A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

UK provides update on $15 million KeY Treat study aimed at eradicating hepatitis C in Perry County

By Allison Perry University of Kentucky On Wednesday, University of Kentucky officials provided updates on the recently launched Kentucky Viral Hepatitis Treatment Project (KeY Treat), a three-year, $15 million study co-funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) with the ultimate goal of eradicating the hepatitis C virus (HCV) in Perry County. Led by UK...

Trudy Lieberman: Low-value tests are costly, can lead to harm; limit medical costs by avoiding them

We know too well the cost of American health care keeps rising as far as the eye can see. In 1995 health care accounted for 13.4 percent of GDP; in 2018 it consumed 17.7 percent. It is projected to rise even more. Despite all the talk about how patients should become wise consumers of medical care, they can’t really do much to stop the big hospital systems, big physician groups, or powerful drug...

Flu cases dip in new year, but still much higher than last season; 21 deaths from flu confirmed in Ky.

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Influenza has killed 21 people in Kentucky this season, two under the age of 18, according to the state Department for Public Health. The latest weekly report shows that the flu activity in the state has dropped a bit in the first two weeks of the year, compared to the last two weeks of 2019, when the state was reporting more than 2,000 new cases each week. In...

Shelley Shearer: Oral cancer may be more common than you think; self-check and consult your dentist

There are nearly 50,000 new cases of oral cancer in the United States each year, accounting for three percent of all cancer diagnoses. Most are discovered in a dental office. Oral cancer is caused by the uncontrolled growth and reproduction of cells in some regions of the mouth. It can occur inside the cheeks, under the middle and front of the tongue, or on the tissue lining of the mouth or gum. That’s...

Whayne Herriford: Establishing and maintaining boundaries in relationships is key to mental health

For many of my clients, one of the sources of both depression and anxiety is their ability to establish and maintain boundaries with other people. In therapy, boundaries are the limits or rules we set for ourselves and others in relationships. It’s based on our understanding of what we want or need in our lives and how we are willing to allow people to help us fulfill them. Boundaries often are...

Baptist Health Lexington nurses honored during DAISY Nurse Leader Awards ceremony

Two longtime nurse leaders at Baptist Health Lexington were honored for outstanding service at a DAISY Award ceremony on Tuesday, Jan. 14 at the hospital. Karen Hill, left; and Lindsay Bowles, right; present the DAISY Nurse Leader Award to Laura Dicks during a ceremony on Tuesday, Jan. 14 at Baptist Health Lexington. (Photo from Baptist Health) Laura Dicks, BSN, RN, MBA, HPNA, Director of the Palliative...

Smoke-free advocates rally in Frankfort for measures to decrease soaring youth use of e-cigarettes

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Kentucky’s Coalition for a Smoke-free Tomorrow rallied in Frankfort this week to call on state lawmakers to pass several measures aimed at decreasing electronic-cigarette use among the state’s youth, a phenomenon that continues to surge. Between 2017 and 2019, e-cigarette use more than quadrupled among the state’s middle-school students and...

Kentucky Health Issues Poll finds majority of adults in Commonwealth favor tax on e-cigarettes

Tobacco remains the single most preventable cause of disease and death among Kentuckians. However, the nature of tobacco use is changing, particularly with the rise of e-cigarettes. Commonly known as vapes, vape pens or hookahs, e-cigarettes use a battery and a heating element to deliver nicotine vapor to the user. To better understand the attitudes and opinions of Kentucky adults about e-cigarettes,...

Kentucky’s nurses are influencing policy and public health in the “Year of the Nurse”

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service The World Health Organization has declared 2020 the “Year of the Nurse” in celebration of Florence Nightingale’s 200th birthday. Nightingale is considered the founder of modern nursing. In Kentucky, nurses are expanding their roles in communities. Executive Director of the Kentucky Nurses Association Delanor Manson said the state would benefit...

Age to buy tobacco is 21 thanks to federal legislation; state law pending, health advocates are pleased

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News The minimum age to buy tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, is now 21. Legislation to raise the age from 18 passed Congress as part of the year-end spending bill and was signed into law by President Trump Dec. 20. The “Tobacco 21” legislation, co-sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., gave...

Transportation problems, lack of confidentiality among barriers to accessing rural syringe exchanges

By Heather Chapman Kentucky Health News Rural residents who inject drugs say they are less likely to access syringe exchange programs because of transportation problems, inability to get to the service at times it’s open, and concerns about stigma, lack of confidentiality and law enforcement. So says a newly published study examining barriers that can prevent people who inject drugs (PWIDs) from...

Kentucky Health Collaborative joins forces against lung cancer to diagnose more cases, earlier

By Andrea Slone University of Kentucky Kentucky Health Collaborative (KHC) Members are joining forces to bridge the gap between high-quality health care providers and services and the poor health outcomes of Kentuckians. As a part of KHC’s mission to improve the quality of health in Kentucky, the KHC Executive Committee has prioritized the need to reduce lung cancer mortality as the KHC’s first...

Department for Public Health promotes free text service to help young Kentuckians quit vaping

The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH), within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), encourages teens and young adults who want to quit vaping to get free help from This Is Quitting, a nationwide texting service. CHFS and DPH officials say cessation services such as This Is Quitting are critical for young people and emphasized that many will be impacted by the recent federal law...

With flu cases on rise nationwide, take some simple steps to get your new year off to a safe start

There are several simple ways to protect yourself from the flu, says a Purdue University associate professor of nursing. (Illustration by Dan Page, via Purdue University) By Matthew Oates Special to KyForward It might be the start of a new year, but many Americans are still battling a flu bug from last year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting an increase in influenza and influenza-like...

Glasgow physician Brent Wright named 2020 Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky board chair

Dr. Brent Wright, a Glasgow family medicine physician, is the incoming board chair at the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. He began his term as chair on January 1. Dr. Brent Wright A lifelong Kentuckian, Dr. Wright is the associate dean for rural health innovation at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, where he collaborates with numerous parties both in and outside the university. Dr....

Passport Health Plan moves forward with West Louisville project, releases RFP for development

Passport Health Plan is taking the next step to revive the construction of its planned headquarters development at Louisville’s intersection of 18th and Broadway. The health plan, which administers Medicaid benefits to more than 300,000 members statewide, has announced it is releasing a Request For Proposals (RFP) the week of Jan. 6 to identify parties interested in developing the prominent site....

Cases of flu keep accelerating in Kentucky; there’s still time to get a flu shot

Kentucky Health News Influenza kept spreading faster in Kentucky in the week ended Dec. 21, the last week for which the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state Department for Public Health have issued a weekly flu report. The report said 1,339 new cases of flu were reported that week, another big jump from the 814 new cases reported the week before. During this flu season,...

KAEPS: Lifestyle choices may help glaucoma patients preserve eyesight — early detection matters

Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of vision loss, affecting about 3 million people in the United States. Because there are no symptoms early on, about half of people with the disease don’t know they have it. Once vision is lost to glaucoma, it can’t be regained. During Glaucoma Awareness Month in January, the Kentucky Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons joins the American Academy of...

FDA finalizes enforcement of unauthorized flavored cartridge-based e-cigarettes that appeal to children

Amid the epidemic levels of youth use of e-cigarettes and the popularity of certain products among children, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Thursday issued a policy prioritizing enforcement against certain unauthorized flavored e-cigarette products that appeal to kids, including fruit and mint flavors. Under this policy, companies that do not cease manufacture, distribution and sale of unauthorized...

Mather named Inspector General at Cabinet for Health and Family Services, bringing experience to the role

Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) Acting Secretary Eric Friedlander has announced that Adam Mather has been appointed the agency’s Inspector General. Friedlander said Mather is an excellent choice to serve in the job. Mather “Adam brings leadership and attention to detail to the position of Inspector General, and he will ensure accountability and integrity throughout our regulatory...