A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Montana looks at Kentucky’s past to understand the future of governor’s health nominee Adam Meier

By Katheryn Houghton and Laura Ungar Kaiser Health News The nominee to be Montana’s next health director faced an unwieldy disease outbreak and pushed Medicaid work requirements — two issues looming in Montana — when he held a similar job in Kentucky. Montana senators will soon decide whether to confirm Adam Meier, Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte’s pick for director of the state Department of...

Kentucky hospitals to follow higher quality standards to get more money from Medicaid

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News With up to 28 rural Kentucky hospitals vulnerable to closure if their financial situation does not improve, the announcement of a new payment model to increase the amount Kentucky’s hospitals are paid for Medicaid patients is cause for their celebration. “Improved reimbursement for Kentucky’s hospitals is vital for their survival. Medicaid…...

Dr. Dale Toney: As pandemic continues, access to health care more vital than ever for Kentuckians

Insurance plays a vital role for everyone in our health care system, whether you’re enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid, an employer-sponsored plan or one off the marketplace. But what happens if insurers refuse to cover the vital services you need to manage your health and connect with your doctors? This has been a growing concern among patients and their physicians for years but has escalated as we...

Humana provides $20,000 donation to Kentucky Primary Care Association PPE warehouse

The Kentucky Primary Care Association (KPCA) is working to help its provider members obtain and maintain an adequate supply of personal protective equipment (PPE). Today, KPCA is proud to announce a $20,000 donation from Humana t1hat will help complete a PPE warehouse. David Bolt, CEO of Kentucky Primary Care Association (pictured on left) accepts a $20,000 donation from Jeb Duke, Regional President,...

Judge orders state to keep Anthem in Medicaid, cites role of former Beshear aide in bidding process

A Frankfort judge ordered the state Friday to keep Anthem Inc. as one of its managers of Medicaid, an $8 billion program that pays for health care for one of every three Kentuckians. Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd’s order “comes just days before the state is set to begin enrolling people in Medicaid health plans for 2021 on Nov. 2, and as the state is facing record enrollment of...

More than a third of Kentuckians on Medicaid after lost jobs, streamlined enrollment due to pandemic

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Kentucky has added more than 250,000 people to its Medicaid rolls since the coronavirus pandemic came to the state in early March, bringing the percentage of Kentuckians on the federal-state health plan up to 36 percent. “As of today, more than 1.6 million people have enrolled in Medicaid,” Health Secretary Eric Friedlander said at Gov. Andy Beshear’s...

Commentary: An open letter to Sen. Mitch McConnell from Kentucky Voices for Health

Kentuckians and people who are struggling all across the country are counting on you for leadership. In the face of a global health crisis that has infected nearly 55,000 Kentuckians – and killed more than 1,000 of our friends, family members, and neighbors – your constituents need real relief. This pandemic is nowhere near over and the last round of federal relief passed in May isn’t enough...

Emily Beauregard: Medicaid is essential for many Kentucky families in midst of economic downturn

With COVID-19 cases on the rise and key provisions of the CARES Act expiring at the end of July, the prospect of losing unemployment benefits, facing eviction, being unable to put food on the table, and having to return to school or work in an unsafe environment is looming for many Kentuckians. Any progress Kentucky has made in keeping our residents safe and healthy could be undone without the sustained...

Passport Health Plan, which lost Medicaid contract, selling key assets to new manager Molina Health

By Lisa Gillespie Kentucky Health News Molina Health, in line to be one of Kentucky’s newest Medicaid managers, will be the successor to Kentucky’s oldest one, Passport Health Plan. Louisville-based Passport recently lost out on bidding to stay in the state’s Medicaid business, but its name, brand and networks of doctors won’t disappear after all. Last year Passport lost out in Medicaid contract...

Pandemic, job losses and easy eligibility push Medicaid enrollment in Kentucky to a record high

More Kentuckians than ever are on Medicaid, due to job losses caused by the pandemic and the resulting relaxation of eligibility rules for the program, John Cheves reports for the Lexington Herald-Leader. “After slowly falling for two years, the number of Kentuckians enrolled in Medicaid shot up by 10 percent to 1.45 million as tens of thousands of people lost their jobs — and typically, their...

Bluegrass Care Navigators marks anniversary of Bright Path; specialized medical care for children

Bluegrass Care Navigators is celebrating the one-year anniversary of its pediatric palliative care program, Bright Path. Since its launch in June 2019, more than 30 families have benefitted from this program dedicated to children. Bright Path offers specialized medical care for infants, children, adolescents, and young adults who are living with a serious illness. The goal of Bright Path is to provide...

Rob and Lauren Hudson: Letter of Common Ground about freedom and health care

Letters for families based on the book “It Can Be Done” @studentsleadusa We write to comment on calls for more government control of healthcare markets. We begin with the positive. Our healthcare system has delivered remarkable medical technology and advances, leading to longer lives and some of the most effective treatments in the world. It’s no secret, however, that healthcare has become very...

Trudy Lieberman: Losing your job can mean losing health insurance; a guide to replacing your coverage

The growing numbers of unemployed Americans – likely to hit 20 million or more due to the coronavirus – bring with them a loss of employer-provided health insurance coverage. The pandemic has laid bare the deficiencies in America’s main vehicle for providing health insurance. The system, which grew up after World War II as a way to attract workers, had already begun to decline. Over the past...

Dr. Julie Daftari: Kentucky needs to continue worthwhile conversation about telehealth

For Kentucky, one outcome of the COVID-19 crisis is the increasing and worthwhile dialogue about telehealth – which may enable people to connect 24/7 with a health care provider via a digital device and avoid potential exposure risks associated with in-person trips to health care facilities. Increasingly in Kentucky, telehealth can be a relevant tool in a person’s health care toolbox. This is especially...

Gov. Beshear announces more actions aimed at protecting Kentucky families in COVID-19 pandemic

Gov. Andy Beshear Wednesday announced more actions he is taking to help combat the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and protect Kentuckians. “This is our duty. This is the challenge that we face in our lifetimes,” Gov. Beshear said of people doing their part to stop the coronavirus. “None of us have seen anything like this before, but I believe we are up to it. I believe we can do this,...

Clinicians suspected Kentucky’s first case of coronavirus, but patient didn’t qualify for testing

Crystal Miller, head of the health department serving Harrison County, at a press conference Saturday. Others, L to R: Gov. Andy Beshear; Health Commissioner Steven Stack; Harrison County Judge-Executive Alex Barnett; Cynthiana Mayor James Smith; and Mark Newman, head of UK HealthCare. (Photo from KHN) By Melissa Patrick and Al Cross Kentucky Health News Kentucky found its first case of the new coronavirus,...

John Inman: Ky’s rural healthcare facilities are in crisis — and Senate Bill 50 will further reduce access

Kentucky’s rural healthcare facilities are in crisis. Our Commonwealth is ranked as having one of the highest percentage of hospitals at risk of closure in the nation with nearly one-fourth of rural hospitals in Kentucky at risk of closure. The most at-risk of closure are the small, nonprofit or public safety-net hospitals. These hospitals, along with nonprofit primary care clinics known as Federally...

Dennis Keene: Beshear’s proposed budget moves Kentucky forward, reverses effects from years of cuts

In my previous roles at Southbank Partners and as the 67th district representative, my mission was to fight for economic development and growth for Northern Kentucky. Now, as the commissioner for the Department for Local Government (DLG) I am broadening that purpose by collaborating with local officials across the commonwealth to improve every community. So far, I am encouraged by Gov. Andy Beshear’s...

Legislation to legalize medical marijuana overwhelmingly clears House committee

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Legislation to legalize medical marijuana in Kentucky easily won passage in a House committee on Wednesday. “We want to get this to as many sick people as we possibly can,” said Rep. Jason Nemes, R-Louisville, the main sponsor of the bill, which has undergone much fine-tuning before coming before the House Judiciary Committee. “As part of that, 13.5 percent of the...

Emily Beauregard: More Kentucky young children lack health insurance, but things could be changing

If you’ve ever had young children, you know how often they need to see a doctor. With well-baby appointments, routine immunizations for toddlers, and screenings for development milestones with preschoolers, pediatricians recommend that children have 15 check-ups by the time they’re 6 years old. That’s why it’s so alarming that the number of children under age 6 without health coverage is growing....