Kentucky's largest health care system on Thursday said it is terminating contracts at all its facilities with Medicaid managed care provider Coventry Cares. KentuckyOne Health — which formed earlier this year to operate Saint Joseph Health System and Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's HealthCare — said the terminations will be effective Nov. 1 for Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's HealthCare and Dec. 1 for Saint Joseph Health System.
Thousands of Kentuckians with HIV or AIDS could have access to more effective treatment because of health care reforms if advocates and providers inform state officials what's needed to make it work — now. "It's like building a plane while we are flying a plane," said Amy Killelea, senior manager for health care access for the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors, a national advocacy group. Killelea spoke Wednesday, the second day of a two-day conference on AIDS and HIV that drew advocates and health providers from across Kentucky to Lexington.
The percentage of Kentucky adults who are obese is smaller than its was, but the state is still 10th in the country, according to a new, influential analysis by Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The report found 30.4 percent of Kentucky adults are obese, an improvement from last year's 31.5 percent and the state's sixth-place ranking. The numbers do not include the percentage of adults that are merely overweight.
Kentucky lawmakers are frustrated by the lack of information on the state’s incoming health insurance exchange. The exchange is required under the healthcare law, and will allow Kentuckians to compare and purchase insurance plans. At a meeting of the joint Health and Welfare committee, many lawmakers prodded members of the executive branch for details on the costs and operations of the exchange. But answers were lacking.
FRANKFORT – Visitors to the Kentucky State Fair in Louisville this month can get information to help their families’ health and well-being through free screenings and educational activities at the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services exhibit. The interactive display, which will be located in the Health Horizons section of the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center’s South Wing B, features a chance to speak one on one with health educators and learn more about family services.
With cases of swine flu popping up in adjoining states to the north, officials are taking precautions to prevent the disease from spreading at the Kentucky State Fair's Swine Pavilion. The fair starts Thursday. The state veterinarian staff will be inspecting all swine — between 650 and 675 pigs — and looking for signs of flu, which includes coughing, sneezing and labored breathing. Animals showing symptoms will be evaluated and tested for the disease. Exhibitors coming from out of state must show a certificate of veterinary inspection with 72 hours of arrival, The Courier-Journal reports. Fairgoers are encouraged to wash their hands frequently.
Some doctors in Kentucky fear they may face criminal charges or penalties for legitimate prescriptions and clerical errors under the new law designed to curb prescription drug abuse. Lawmakers will review the regulations to House Bill 1 passed this year to crack down on illegal pill mills and will have a hearing Wednesday in Frankfort to get input from the medical industry. While the law is intended to target corrupt doctors, many in the medical community say the extensive standards for controlled substances will make it much harder for patients in need of prescription pain medication to get their medicine.
This time of year can be a peak period for mosquitoes. But, environmental health officials in Lexington are not seeing big problems so far. Aside from the nuisance of itchy bites, mosquitoes can carry serious diseases. When the West Nile virus came on the scene several years ago, Luke Mathias with the Fayette County Health Department says his office received a flood of calls. He says now the calls register about 25 a month.
Papa John's CEO John Schnatter did more than put the Affordable Care Act under the microscope this week, he threw it in a hot oven, saying the law will increase the price of a pizza by 11 to 14 cents. But an editorial in The Courier-Journal arguesall Schatter did was prove the law's value.
Kentucky was ranked first in the country for power plant pollution, with the state's emissions growing by 27 percent — or 10 million pounds — in 2009 and 2010, a study by the Natural Resources Defense Council found. While Kentucky's emissions have gone up, the rest of the country saw a 19 percent decrease, NRDC said.
With students and teachers returning, school food-service directors are working to implement the new federal school lunch regulations that take effect this year. This would be a good story for local news media, since it affects almost every student. As school resumes, another school food program is up for debate. Congress is deciding whether frozen, canned and dried produce should be included in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program.
Overworked nurses dealing with heavy patient loads are associated with increases in hospital-acquired infections, say researchers with the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.
Centers for Disease Control officials in Atlanta say 29 human cases of the new strain of the H3N2 swine flu have been confirmed in the last year, including 12 last week. Ten of the new cases were linked to the Butler County Fair in southwest Ohio. Butler County is just north of Cincinnati's Hamilton County. The fair ended last weekend. None of the cases have been tied to human-to-human transmission and all 12 of the new patients had close contact with swine prior to getting sick. The two other new cases occurred in Hawaii and Indiana. (CBS News photo)
Water quality continues to trouble several streams in Fayette and Scott counties. The state is taking public comment through early September. Portions of seven streams in two central Kentucky counties flow into the Cane Run Watershed. And, Eric Liebenauer with the State Division of Water, says people should avoid all seven. “All of them are impaired for what’s called primary contact recreation, which is basically full body immersion. In layman’s terms, we think of that as swimming,” said Liebenauer.
Backers of an effort to ban smoking in all public places in Kentucky took their message on the road this week in hopes of getting legislation passed in the 2013 legislation session. The Smoke Free Kentucky Coalition swept through the state's largest cities to gather support for a final punch to be delivered at the annual Fancy Farm political picnic in Graves County Saturday.
A more tamper resistant driver’s license will start popping up in wallets across Kentucky. The new dual side laminated card includes a digital watermark, hologram, and very fine print. State Driver’s Licensing Director Bill Heise says the installation of new cameras and computer equipment will prompt a one-day interruption in the processing of driver’s licenses. “We will maximize that time in providing training and swapping out equipment. And then, they will be available to open up to the public the following morning,” said Heise.
August is here and it may be time for a flu shot. Public health officials say it’s not too early for protection against influenza. Two workers at a Lexington pharmacy this week erected a ‘Get your flu shot here’ sign in the parking lot. Getting a flu shot once meant an early-autumn trip to a doctor’s office or a pharmacy. But ,State Epidemiologist Craig Humbaugh says the earlier, the better. “It’s really never too early to get an annual flu shot, so we recommend that, as soon as flu shots are available and people are able to get em, this is a great time for folks to start getting their annual flu vaccination,” said Humbaugh.
The Kentucky Standard's Randy Patrick deftly shows how the federal health-care reform law is having an effect at the individual level by telling the story of Bonnie Varnell, a Nelson County resident who is uninsured and is more than $65,000 in debt due to her fight against cancer.