Health and Welfare

Stu Johnson / WEKU News


A new program aimed at expanding training to better protect children from sexual abuse is being launched across Kentucky.  Attorney General Andy Beshear and First Lady Glenna Bevin are partnering in the effort.

Beshear said 1 in 10 Kentucky children will be sexually abused before age 18.  He says we have a moral obligation and a legal duty to report abuse.  “The abuse affects their interaction with society, impacts their education and careers, and often leads to substance abuse and mental health issues later in life,” said Beshear.

UK Doctors Offer Advice Regarding Zika Virus

Feb 9, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

  The Zika virus cases in Central and South America are certainly getting attention in the U.S.  Health officials at the University of Kentucky are offering some advice.

Dr. Derek Forster, UK’s medical director in Infection Prevention and Control, says there are no known Zika cases in Kentucky.  Still, pregnant women or those planning to get pregnant are advised not to travel to countries where the mosquito borne virus is causing birth defects. 

Lexington Outreach Center Expands to Include Medical Care

Jan 19, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

A Lexington nonprofit offering a variety of services for low income residents is expanding its program to include medical assistance.  It includes a focus on education and treatment.

Fort Knox

The aging Ireland Army Community Hospital at Fort Knox is being replaced with a new medical clinic.  It’s one of several wins for the Hardin County post contained  in the latest defense bill passed by Congress.

During a visit to Fort Knox Tuesday, Senator Mitch McConnell announced $80 million in federal funding for the project.  The current hospital was built nearly 60 years ago, making it one of the oldest in the Army.  

Commonwealth Fund

States initiatives to expand health insurance coverage through either traditional Medicaid or private insurance have equally good outcomes for low-income adults, according to a study released Tuesday.

The Harvard’s School of Public Health study compared survey results from 5,600 low-income adults in Kentucky, Arkansas and Texas.

The study was released as Kentucky’s new governor mulls reforming the Medicaid expansion. Kentucky expanded its Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act while Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear was in office. Arkansas, however, used federal dollars to pay for private health insurance for low-income adults.

Kentucky Police On Lookout For Impaired Drivers During Holiday

Dec 30, 2015

As we ring in the New Year law enforcement officers across Kentucky will be monitoring traffic for impaired drivers. State Police Spokesman Robert Purdy says rather than getting behind the wheel intoxicated, holiday party-goers should opt for a taxi, a ride sharing service, or staying put.  “Not worth getting out on the roadway risking hurting yourself, somebody else, killing somebody, killing yourself, or even being arrested and being charged with DUI,” Purdy said.  “All those options are very costly.”

Inmates, Staff Treated After Rockcastle Jail Fire

Dec 23, 2015

    The Rockcastle County Detention Center is closed today following an overnight fire.  Several inmates and staff were treated at a local hospital for smoke inhalation. No serious injuries were reported.

Louisville Metro Public Health can provide new syringes to people regardless of whether used syringes are exchanged, according to the state Attorney General’s Office.

Louisville’s health department is operating what’s called a needs-based negotiation model, which provides multiple clean syringes regardless of whether participants bring in dirty ones.

The opinion issued Monday was requested by Senate President Robert Stivers,  a Republican from Manchester.

Depression Comes with Holiday Season for Some

Dec 21, 2015

    This time of year prompts all kinds of feelings for people, including depression.  A University of Kentucky psychiatrist says help comes through reaching out to family and friends.

Dr. Teresa Geveden says the first holiday following the loss of a loved one can bring about sadness.  The director of UK’s Outpatient Services for Psychiatry says people experiencing these emotions need not feel like this is unusual.  “I think it’s very important to recognize those feelings and to acknowledge them, they’re normal," she said. "They’re a part of who we are." 

Lexington to Launch Homeless ‘Street Outreach’ Program

Dec 15, 2015

    Plans are being developed for a ‘street outreach’ program in Lexington.  It will focus on direct contact with the hard to reach homeless population.


State officials hope new federal funding will help reach foster children with emotional and behavioral issues.  The aim is to catch mental health issues early on.

Second Surge of Deer Along Kentucky Roads Anticipated This Month

Dec 11, 2015

Mid-December is regarded as the second wave of increased deer activity.  Mark Marraccini with Kentucky Fish and Wildlife says it’s referred to as the “second rut” for deer that weren’t bred in November.  He says the Commonwealth is recognized nationally for its deer population.  “It’s ranked number one in the country, both in quality and numbers and many outdoor magazines, national magazines have said Kentucky is the number one place to go deer hunting,” said Marraccini.

ITN-Bluegrass To Reach Milestone Ride

Dec 11, 2015

The Bluegrass chapter of the Independent Transportation Network is expected to reach a milestone Friday morning.  The non-profit will complete its 50,000th ride in Fayette County.

ITN-Bluegrass is a charitable service for people aged 60 and over, and adults with visual impairment. Executive Director Laura Dake says the membership service began in 2008 during a difficult economic period.  “We started unofficially the month that gas prices were $4.15 a gallon and then our first official ride was the month the stock market crashed,” said Dake.

Stu Johnson / WEKU News

    A new mobile cancer screening van will soon travel Kentucky roads from Paducah to Pikeville.  Governor Steve Beshear and First Lady Jane Beshear participated in Friday’s unveiling at Keeneland.

UK Performs Record Number of Heart Transplants

Dec 3, 2015

Heart transplant teams at the University of Kentucky have performed a record number of procedures during 2015.  Nearly 40 adult transplants have been done so far.  The previous state record stood at 27. 

Adult Caregiver Misconduct Registry Lists 51 Names, Expected to Increase

Dec 2, 2015

The Kentucky Department for Community Based Services has listed 51 people on its adult caregiver misconduct registry in the year since the list's inception. 

Officials expect the number to grow as people move through the appeals process. Cabinet for Health and Family Services staff attorney Dondra Meredith says the state designed the registry as a tool for adult service providers to prevent abuse, neglect, and exploitation

A federal agency is reporting a sharp drop in Kentucky's homeless rate since 2010.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says communities in Kentucky reported a total of 4,538 people who experienced homelessness on a given night in January 2015. It says that rate is down 31 percent since 2010.

It says the statewide homeless rate was down 11 percent from 2014 to 2015.

It’s been 24 years since Magic Johnson told the world he was HIV positive.

Stu Johnson / WEKU News


Kentuckians who complete the state’s substance abuse and chronic addiction recovery program now have a new aid in seeking employment.  The governor and first lady introduced the initiative Monday at Lexington’s Hope Center.  

Increased Deer Activity Means Greater Risks Along Roadways

Nov 16, 2015

It’s peak deer season across Kentucky.  That includes mating and hunting, as well as a spike in car accidents involving deer. During 2014, State Police Public Affairs Officer Kendra Wilson says there were more than 3,000 vehicle-deer collisions in Kentucky.  She says three people died in those crashes.  Wilson says deer are found along all roadways.  “It’s not limited to interstate travel," she said. "It’s not limited to back roads or rural areas.  Deer just saturate our areas just about everywhere."

Next year, state funding will enable the Fayette County Women, Infants, and Children program to provide clients transportation to area farmers’ markets.  A portion of the $3,000 grant will help pay for bus tokens that will be distributed to clients. Fayette County WIC Program Coordinator Rebekah Shoopman says the aim is to get more fresh produce into the hands of women and their children.  “They don’t always have a car or some way to get to the market," Shoopman said.

Lexington Council Hears Fire Station Recommendations

Oct 14, 2015

A comprehensive fire station location study in Lexington is not expected to result in any major changes anytime soon.  City council members heard the report during Tuesday’s work session.  Public Safety Commissioner Ronnie Bastin says the recommended consolidation of two downtown fire stations would come with some costs.  “The merger of the two stations that they mentioned, there’s a cost of having to do an addition onto one of the stations in order to house the equipment from the station that would be closed if that decision were made,” said Bastin.

Earthquake Preparedness Takes Center Stage Thursday

Oct 12, 2015


The ‘Great Central U.S. Shakeout’ will take place Thursday.  Kentucky is one of 14 states participating in the earthquake preparedness event.


Pharmacists across Kentucky are being trained how to properly administer the drug Naloxone.  University of Kentucky officials hope the potentially lifesaving medication will soon be available as a nasal spray.

Stu Johnson / WEKU News

State officials on Tuesday unveiled the new ‘Cross Kentucky Master Trail Plan.’  The initiative aims to link all of the state’s recreational trails. Governor Steve Beshear and First Lady Jane Beshear were at Lexington’s Issac Murphy Memorial Gardens for the announcement. Jane Beshear says the master trail plan is just the beginning. She says it’s difficult to say when the entire state will have a fully linked trail system.  “It just takes a long time because a lot of the trails end up going through private properties, so there’s a lot of negotiations," said Beshear.


Thursday marks the beginning of the fall wildfire season across the Commonwealth.  This week’s rainfall is welcomed by Division of Forestry firefighters.

The outdoor ban on burning from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. in or within 150 feet of a woodland runs through mid-December.  Division of Forestry Fire Management Chief Floyd Willis says officials in his agency are hoping for a fall much like last year.  “It was pretty slow for us in the fall and the spring for the most part because there was a lot of precipitation during those times, even snowfall,” said Willis.

All across the nation Saturday, people will be throwing out un-needed medications in an effort to keep the drugs out of the wrong hands. 

It’s the annual National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, and Bowling Green-Warren County Drug Task Force Director Tommy Loving says there are several reasons to dispose of old prescriptions.

Health Officials Predict Flu Shot More Effective This Year

Sep 21, 2015

Local health providers this year are planning to boost promotion of the flu vaccine.  Flu shots are already available at various commercial businesses.  Lois Davis with the Fayette County Health Department admits a poor record of virus protection a year ago may still be on some people’s minds.  “Last year you know, the vaccine was not as effective as they had hoped," Davis said. "I think it was down in the teens as far as effectiveness.  This year they’re predicting it will be much more effective, you know 55-60 percent effective.”

Stu Johnson / WEKU News


Another Blue Grass Army Depot mock disaster drill is in the books.  Each year finds a little more anticipation about the start-up of chemical munition disposal in Madison County.

The number of people in Kentucky without health insurance fell 5.8 percent last year, the largest drop of any state in the country according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Kentucky was one of 31 states that chose to increase the number of people eligible to receive taxpayer-funded health insurance in 2013. Since then, the Commonwealth has added about 400,000 people to its Medicaid program and has been held up as an example by President Barack Obama of the success of his health care law.