A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

BBB Trends: It’s Military Appreciation Month, veterans; advice — beware of pension poachers

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau May is National Military Appreciation Month, an observance that encourages citizens to honor current and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces, and those that perished in the line of duty in pursuit of American freedom. But even the noblest of ideals won’t deter unscrupulous individuals out there looking to make a few quick bucks or steal the identity of the...

As school nurse programs are threatened, medicaid money made available for physical, behavioral health

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Many of Kentucky’s school districts have long struggled to pay for school nurses, let alone professionals in behavioral health care. And now some health departments may no longer be able to provide nurses because they will have to pay more into their employees’ pension system. Deputy Secretary Kristi Putnam (Photo from KHN) But schools are about to...

Federal judge’s ruling blocking Medicaid work requirements leaves many confused about eligibility

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service The Kentucky HEALTH program, which would have required Medicaid recipients to work or volunteer in order to get health coverage, will not begin this week. A federal judge recently blocked implementation of the program, originally slated to go into effect Mon., Apr. 1. And yet, many Commonwealth residents remain confused about their eligibility. The state says Medicaid...

Judge again blocks Ky’s Medicaid plan with work requirements; Bevin administration eyes ‘next steps’

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News A federal judge in Washington has again blocked Gov. Matt Bevin’s attempts to require many people on Medicaid to work or do other forms of “community engagement,” saying that such rules don’t square with Medicaid’s objective to give low-income people health care. U.S. District Judge James Boasberg also ruled March 27 against similar...

Beshear investigating pharmacy benefits managers for over-billing, discrimination against independents

Attorney General Andy Beshear announced March 21 that he is investigating pharmacy benefit managers, the “middlemen” between drug companies and health insurers, including Kentucky’s Medicaid program and state-employee health plan. Beshear is investigating whether PBMs have overcharged the state “and discriminated against independent pharmacies,” his office said in a press...

Kentucky is first in nation for use of antibiotics, new awareness campaign aims to curb inappropriate use

Kentucky has the highest rate of antibiotic use in the United States, and the University of Louisville School of Medicine is trying to do something about it. The school’s Department of Pediatrics has mounted a campaign to highlight the need for education and awareness on antibiotic overuse in Kentucky, and to reduce inappropriate use of antibiotics in the state. “Although antibiotics are important...

Kentucky senate to take up two separate bills proposing additions to Medicaid coverage

Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Two new bills introduced in the Kentucky Senate would require Medicaid to cover dental and eye doctor visits and would prohibit healthcare providers from charging co-pays to Medicaid recipients. Current dental coverage for Kentucky adults receiving Medicaid is limited. Senate Bill 78 would allow them the same range of dental care as children and young adults, including...

New Department of Medicaid Services recommends increased regulation of Pharmacy Benefit Managers

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services Department for Medicaid Services (DMS) and Office of Health Data and Analytics has released a new report on the state’s pharmacy benefit program. “MEDICAID PHARMACY PRICING: Opening the Black Box”  looks at the impact and role of Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs), which serve as intermediaries between Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) and pharmacies....

CHFS releases updated Medicaid budget predictions, Kentucky HEALTH timeline for 2019

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services has released updated guidance regarding the implementation of Kentucky HEALTH, which was re-approved in November by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The new information includes updated implementation milestones for various components of Kentucky HEALTH that will be phased-in during 2019. On April 1, Kentucky HEALTH will begin with many...

Delays announced to implementation of parts of Bevin administration’s Medicaid waiver

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Some parts of the Bevin administration’s implementation of the Medicaid waiver that was granted by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, are being delayed.   
The Cabinet for Health and Family Services on Thursday released updated guidance regarding Kentucky HEALTH, which was re-approved in November by CMS. 
Kentucky HEALTH, an acronym for...

Dustin Pugel: Kentuckians need more from the economy, so stop blaming the safety net, get to work

As decision-makers go after the very assistance that hundreds of thousands of low-income Kentuckians use to help make ends meet, the harm to families and communities deepens. Erecting barriers to participation in food assistance, Medicaid and other programs ignores what is really holding back Kentuckians: there are not enough quality jobs in the state, especially in rural communities. A prime example...

Government shutdown delays lawsuit against Governor Matt Bevin’s Kentucky Health Plan

The partial shutdown of the federal government has slowed the lawsuit challenging Gov. Matt Bevin’s plan to revamp Kentucky’s Medicaid program with work requirements and premiums starting April 1. The judge handling the case in Washington, D.C., gave federal lawyers an extra week to file briefs, after denying their motion for an indefinite stay. The acronym in the name of the state’s...

New poll of Kentucky voters shows wide majority oppose reduction in Medicaid coverage and services

A new poll shows that Kentucky voters by a 2 to 1 margin believe the state should leave Kentucky’s Medicaid program as it is, with no reduction in the number of people who are covered. By a similar margin, they oppose cutting back dental, vision and non-emergency transportation services, even if dental and vision care could be “earned” back through required activities. The reductions in coverage...

State has approval for new rules for Medicaid participants, including some ‘work’ requirements

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – The federal government has again approved new rules for some of Kentucky’s Medicaid participants, including a community engagement component of either going to school, getting a job or volunteering in the community to keep their government health coverage. 
The Medicaid waiver is known as Kentucky HEALTH, an acronym for Helping to Engage and Achieve...

Analysts tell health advocates Medicaid budget ‘shortfall’ described by state officials premature

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News The warning from the administration of Republican Gov. Matt Bevin that some Medicaid benefits may need to be cut because of a budget shortfall over the next two fiscal years has caused unnecessary alarm, a research and policy analyst for the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, said at the Kentucky Voices for Health annual meeting in Lexington Oct. 19. Dustin...

New report shows Medicaid expansion has had significant impact in Ky., especially in rural areas

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service New research illustrates the significant impact Medicaid expansion is having in Kentucky, especially in rural areas. Among states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, according to the findings, uninsured rates for low-income adults living in rural areas and small towns fell more than three times more than in non-expansion states. As early adopter...

New report shows uninsured rate leveled out four years into Affordable Care Act, and probably rose

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News In the fourth full year since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was implemented, the percentage of Kentuckians without health insurance remained about the same, and probably increased. 2017 was the first year the percentage hasn’t dropped since the program’s inception in 2014, according to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau, with...

Comment period for Kentucky HEALTH Medicaid beneficiary work mandate ends midnight Saturday

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service Time is short for Kentuckians to weigh in on the state’s request to mandate work requirements for Medicaid beneficiaries. The deadline for a federal comment period on the Kentucky HEALTH plan is Saturday at midnight. Under the proposed waiver, Medicaid expansion beneficiaries would need to meet an 80-hour-per-month work requirement in order to continue receiving...

Pew Trusts: Kentucky among several red states willing to expand Medicaid in exchange for work

Editor’s Note: This story is part of Stateline’s 2018 Legislative Review. By Christine Vestal Pew Charitable Trusts Kentucky Republican Gov. Matt Bevin says he doesn’t want more able-bodied poor people to get Medicaid in his state unless a portion of them are required to work. And when Republicans in Virginia agreed to expand Medicaid this year, they also said recipients who are able...

Bevin administration to reinstate dental and vision care for thousands of Medicaid recipients

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Dental and vision care for thousands of Medicaid recipients in Kentucky will be reinstated by Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration, according to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. 
The benefits were cut at the end of June, following a federal judge blocking Bevin’s plan to overhaul the state’s Medicaid program.  Democrats and public health advocates spoke...