A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Pandemic exposes problems in funding for Kentucky’s non-hospital public health system

From 2010 to 2018, Kentucky’s non-hospital public health expenses per resident dropped 32 percent, more than any state but South Carolina and Nevada, which dropped 55 and 33 percent, respectively. A comprehensive story by reporters for The Associated Press and Kaiser Health News says “The U.S. public health system has been starved for decades and lacks the resources to confront the worst health...

Flu spreads in Kentucky as holiday season begins; best advice is to get vaccinated, don’t shake hands

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Kentucky has seen 785 laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza since the flu season started in late September, and health officials say there are many more. So far the hot spot has been around Hazard. A recent uptick in cases has prompted the state health department to upgrade the state’s flu activity level to “regional,” a classification that...

New state health commissioner Jeffrey Howard’s sincerity, passion ‘a breath of fresh air’ for Kentucky

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Kentucky’s recently installed health commissioner is a 30-year-old doctor, two years short of being a surgeon, a goal he still plans to achieve. But right now he’s in charge of public health in a state with huge health issues, and local health departments with big financial issues. Dr. Jeffrey Howard is still learning. He will graduate from Harvard...

Bevin administration says state funded syringe exchanges must be one-for-one after initial supply

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News The administration of Gov. Matt Bevin is requiring syringe exchanges funded by state grants to be limited to one-for-one trading of clean needles for dirty ones, raising the chance that all such programs might have to do likewise. Republicans said in the last legislative session that the 2015 law allowing syringe exchanges was intended to only allow a one-to-one...