Health

J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

A legislative task force formed to address emergency diabetes needs in Kentucky met for the first time this week. The group, made up of legislators who are physicians, doctors, firefighters and more, met in Frankfort on Thursday.

Christel Aprigliano, chief executive officer of the Diabetes Patient Advocacy Coalition, presented to the task force. She said she’s experienced legal obstacles as a type 1 diabetes patient, but said Kentucky lawmakers could improve things.

office of the Surgeon General

In a comprehensive new report on the opioid crisis, the U.S. surgeon general writes that stigma remains a major barrier to treatment and urges a more supportive approach to those in need.

Surgeon General Jerome Adams wrote in his Spotlight on Opioids report that stigma has prevented people with opioid use disorders from seeking treatment.

“The way we as a society view and address opioid use disorder must change,” Adams wrote. “Individual lives and the health of our nation depend on it.”

Senate Opioids Bill Takes Aim At Fentanyl Imports

Sep 19, 2018
Mary Meehan

The U.S. Senate has approved a bipartisan package to address the nation’s opioid crisis with more resources for addiction treatment and recovery and an emphasis on stopping the flow of the the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl.

The Senate approved the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 by a 99-1 vote Monday night including a version of Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman’s Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention, or STOP, Act. Portman said he hopes to address the impact fentanyl has had on his constituents. Ohio has some of the nation’s highest overdoses death rates.


Public Domain

Kentucky health officials want to avoid a repeat of last year’s flu season that reached an epidemic level. 

The flu virus killed 325 Kentuckians and sickened more than 10,000. 

A coalition that also includes the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and the Kentucky Medical Association launched a statewide flu prevention campaign on Tuesday.

Aaron Payne

New data from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health show a rare bright spot amid the opioid crisis. Fewer high schoolers in the region appear to be using opioids.

School officials in the Ohio Valley want to continue that trend with more school-based programs designed to help prevent substance use disorders. But these are not the same drug prevention programs many people remember from their school days.

These new prevention efforts use a different approach as officials learn from past mistakes. Drawing on evidence from prevention science, these programs emphasize the behavioral health issues tied closely to addiction, rather than focusing on the drugs themselves.


Creative Commons

A new report shows the number of Kentucky’s preschoolers who are obese dropped by about 5 percent between 2010 and 2014. However, the obesity rankings for the state’s high school students and adults were among the worst in the U.S.

 

According to the State of Obesity report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Kentucky has the eighth highest adult obesity rate in the nation. The obesity rate for the state’s children ages 10 to 17 is the 14th highest in the country.

Last year more than 20 percent of the state’s high school students were obese. The adult ranking wasn’t much better. More than 34 percent of adults in Kentucky were obese in 2016.

Rate of Hepatitis A Infections May Be Slowing

Sep 11, 2018
LIGHTWISE / 123RF STOCK PHOTO

Kentucky has more than 1,600 cases of Hepatitis A, but Public Health Commissioner Dr. Jeffrey Howard says that rise in cases has prompted people outside of the high risk groups to recognize the seriousness of the outbreak and the opportunity for prevention.

“The message is getting out there load and clear and it is making people more receptive to vaccine,” he said.

Hepatitis A has been especially hard on the large number of people in Kentucky who already had another liver disease, Hepatitis C. Howard says nearly all the people who have died from Hepatitis A also had diagnosed with Hepatitis C.

Kentucky Launches Emergency Preparedness Campaign

Sep 11, 2018
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Kentucky’s Department of Public Health launched a campaign to urge Kentuckians to prepare for disasters. It’s called “First 72 On You.”

“The first three days are pretty much when you’re more likely to be on your own, and you need to sustain yourself and your family before help can arrive,” said Heather Walls, Medical Reserves Core coordinator with the Kentucky Department of Public Health. “I would be able to sustain myself or my family in my home for 72 hours — I don’t have any big needs — but someone who has an elderly family member that needs dialysis, those are the people that emergency personnel respond to first.”

Owensboro Health

Owensboro is getting its first family medicine residency program.

The effort is a partnership between the University of Louisville School of Medicine and Owensboro Health and is scheduled to open in 2020.

The three-year program is expected to start with a class of six resident physicians and admit an additional six physicians each year.

Rhonda J. Miller

Western Kentucky University is launching a new center focusing on the health and wellness of the growing demographic of older adults in the state and the nation. The new Bowling Green facility opens Sept. 11.

The Center for Applied Science in Health and Aging combines several research specialties, including exercise, communication and psychology.  The center will expand current projects that take a holistic approach to the issues facing older Kentuckians.

Wikimedia Commons

A Daviess County pharmacist says the demand for Hepatitis A vaccine continues to grow in the face of a statewide outbreak.

Jigna Wilson, with Wilson Family Pharmacy in Owensboro, says her office is keeping busy filling requests for the vaccine from doctors’ offices and customers.

Wilson’s pharmacy is offering to take the Hepatitis A vaccine to the homes of customers who aren’t able to get out.

A Texas hospital that charged a teacher $108,951 for care after a 2017 heart attack told the patient Thursday it would slash the bill to $332.29 — but not before a story about the huge charge sparked a national conversation over what should be done to combat surprise medical bills that afflict a growing number of Americans.

The story of Drew Calver was first reported by NPR and Kaiser Health News on Monday as part of the "Bill of the Month" series, which examines U.S. health care prices and the troubles patients run up against in the $3.5 trillion industry.

Your kid can grow up, even join the Army and go to war, and you'll still do dad things when he comes back. David Toombs would make his son lunch.

"I always made him extra, just in case he got hungry or he wanted a snack or he was running low on money. So I made his lunch like a typical dad," says Toombs.

Toombs worked right next to his son, John, at a steel die shop in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

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Kentucky officials on Monday heard from the public on proposed state regulations that would go into effect if the federal government approves controversial Medicaid changes, also known as Kentucky HEALTH.

Those changes were blocked in June when a federal judge struck down the Trump administration’s approval of the Medicaid overhaul, after an advocacy group filed suit against the federal government. In July, the federal government re-filed the Medicaid waiver and opened a new comment period for those changes. That comment period just ended, and it’s likely changes will be re-approved at some point in the future.

Flickr/Creative Commons

A new non-profit group in Kentucky is advocating state health care tax reform as a way to fund the state’s Medicaid expansion.

Balanced Health Kentucky is asking state lawmakers to review all of the health care industries in the commonwealth, and consider how much they are—or aren’t—being taxed.

Kentucky expanded the number of people eligible for Medicaid in 2014 under then-Governor Steve Beshear, a Democrat.

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