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.

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.

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.

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.

Facing Shortfall, Kentucky Mulls Ending Medicaid Expansion

Aug 30, 2018
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Republican Gov. Matt Bevin's administration could eliminate Kentucky's expanded Medicaid program to avoid a $300 million shortfall.

Former Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear expanded Kentucky's Medicaid program in 2014 under former President Barack Obama's health care law. The expanded program now covers more than 400,000 people.

Bevin opposed the expansion because he said it cost too much money and did not make people healthier. In January, the federal government gave Kentucky permission to impose work requirements on some Medicaid recipients. But a federal judge blocked the program.

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.

UK College of Medicine

The first class at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine campus in Bowling Green will be welcomed with a white coat ceremony Friday. The coating ceremony symbolizes the transition into medical school.

In 2016, the UK College of Medicine announced plans for regional campuses in Bowling Green, Morehead and Northern Kentucky. The Bowling Green campus is the first to open and will be a complete medical school program. Don Brown is the Assistant Dean at UK College of Medicine’s Bowling Green campus. He said the new institution will help address a physician shortage in the state, while providing new opportunities for Kentuckians.

Creative Commons

Supporters of new marijuana laws in Kentucky are trying to get the word out about the positive effects they say cannabis can have on the state.

They’re holding an event Tuesday night in Henderson featuring information and speakers from several groups advocating change to Kentucky’s current marijuana laws.

Grace Henderson is the director of the Kentucky Cannabis Freedom Coalition chapter in Henderson.

WFPL

A new poll shows a significant drop in the number of Kentucky adults who say they’ve been prescribed pain pills.

The Kentucky Health Issues Poll says 34 percent of adults in the state say they got prescriptions for pain medicine over a five-year period leading up to, and including, 2017.

That’s a drop of 21 percentage points from a similar poll taken in 2011.

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A new study says having a state-based individual health insurance mandate in place next year would greatly benefit Kentucky.

Congress eliminated the individual health insurance mandate contained in the Affordable Care Act, effective in 2019.

The study by the Urban Institute and Commonwealth Fund estimates having a state-based mandate would mean premiums payed by Kentuckians next year would be 17 percent cheaper compared to what those costs would be without a mandate in place.

Flickr/Creative Commons/ Lora Zibman

More than 2,000 Kentuckians will have to pay more to receive Medicaid benefits that help them avoid nursing homes. The news comes after state officials said they’ve been charging the incorrect amount for over half a decade.

The change is scheduled to take effect on August 1 and applies to people with disabilities who receive at-home and community-based Medicaid services in Kentucky and make more than $750 per month.

Kentucky Health Cabinet officials say that for more than 5 years, the state hasn’t been collecting the correct amount for the “patient liability”— the amount beneficiaries have to pay every month.

Lisa Gillespie

Cathy Rhoden-Goguen’s first experience with ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ orders came last year, two days after her father, Robert Rhoden, was admitted to Baptist Health Corbin with abdominal pain. Her phone rang at 5:24 a.m., and a nurse told her she needed to get to the hospital. Her father’s heart rate was dropping.

“So I ask her, ‘Has he been moved to ICU?’ And she said that he had a DNR, so they couldn’t move him to ICU,” Rhoden-Goguen said.

Thirteen minutes later, before she could get to the hospital, her father’s heart stopped and he died. He was 76 years old.

“There was no treatment and the basis for them refusing to treat him was the fact that he had signed a DNR,” Rhoden-Goguen said.


Creative Commons

Kentucky is taking steps to counteract one of the fastest growing hepatitis C infection rates in the nation.

Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus that can lead to liver infection if untreated. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, abdominal pain, and jaundice.

It’s most commonly spread when people share needles or other equipment to inject drugs.

A law that went into effect July 1 made Kentucky the first state to require health care providers to test pregnant women for the virus.

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