A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

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...

Kentucky’s 26 member-owned nonprofit electric cooperatives part of state’s clean energy future

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service This month is National Cooperative Month, and Kentucky’s 26 electric co-ops supply power to 1.5 million Commonwealth residents in all 120 counties. Electric cooperatives are member-owned, not-for-profit utility companies, often serving rural areas. Unlike a traditional utility that is beholden to its stakeholders, said Rachel Norton, an energy specialist...

Kosair Charities to host training aimed at educating Kentuckians on recognizing signs of child abuse

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Training sessions on how to recognize early signs of child abuse will be held this week in Louisville and Lexington. The events, run by Kosair Charities’s “Face It” movement, are designed to educate social workers, early-childhood educators, emergency medical service providers and concerned community members on how to spot red-flag bruising on children....

New report shows 16 percent of Kentucky’s children are growing up in concentrated poverty

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service The economy may have bounced back from the Great Recession, but that hasn’t helped the 163,000 Kentucky children living in concentrated poverty, according to a new report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Patricia Tennen, chief operating officer of Kentucky Youth Advocates, says stagnant wages, rising housing costs and lack of job opportunities for parents,...

New health rankings show Kentucky 44th in health of woman and children, but there are bright spots

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Kentucky ranks 44th in the nation when it comes to the health of women and children, according to a new America’s Health Rankings report. Chief medical officer for women’s health at Optum, Dr. Linda Genen, said bright spots for the state include a jump in the number of insured women and in the percentage of mothers choosing to breastfeed their babies. More...

Congress considering legislation that would stop surprise out-of-network medical billing charges

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Congress is considering legislation to stop surprise medical bills. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, in 2017, 7% of Kentuckians received at least one out-of-network medical charge. Katy Spangler with the Coalition Against Surprise Medical Billing said the Lower Health Care Costs Act would help protect consumers. Several years ago, when she was having...

Vietnam Veterans invited to belated “welcome home” Thursday at Fort Campbell Army Base

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Vietnam veterans will receive a proper “welcome home” this Thursday, in a special ceremony at Fort Campbell Army base. Organizers say the event aims to celebrate and thank service members, many of whom were scorned when they first came home from the war decades ago. Memphis resident and Vietnam veteran Harold Beaver is traveling to Fort Campbell to...

Decline in amount of funding per student across state has consequences for local school districts

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service State funding per student in Kentucky is on the decline with consequences for local school districts and communities, according to an analysis by the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy. Ashley Spaulding, the center’s senior policy analyst, says the state education budget includes both state and federal dollars, and that the state’s portion of that...

As prices continue to skyrocket, more and more diabetics in Kentucky can’t afford cost of insulin

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service The cost of insulin is skyrocketing, and health-care advocates want Kentucky lawmakers to take action to stop it. According to the American Diabetes Association, the list price of insulin has jumped by 64% since 2014. In August, Louisville resident Angie Summers told the state’s Interim Joint Committee on Banking and Insurance that she’s had to self-ration...

Lawmakers urged to fund ‘complete overhaul’ of Kentucky’s aging national park infrastructure

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Eight in 10 registered voters support cleaning up and repairing the nation’s aging national parks, according to a poll by The Pew Charitable Trusts. House lawmakers are considering legislation that would channel up to $6.5 billion in funding to the National Park Service to begin upgrades to crumbling roads, outdated water and sewer systems, and eroding trails...

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...

Pressure builds for Ky. Blackjewel miners to get back pay, but they pledge to hold out until others also paid

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Pressure is building for Blackjewel miners in eastern Kentucky to get their back wages. But the laid-off miners blocking coal shipments there intend to hold out until former employees of the bankrupt company in several other states are paid as well. Jeff Willig from Harlan County is one of the group that’s been dubbed the “Fab Five” – the...

Allstate agents offer financial education classes to Kentucky domestic violence survivors

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Allstate insurance agents are helping domestic violence survivors with financial literacy by teaching financial education classes at shelters across the Commonwealth. Kimberlie Rigsby is an Allstate agent in Brown County who also is a domestic violence survivor. She teaches women the basics of budgeting, bank accounts and credit scores. Rigsby says many people...

Kentucky program pays farmers to work with local food banks to provide those in need local produce

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Many Kentucky farmers are participating in a statewide program that channels produce to local food banks. The program – one of the first of its kind in the country – pays farmers to harvest, pack and transport produce from the field to families in need. In 2018, more than 3 million pounds of fresh produce were distributed to Kentuckians in need through the...

Office of Drug Control policy report shows Ky’s overdose deaths decline for the first time in six years

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service For the first time since 2013, drug overdose deaths among Kentucky residents are on the decline, according to a report released by the state Office of Drug Control Policy. The 15% drop is a turning point from the more than 1,400 Kentuckians who overdosed and died in 2017. Drug overdose deaths in Kentucky decreased by 15% in 2018, yet fentanyl continues to be...

Kentucky ‘Strike Team’ offering hepatitis A vaccines at county jails, other locations to curb outbreak

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service The Kentucky Department of Public Health’s “Strike Team” of nurses is offering hepatitis-A vaccines at county jails and other locations across the state. The effort comes as Kentucky’s hepatitis-A outbreak has become the deadliest in the country, with a death toll of 58. In some rural communities, said Dr. Jeff Howard, Department of Public...

Government report shows agriculture lenders still discriminating against women, farmers of color

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Women and minority farmers are consistently denied agricultural loans, according to a report released this month by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. Farmers and ranchers rely on loans to buy land and purchase supplies and equipment. Most farmers in need of cash apply for credit through commercial banks, a network of lenders known as the Farm Credit System,...

Franklin County Court Judge Phillip Shepherd rules Kentucky’s death penalty protocol unconstitutional

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service A Franklin County judge has ruled the state’s protocol for carrying out the death penalty is unconstitutional. The ruling by Judge Phillip Shepherd came in response to a case filed by a group of death-row inmates, who argued corrections department regulations don’t protect people with intellectual disabilities. Kentucky spends about $10 million annually...

Hundreds of veterans from across U.S. coming to Louisville for 39th annual Wheelchair Games

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Hundreds of veterans will be in Louisville next week to compete in the 39th annual National Veterans Wheelchair Games. Men and women with spinal-cord injuries, amputations and other impairments will compete in a variety of sports. U.S. Army veteran Ted Rake is coming from Indiana to be part of the games. Rake was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in his 40s, and...

Kentucky Center for Economic Policy report indicates staying in jail in Ky. may depend on where you live

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Where you live in Kentucky might determine whether you stay in jail before trial because you can’t afford the cash bail, according to a new report from the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy. Researchers found the number of people released from jail before their trial without monetary conditions differs drastically depending on the county – from just 5%...