A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Leaky Bucket update shows state still struggling to slow spending

Kentucky continues to struggle to slow state spending in key areas that are diverting funds from investments in education, according to a new report from the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. The Leaky Bucket: 10 Years Later, released Tuesday, is an update of the Chamber’s original report that identified corrections, Medicaid and public employee benefits as major budget leaks that were consuming tax...

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....

Commerce Lexington releases legislative agenda in preparation for 60-day regular legislative session

Commerce Lexington Inc. has released its legislative agenda developed by the Public Policy Council and aimed at improving Kentucky’s business climate. The group’s advocacy position statements guide the organization’s advocacy efforts for the year.    Click to access full reportReview the 2020 LEGISLATIVE FOCUS to learn about issues Commerce Lexington Inc. will be tracking on behalf...

Ky. taking advantage of five-year-old federal policy allowing more kids on Medicaid to get healthcare

Trimble County school nurse Nellie Hewitt takes as student’s temperature at Bedford Elementary School. After a federal rule changed five years ago, states are billing Medicaid for health care provided in schools. (Photo by Amy Wallot, Kentucky Teacher) By Michael Ollove Pew Charitable Trusts A mountain of evidence proves it: Good health translates to better student performance. Children who have...

Insure Kentucky: Strong safety net programs are vital in helping communities across Kentucky thrive

Safety net programs like Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) fill gaps in access to food, financial support and medical care across the commonwealth. Recently, these critical programs have been in the public conversation. Members of the Public Assistance Reform Task Force have concluded their work and recommended further...

Pew Trusts: The politics of Medicaid expansion have changed; trend appears likely to continue in 2020

By Michael Ollove Pew Charitable Trusts Year by year, resistance to extending Medicaid to more low-income Americans in conservative states has given way. That trend seems likely to continue into 2020. In some states, Democratic governors who favor expansion have replaced Republicans who were stalwart opponents. GOP critics have had a change of heart in some holdout states. And in several Republican-led...

Medicaid program for employer-sponsored insurance premiums has new application process

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News A program that will pay the premiums of working Medicaid members who have access to insurance through their employers has a “new and improved” application process, the state says. The voluntary program, called the Kentucky Integrated Health Insurance Premium Payment program or KI-HIPP, allows Medicaid members to sign up for their employer-sponsored...

Kentucky receives approval to provide increased access to Medicaid health services for students

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) has received final approval for a Medicaid state plan amendment that will expand health services in schools. The change to Medicaid will be phased in during the current school year, and approval for direct services reimbursements to school districts is retroactive to Aug. 1. “Approval of this amendment is a game-changer,” said CHFS Secretary Adam...

Open enrollment for federally subsidized health insurance begins this Friday, runs through Dec. 15

Open enrollment for federally subsidized health insurance in Kentucky next year will begin this Friday (Nov. 1) and run through Dec. 15. Plans will cost more or less than this year, depending on the insurer and the type of plan. And many consumers will have more choices. (Click for larger image) Policies offered on the federal insurance exchange by Anthem Health Plans of Kentucky will be an average...

Attorney General Andy Beshear announces $40 million in settlements in two drug lawsuits

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Attorney General Andy Beshear announced settlements in lawsuits against two drug companies Wednesday that are worth nearly $40 million. “Oftentimes it takes years, sometimes it even takes almost a decade, to hold these large companies accountable for the harms they inflict on our families. Today, we have won two of those battles,” Beshear told a Capitol press conference...

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...

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...

U.S. Court of Appeals to hear oral arguments Friday related to Kentucky’s Medicaid work requirement

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service The U.S. Court of Appeals for Washington, D.C., will hear oral arguments today in a case concerning Gov. Matt Bevin’s changes to Kentucky’s Medicaid program, known as Kentucky HEALTH. Earlier this year, a federal judge blocked the new rules, which would have required Medicaid recipients to work or volunteer for 80 hours a month in order to receive...

Medicaid changes will allow Kentucky’s local school districts to expand behavioral health services

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Local school districts will soon be able to hire more licensed psychologists, counselors and other behavioral health professionals, thanks to upcoming Medicaid changes that will allow schools to use federal dollars. Kristi Putnam, deputy secretary of the state’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services, says schools will be able to offer more supports to help...

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,”...

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...

Report shows Ky. lawmakers fall short on cancer-fighting policies; state tops nation in cancer deaths

Kentucky is falling short when it comes to implementing policies and passing legislation to prevent, reduce suffering and death from cancer, according to the latest edition of “How Do You Measure Up?: A Progress Report on State Legislative Activity to Reduce Cancer Incidence and Mortality.” “This report shows that we must do more to reduce suffering and death from cancer. But we have the power...

CHFS, KDE leaders visit Dayspring Health Clinic, a possible beneficiary of proposed Medicaid plan

Kentucky is optimistic that phased-in implementation of expanded school health services will be possible during the 2019-20 school year, through a Medicaid state amendment known as “Free Care.” Leaders from the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) and the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) traveled to Williamsburg Independent School District (WISD) on Wednesday. The visit...

Deep study finds only 36% affected by Ky’s proposed Medicaid work rule aren’t meeting them already

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Gov. Matt Bevin says “hundreds of thousands” of able-bodied adult Kentuckians on Medicaid should be working but choose not to. But when his new Medicaid “community engagement” rules were set to kick in last July, only about 48,000 people on the program were short of meeting the requirements, according to a study of Medicaid records and...

State says it won’t tolerate poor treatment of independent pharmacies in Medicaid program

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Kentucky legislators were assured last week that the state is committed to resolving the payment issues that the states’ independent pharmacies have with pharmacy benefit managers in Medicaid, issues that the pharmacies have said are so bad they threaten their survival. “We are not going to tolerate it, and we will do whatever we have to do to ensure...