A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Department of Justice grant to provide $3.7 million to combat the opioid crisis crippling Eastern Kentucky

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The U S. Department of Justice has earmarked more than $3.7 million in federal grants to combat the opioid crisis in eastern Kentucky. 
The DOJ awards, which will go to six agencies involved in the fight, are part of $320 million in nationwide grants, which coincide with October being observed as National Substance Abuse Prevention Month. 
”President Trump has...

First 72 On You: Tips for animal owners to help prepare pets for emergencies and natural disasters

As part of the Kentucky Department for Public Health’s First 72 Are On You disaster awareness campaign, the department is spotlighting the importance of preparing household pets and animals for emergencies. “If you are like the many animal owners in Kentucky today, your pet is an important member of your household and the best way to protect your pet from the stress and disruption of an emergency...

Report on homeschooling shows enrollment is up and increasing at a faster rate than in nation

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – A report on homeschooling in Kentucky was the topic during a meeting of the General Assembly’s Education Assessment and Accountability Review Subcommittee Tuesday. Report author Deborah Nelson, presenting for the Office of Education Accountability, told the panel that enrollment in homeschooling is increasing across the nation and at a faster rate...

Cabinet for Health and Family Services announces key leadership appointments in various departments

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services has announced the following key leadership positions in various departments. Carol H. Steckel, MPH, is the new Commissioner for the Department for Medicaid Services. Steckel is a Medicaid and managed care expert with more than two decades of experience transforming healthcare delivery systems in several states. Most recently, Steckel served the last five...

Public health officials launch information campaign to increase disaster preparedness efforts

The Kentucky Department for Public Health, within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, is launching the First 72 On You information campaign during the month of September, which is National Preparedness Month. The goal of First 72 On You is to increase emergency preparedness efforts for Kentuckians and their families. A Facebook Live discussion on this important topic will be held on Wednesday...

Public Health tobacco program launches second phase of Quit Now Kentucky information campaign

Quitting tobacco isn’t easy – but Kentuckians don’t have to do it alone thanks to services like the state’s free tobacco quit line, 1-800-QUIT NOW. That is the message behind the Department for Public Health’s (DPH) new public information campaign. It features broadcast, print, and digital advertisements, along with targeted outreach to medical providers and community engagement initiatives...

Recently created adoption and foster care reform committee holds initial meeting in Frankfort

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today A new committee created as part of the adoption and foster care reform legislation passed in the spring met for the first time on Monday. The committee selected co-chairman – Sen. Julie Raque Adams and Rep. David Meade – by acclamation. Meade, who was instrumental in moving the adoption foster care reform bill through legislation, said they are there to “give recommendations...

CHFS offering substance use disorder resources and wellness information at the Kentucky State Fair

Visitors to the Kentucky State Fair in Louisville can get information and expert guidance on substance use disorder/addiction resources and learn more about other health and family assistance programs at the Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ (CHFS) exhibit. The fair opens Thursday and concludes Sunday, Aug. 26 at the Kentucky Exposition Center. The CHFS exhibit will be in the Health Horizons...

Foster care advocates join Kentucky’s initiative to transform child welfare system

Gov. Matt Bevin and First Lady Glenna Bevin announced Wednesday that Chris and Alicia Johnson will join the administration as special advisers in the Office of Faith and Community Based Initiatives. In this capacity, the Johnsons will support the Bevin’s commitment to protecting our state’s most vulnerable children by helping advance statewide foster care and adoption reform. The Johnsons will...

State officials say they are working through details and plan to request re-approval of Medicaid waiver

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today State officials told a legislative committee that they are working through details and will be seeking re-approval of the Medicaid waiver that a federal judge halted last month. Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Adam Meier and Deputy Secretary Kristi Putnam testified before the Medicaid Oversight and Advisory Committee on Wednesday about the status of the...

House Democratic Caucus asks state health officials for detail on how, why Medicaid benefits removed

In a letter sent Tuesday to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, the House Democratic Caucus called on Secretary Adam Meier to offer a more detailed explanation about recent actions that removed three key health benefits for 460,000 Kentuckians enrolled in Medicaid. (Click to read full letter) The letter, which was signed by all 37 House Democrats, was initiated by state Representatives Joni...

CHFS distributing updated resources to help providers check Medicaid benefit eligibility

In response to changes resulting from the recent judicial decision on Kentucky HEALTH, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) is making updated guidance available on Medicaid benefits. “The Department for Medicaid Services (DMS) has not changed any policies relating to the eligibility of pregnant women and children, and they should continue to receive all services, including vision and...

Eric Clark named new commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Community Based Services

A new Commissioner has been named in the Department for Community Based Services (DCBS). Eric Clark begins the role of DCBS Commissioner immediately. Clark is an experienced government administration professional who specializes in organizational leadership, program development, public policy, project management, and advocacy. He has been with the Cabinet since 2015 serving as Legislative Director...

State provides Q&A sheet to providers, patients in wake of ruling blocking Medicaid plan

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News As the Cabinet for Health and Family Services scrambles to deal with the fall-out from a court ruling that vacated the state’s new Medicaid plan, which was set to go into place Sunday, July 1, its call centers and front-line staff are using a new question-and-answer document to help health-care providers advise their Medicaid clients. The document says...

Kentucky’s new Health Secretary Adam Meier makes move from creating policy to delivering it

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News The state’s new health secretary moved from a policy job that he loved to one that puts him squarely into a position of delivering those policies he helped to create, a decision that he didn’t take lightly. Gov. Matt Bevin “didn’t have to twist my arm,” Adam Meier told Kentucky Health News in an interview. “It was a big decision...

Agencies offering new resources for state’s Medicaid recipients transitioning to Kentucky HEALTH

Kentucky HEALTH, the Commonwealth’s new program for certain able-bodied adults receiving Medicaid, begins on July 1, and several state agencies are working to make the transition as smooth as possible for those recipients. “We have numerous print and digital resources now available that will help the people of the Commonwealth understand and take advantage of Kentucky’s new Medicaid program,”...

Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services recognizes human services employees

The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) has recognized several human services staff from across the state for their exemplary service to the commonwealth. The employees, part of the CHFS Department for Community Based Services, were honored at the Governor’s Mansion this week for leadership and accomplishments over the past year. CHFS Secretary Adam Meier told the honorees they...

CHFS names Howard Commissioner of Dept. for Public Health; announces additional changes

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) has made the following announcement regarding key leadership positions in various departments. Dr. Howard Dr. Jeffrey Howard, M.D. is now Commissioner for the Department for Public Health (DPH). Dr. Howard has been acting Health Commissioner since November 2017. Dr. Howard attended Union College, University of Louisville School of Medicine and the...

CHFS cites budget constraints in announcing closure of Eastern State Hospital Long Term Care Facility

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) announced Tuesday the Eastern State Hospital Long Term Care Facility will be closed due to state budget constraints. The facility currently serves 14 residents with acquired brain injuries (ABI) or geriatric residents with long-term care needs. Eastern State Hospital, a state-owned psychiatric facility, is managed by UK HealthCare and primarily serves...

Bevin names Meier as Secretary of Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Putnam as Deputy Secretary

Gov. Matt Bevin announced Thursday the appointment of Adam Meier as Secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Meier will lead policy and operations for the state’s largest cabinet, responsible for human services and healthcare programs. Meier most recently served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy, focusing on the formation of essential administration-wide health, workforce, and...