A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Beshear, McConnell settlement over Medicaid funding secures $383 million for rural hospitals

Gov. Andy Beshear and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday announced $383 million in state and federal dollars for 54 rural hospitals by settling a 13-year-old dispute regarding Medicaid funding rates. The settlement negotiated by Beshear, with support from McConnell, successfully convinced the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to offer funding in combination...

Beshear reports 315 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths; asks for green lights and caring from Kentuckians

As of Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Andy Beshear said there were at least 14,141 coronavirus cases in Kentucky, 315 of which were newly reported. Beshear reported 11 new deaths Tuesday, raising the total to 537 Kentuckians lost to the virus. The deaths reported Tuesday include a 52-year-old woman from Allen County; three women, ages 77, 77 and 91, and a 90-year-old man from Clark County; a 78-year-old woman...

Kentuckians give varied reasons regarding their decision whether or not to wear face masks

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Research clearly shows that wearing a face mask when out in public can effectively curb the transmission of the novel coronavirus, for which there is no vaccine, but Americans and Kentuckians are divided on whether it’s necessary. “Recently, I started not to wear it because I feel like I’m young and healthy, so I feel like I probably wouldn’t...

In discussion of health equity for people of color, call to action includes addressing unmet social needs

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Addressing health disparities and inequities requires a commitment to address the unmet social needs that contribute to poor health, and that holds true in both African American and rural communities. That was the underlying message in a July 12 webinar hosted by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, titled “Covid-19 and Health Equity in Kentucky: Beyond...

New coronavirus cases continue to increase across Kentucky, but hospitalizations are on the decline

Kentucky Health News chart compares daily case numbers with rolling average for past seven days. By Al Cross and Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Gov. Andy Beshear reported 258 new cases of the coronavirus in Kentucky Friday, the sixth day out of the last seven that the number has risen. Following his recently revised schedule, Beshear did not hold a press conference Friday, but issued a press...

Beshear plans to restart Kynect, the health-insurance marketplace his father launched in 2013

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Gov. Andy Beshear has said he will restart the state health-insurance exchange that his father, then-Gov. Steve Beshear, began in 2013 under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Kynect was dismantled in 2017 by Republican Matt Bevin, who served between the two Democrats. Beshear announced that he had told federal officials of his intent to move to...

Alpacas could be secret weapon against COVID-19; UK researchers say antibodies potential defense

By Elizabeth Chapin University of Kentucky Alpacas Big Boy, Blue Eyes and Emperor may hold the key to combating COVID-19. Their antibodies could offer a defense against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease. University of Kentucky College of Medicine researchers are using the special antibodies made by alpacas, called nanobodies, to help understand the novel coronavirus and potentially develop...

Dr. Kevin Kavanagh: The virus is winning, and COVID-19 will not be defeated by false narratives

Society is struggling on two fronts, both for social justice and at the same time to control a raging epidemic. The epidemic of COVID-19 may be with us for a long time — and those who try to minimize it are doing so by placing front-line workers and economically disadvantaged populations at risk. I have been asked by many if I am on the side of the far right, whose narrative trivializes the dangers...

Infectious disease specialist offers tips for keeping your family safe and healthy at the pool this summer

Hanging out by the pool is a beloved summer pastime, but COVID-19 has changed the way we live and play in 2020. Still, many Kentuckians are craving a cool dip as summer temperatures rise. In May, Gov. Andy Beshear announced that some public pools could open by the week of June 29, albeit with protocols in place for the safety of swimmers and employees. And home owners who have postponed vacations...

As masks become controversial, evidence mounts that they work in fight against COVID-19

As masks become controversial, evidence is mounting that they work in the battle against COVID-19. This is according to several studies. “Several new studies published this month support wearing masks to curb the transmission of the novel coronavirus,” The Washington Post reports. The broadest piece of research “concluded that data from 172 observational studies indicate wearing face...

Registered nurse turned administrator Mike Schroyer named president of Baptist Health Floyd

A registered nurse turned hospital administrator with 13 years of experience in Hoosier healthcare has been named president at Baptist Health Floyd. Mike Schroyer will begin work on July 20. The Noblesville, Indiana resident was chosen following a nationwide search by a community-based committee. He is currently president for St. Vincent Anderson Northeast Region. The Illinois native has worked with...

Study cites benefits of telehealth; authors say mental teleheath ‘clinically equivalent to in-person care’

As people across the nation have been asked to shelter in place because of the novel coronavirus, never before has the importance of telehealth, especially for mental-health care, become more evident, says a commentary in The Journal of Rural Health. The authors assert that mental-health therapy over video platforms “has been demonstrated as clinically equivalent to in-person care.” Before...

Estimated coronavirus infection rates suggest hotspots moving to Louisville-Bluegrass corridor

Hotspots for the coronavirus in Kentucky appear to be moving from a gaggle of counties in near Western Kentucky to more urbanized counties along Interstate 64. Franklin County has the highest estimated rate of transmission, 1.36, on the CovidActNow website, which estimates rates for counties that have a sufficient number of cases and also categorizes counties by risk level, based on their hospitalizations,...

UofL researchers part of $17 million investment to fast-track studies on effects of vaping, nicotine

By Betty Coffman University of Louisville The American Heart Association is investing nearly $17 million to fund a two-year research initiative, ENACT (End Nicotine Addiction in Children and Teens), led by a national network of scientists focusing on the health impacts of e-cigarettes and other nicotine delivery systems on youth and young adults. As part of this network, researchers at the University...

UK, Somerset Community College team up to confront COVID-19 with 3D-printed face masks

By Kevin Puckett, Jenny Wells-Hosley, and Alicia Gregory University of Kentucky As the world continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Kentucky continues its work to confront the virus through innovative research and collaboration. With funding and support from Kentucky’s National Science Foundation-sponsored Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR),...

Pandemic has thwarted vaccinations; many vaccine-preventable illnesses are more deadly to kids

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Some Kentucky children have likely fallen behind in their routine immunizations because of the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, putting them at risk for measles, whooping cough and other life-threatening illnesses. Health experts say now is the time to get them caught up. “The risk of vaccine-preventable illnesses has not gone away due to...

Virus cases up, but Beshear says state fair is on, businesses can soon return to 50 percent capacity

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News The number of coronavirus cases in Kentucky jumped again Tuesday, to 245, after two days of the lowest numbers the state had seen in some time, but Gov. Andy Beshear announced another relaxation of restrictions and gave the state fair a mostly green light. “Today’s numbers again show the virus is still out there,” Beshear said at his daily briefing....

Louisville COVID-19 antibody initiative receives $1.5 million to expand testing, launch ‘virus radar’

By Betty Coffman University of Louisville The Co-Immunity Project, a groundbreaking collaboration to track and curb COVID-19 in Kentucky, has received $1.5 million from the James Graham Brown Foundation, as well as additional gifts, to expand community coronavirus testing and launch a public ”virus radar” for understanding its spread. “We are deeply grateful for this timely philanthropic support...

Children’s health experts provide advice to parents on teaching their kids to wear face masks

By Jenna Cook and Ashley Rapske Kentucky Children’s Hospital It can be a difficult adjustment for kids to wear a face mask. Many kids may not be used to seeing others wearing a mask in public, let alone having to wear one themselves. Here are some tips for kids over the age of 2 that may help: • Kids will react differently to wearing a mask depending on their age. Start by explaining what a face...

Uptick in state’s coronavirus cases accelerates over weekend; 65 percent of new cases in Jefferson Co.

Kentucky Health News chart shows cases reported each day for the last month. (Click on it to enlarge.)> By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Gov. Andy Beshear announced 319 new cases of the coronavirus on Saturday, one of the highest numbers the state has seen in weeks. “The virus is still out there. I know we’re tired. I know we all just want to have a normal summer,” Beshear said in a news...