rates of incidence and deaths from it in the nation. The research will address three of the risk factors that contribute to these high rates — smoking, the human papillomavirus (HPV) and low rates of cervical-cancer...