A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

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...

Whayne Herriford: How do I know if my mental health is OK? Consider four general areas to test yourself

How do I know if my mental health is OK? This is a question I frequently hear when people learn that I am a licensed counselor. And the simple answer is that there is no standard answer. Just like physical health describes our body’s ability to adjust to environmental stimuli or events which challenge its functioning, mental health describes how well we respond to events in our life that challenge...

Federal judges indicate they aren’t likely to revive Governor’s plan for Medicaid work requirements

Federal judges were dubious Friday of Republican Gov. Matt Bevin’s campaign to add work requirements to the Medicaid program, as they heard an appeal of rulings that have blocked it. “People are going to lose coverage … and you haven’t addressed that,” Judge Harry Edwards told Trump administration lawyers during oral arguments at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia...

With rates of depression rising in U.S., mental health experts say online screenings are an important tool

More Americans are using online screening tests to gauge whether depression is playing a role in their health, and mental health experts say that’s a good thing. Just as people might screen for diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure, a depression screening provides a quick way to spot the first signs of what might be a serious mental health issue. Marcie Timmerman, executive director...

Trudy Lieberman: Rising drug prices put pressure on Congress, but drug makers remain a powerful lobby

Maybe – just maybe – Americans will get some relief from the relentlessly rising prices of pharmaceuticals. That, of course, depends on Congress pushing back against the drug companies’ formidable lobbying machine, their generous campaign contributions, and the industry’s historical coziness with members of Congress. But this year seems different. When you consider that the country’s spending...

Kentucky Health officials urge caution regarding vaping as reported cases of severe lung injury rise

The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) continues to monitor and investigate a growing number of cases of severe pulmonary disease related to e-cigarette use or vaping. DPH is working closely with healthcare providers, local health departments, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, the Food & Drug Administration and other states to gather information about this outbreak. “As...

Study says 16 rural hospitals in Kentucky at high risk of closing; another found 35 in poor financial health

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Many rural hospitals across Kentucky are struggling to keep their doors open. And though the numbers vary on just how many are in dire financial straits, the conclusion is the same: in much of rural Kentucky, health care as we know it is in trouble. “We can’t keep doing health care the way that we’ve done in the past, and that’s the bottom...

Lexington-Fayette County Health Department giving free flu shots this Thursday at Fayette Mall

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department is once again giving you the chance to fight the flu for free. The department’s annual free flu shot event will be held 1-7 p.m. this Thursday (Oct. 10) at Fayette Mall, near the interior entrance of Dillard’s. “An annual flu shot is the best way to fight the flu each fall and winter,” LFCHD spokesman Kevin Hall said. “The special clinic lets...

New beverage recommendations for kids say avoid all drinks with sugar — and all plant-based milks

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Health experts from four of the nation’s most prominent health organizations have created a new set of beverage recommendations for children under the age of 5 that basically recommends breast milk and infant formula for infants under the age of 1 and water and cows’ milk for older children. The experts strongly caution against drinks with added sugar,...

Only 8.7% of Kentucky’s school districts are not tobacco-free; foundation expects them to be soon

Kentucky Health News Only 15 of Kentucky’s 172 school districts, or 8.7 percent, have not passed a tobacco-free policy to match a state law that will take effect July 1, 2020, according to the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, which says it expects nearly all of districts to enact the policy before they have to. The law, for which the foundation campaigned, will ban use of all tobacco products,...

Registration now open for Oct. 11 conference in Grand Rivers on substance abuse, addiction

The Kentucky Rural Health Association is hosting the Western Kentucky Regional Community Education Day, designed to educate and stimulate community discussion around substance abuse and addiction. This year’s event is titled, “The Addiction & Substance Abuse Communities at a Crossroad.” Attendance is free, but registration is required. The conference will run from 9 a.m. to 3...

Louisville campaign aimed at decreasing high suicide rate of LGBTQ+ youth with focus of parental support

A new campaign in Louisville is working to decrease the high suicide rate among high school students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning by emphasizing the importance of parental support. In the United States, high school students who identify as LGBTQ are almost five times more likely to attempt suicide than their cisgender, heterosexual peers, according to the National...

Food and Drug Administration stressing importance of vaccination in wake of measles outbreaks

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is reiterating the importance of vaccinations, such as the MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella. According to the FDA, the U.S. continues to experience cases and outbreaks of measles, largely due to unvaccinated or under-vaccinated segments of the population. The MMR vaccine is being stressed to protect against...

Healthy Headlines: Flu season is upon us, best time to get vaccinated is before the end of October

The leaves turning colors, a crispness in the air, pumpkins appearing on every corner – it must be fall. Along with pulling out the jackets and autumn décor, it’s important to also take protective steps for your health by getting your annual flu shot. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu vaccines are created to match viruses that have been circulating through the population....

Schuster wins top health policy advocacy award for more than 40 years of work in mental health field

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Sheila Schuster, who has spent more than four decades advocating for those with mental illness and other disabilities, and worked to increase access to health care across Kentucky, was named the first Gil Friedell Health Policy Champion to a standing ovation by an audience from all over Kentucky. The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky award was presented at the...

Sellout crowd at Kentucky forum hears there’s no scientific literature to back medical cannabis

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News The health benefits of medical marijuana haven’t been proven and more research is needed, according to a leading researcher on the topic, but that hasn’t stopped 33 states from approving it. It’s still to be determined what will influence Kentucky lawmakers as they again consider passing such a law. In the last legislative session, Kentucky...