A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

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....

Attorney General announces more than $170,000 returned to Medicaid program as part of multistate agreement

Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced that the Office of Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Control returned more than $170,000 to the state’s Medicaid program as part of a multistate agreement with web-based electronic health records company Practice Fusion, Inc. The agreement settles allegations that the company accepted payments from specific drug manufacturers in exchange for promoting the same manufacturers’...

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...