Lisa Gillespie (KPR)

Lisa Gillespie is WFPL's Health and Innovation Reporter. Most recently, she was a reporter for Kaiser Health News. During her career, Gillespie has covered all things health — from Medicaid and Medicare payment policy and rural hospital closures to science funding and the dietary supplement market.

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Kentucky advance practice nurses got a big win in 2014. For the first time, they were able to prescribe routine medications, like antibiotics and blood pressure meds, to patients after spending four years collaborating with a doctor. This applied to…“nurse practitioners, nurse midwives and clinical nurse specialist…”

That was Jessica Estes , a nurse practitioner near Owensboro. She’s also the president of the Kentucky Coalition of Nurse Practitioners & Nurse-Midwives.

So this was a big win for these nurses. Nurse practitioners could basically set up their own shops - free from having to work with a doctor - but only if they didn’t prescribe controlled drugs, like opiates. They still have to have an agreement with a doctor indefinitely to prescribe those controlled drugs.

“We are now finding that APRNs are finding difficulty securing a collaborator , and they have to be of the same or a similar specialty, and licensed in Kentucky. And it’s creating some barriers.”

This ‘collaborative prescriptive agreement’ is a piece of paper, a form if you will. Doctors sign off on it. And every year, those doctors have the option of renewing that collaborative agreement.

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear is suing San Francisco-based drug distributor McKesson Corporation for allegedly “flooding” the commonwealth with opioids.    

“McKesson had a duty to report when it ships large or suspicious amounts of opioids to a state or region. They knew that their shipments to Kentucky were excessive, even grossly excessive. But they simply sent them any ways and didn’t notify the authorities," Beshear said.

BaptistHealth

 Baptist Health providers will soon accept CareSource insurance offered on Healthcare.gov. That’s because starting in 2018, CareSource will be the only health insurance choice for half of the counties in Kentucky on the individual market created through the Affordable Care Act.

“Given that CareSource is going to be the only option in many of these counties, a number of patients and physicians had reached out to us and asked if we’d consider CareSource,” said Donna Ghobadi, a vice president at Baptist Health.

Despite numerous failed legislative attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the Trump administration is rolling out regulatory changes that are likely to clear the way for Kentucky’s plan to remake its Medicaid system.

Kentuckians should have a better idea about where flu outbreaks occur this winter. Officials with the Kentucky Department for Public Health will publish an online weekly influenza surveillance report, to be updated each Friday before noon.

Workers injured on the job received fewer prescription opioids after landmark legislation passed in Kentucky that set up a drug monitoring database, according to a new study out Tuesday.

  An Obama-era program to change how small businesses insure their employees will be majorly scaled back.