Beshear Outlines Policies For Veteran Health Care

Jul 18, 2019
Ryland Barton

Attorney General Andy Beshear is appealing to Kentucky veterans with a set of health-related programs and policies he’d work toward if elected governor in November.

“We have a special duty to our veterans whose health care needs so often come from the sacrifice that they have made for our country,” Beshear said, adding that he wants to address some of the biggest challenges of vets.

“Our health care plan is designed to make sure that we can provide the services we need to stop those suicides, to stop that substance abuse. And to truly be there for our veterans.”

Kentucky Reports Drop In Drug Overdose Deaths In 2018

Jul 18, 2019
Mary Meehan

Kentucky officials are reporting the first statewide drop in drug overdose deaths since 2013.

A report issued Thursday says 1,333 people died from drug overdoses in 2018, down from a record 1,566 deaths the prior year. The decline follows years of steady increases in the death toll, driven mostly by surges in opioid abuse, heroin and fentanyl.

The report says the largest drop in fatal overdoses occurred in Jefferson County — Kentucky’s most populous county.

creative commons

Kentucky health groups will push to raise the tobacco sales age to 21 and create a tax on e-cigarettes and vapes in the upcoming 2020 state legislative session.

The Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow wants a Kentucky law that would raise the age for the sale of tobacco products — including e-cigarettes — to 21. Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell has introduced a bill that would raise the age nationally, but Coalition President Ben Chandler said Kentucky should pass its own law.

Creative Commons

Life expectancy in the United States has declined for the third year in a row, driven in part by a rise in mortality among working-aged white Americans.

A new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation sought to pinpoint where mortality was worsening, and why. Researchers found higher rates of mortality among rural white women who live in Kentucky, as well as in Appalachia and other states across the south and central part of the country.



Dr. Patrice Harris took the oath in June to become the first African-American woman to serve as president of the powerful American Medical Association, the largest professional association for physicians in the United States.

Harris also brings another unique perspective to the task as someone who grew up in rural Appalachia.

"I was born and raised in Bluefield, West Virginia, in the heart of coal country," Harris said. "My father worked on the railroad. My mother taught school. So I have a unique and personal connection and understanding of the region."


A group of Kentucky nurses is being tasked with traveling to jails and other locations across the commonwealth to administer vaccinations for Hepatitis A.

At least 18 vaccination events have been scheduled through August, including one taking place Friday at the Fayette County Detention Center.

Kentucky is one of several states suffering from recent outbreaks of Hepatitis A, a highly contagious liver infection.

The fate of the Affordable Care Act is again on the line Tuesday, as a federal appeals court in New Orleans takes up a case in which a lower court judge has already ruled the massive health law unconstitutional.

Indiana Is Latest State To Roll Out Medicaid Work Requirement

Jul 8, 2019
Carter Barrett | Side Effects Public Media

A few dozen people stand on Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis to protest the state’s new work requirements. “Hoosier healthcare is under attack,” a protester yells through a megaphone. “What do we do? Stand up fight back.”

Starting July 1, tens of thousands of people who receive health insurance through Indiana’s Medicaid expansion are required to report work hours or other activities.


Becca Schimmel

Refugees facing language barriers are entitled to an interpreter when they go to the doctor, but what many don’t understand is that the responsibility of providing an interpreter falls on the medical provider.

When a refugee, immigrant, or anyone who isn’t fluent in English goes to the doctor, that provider is required to make an interpreter available. It’s a right secured by the federal Civil Rights Act outlawing discrimination based on national origin.

J. Tyler Franklin

U.S. Senator Rand Paul said he wants to see lower prices and more transparency in the health care industry, but he doesn’t support the methods being used by President Trump.

Trump recently signed an executive order to increase pricing transparency for patients before they receive healthcare services. The order aims to bring prices down by letting people shop around. 


Paul, a Republican from Bowling Green, said that’s not exactly how the health care market works. 

This article was produced in partnership with nonprofit news organization MLK50, which is a member of the ProPublica Local Reporting Network.

This year, a hospital housekeeper left her job just three hours into her shift and caught a bus to Shelby County General Sessions Court in Memphis, Tenn.

KentuckyOne Health

After more than two years of being up for sale, the future of Louisville’s Jewish Hospital is unclear. If the downtown hospital closes, it will leave countless patients looking for care elsewhere. But nearby facilities don’t necessarily have capacity, and they can’t begin to hire more staff to address the needs until a decision is made about Jewish.

In 2017, parent company Catholic Health Initiatives announced Jewish Hospital, the Frazier Rehab Institute, Sts. Mary’s and Elizabeth and Jewish Hospital Shelbyville were up for sale following financial troubles. University of Louisville Hospital explored finding a partner to buy the hospital with, but earlier this month  said the effort failed.

T.J. Samson Community Hospital

Supporters of a new Hospice Home in Glasgow are one step closer to getting the project finalized.

A $2 million USDA Rural Economic Development Loan has been secured on behalf of the T.J. Community Mission Foundation, which is planning to break ground on the new facility this fall.

Farmers RECC secured the loan for the foundation.

T.J. Regional Health CEO Neil Thornbury said the foundation decided in 2015 to address the shortage of residential hospice homes for patients needing end-of-life care in the Glasgow region.

Flickr/Creative Commons/John Bratseth

An annual report measuring the health and well-being of Kentucky children shows progress in nine categories, including the number of children without health insurance, children living in poverty and children whose parents lack secure employment. But the state still lags behind the nation in these areas, including in the rate of teen births, and children living in single-parent families.

According to the annual Kids Count Data Book, the rate of children living in poverty in Kentucky is higher than the national average: about 22 percent of Kentucky kids lived below the federal poverty line in 2017. That’s compared to a nationwide average of about 18 percent. The federal poverty level in 2017 was $20,420.


  Even though most of Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposed changes to Kentucky’s Medicaid system are still locked in a court battle, treatment for drug addiction will be expanded under the program starting July 1.

Kentuckians on Medicaid are currently eligible for some substance use disorder treatment, but the expansion will include coverage for methadone, an addiction medication not previously covered by Medicaid, and up to 30 days at a residential drug treatment facility.

Carol Steckel, commissioner of Kentucky’s Department of Medicaid Services, says the program will assist the state’s fight against the opioid crisis and other substance addictions.