Health and Welfare

Lexington Needle Exchange May Expand

Sep 14, 2016

Lexington new health commissioner gave an update on the status of the city's needle exchange program Tuesday.

Dr. Kraig Humbaugh told council members that just over 20,000 used needles had been brought in and more than 21,000 clean needles were given out.  Since the first needle exchange on September 4, 2015, 376 clients have made over 1000 visits. 

Stu Johnson

A woman with 35 years of experience evaluating and treating adult sex offenders is leading training sessions throughout Kentucky.  One such program attracted well over 100 people Monday in Lexington.

Cory Jewell Jensen is with the Center for Behavioral Intervention in Oregon.  She spoke to those working in areas like law enforcement, school counseling, nursing and child protective services.

In light of a recent rash of overdose – related deaths, Kentucky public health officials say they can't predict drug overdose activity across Kentucky.  But they have gained some insights about heroin use from voluntary reporting by medical partners.  Preliminary reports to the Department of Public Health show 15 overdoses, 12 of them fatal, from noon last Friday until Monday morning. 

Fire Safety Month Focuses on Off-Campus Housing

Sep 7, 2016

September is being observed as Campus Fire Safety Month as Kentucky joins with states across the nation in focusing on the issue.

Kentucky's attorney general is accusing a medical company of Medicaid fraud for allegedly promoting a kidney dialysis product it knew was harmful to patients. 

Attorney General Andy Beshear says his lawsuit seeks damages and civil penalties from Fresenius Medical Care Holdings Inc. The suit also seeks to restore Medicaid funds that paid for dialysis treatments using the product.

He says Fresenius is the nation's largest provider of kidney dialysis and renal care products, treatment and services.

Linda Blackford - Lexington Herald-Leader

A senior investigator at Lexington’s Sanders Brown Center on Aging is optimistic about the availability of a breakthrough drug to fight Alzheimer’s disease in the not too distant future.  

Greg Jicha participated in Thursday’s funding announcement at the University of Kentucky.  The Center on Aging has been awarded an $8 million five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health.  

Airport Safety Revisited After Flight 5191 Crash

Aug 29, 2016

    The weekend remembrance of the crash of Comair 5191 a decade ago offers an opportunity to reflect on safety improvements at Lexington’s Blue Grass Airport.  Revised safety measures include airstrip and communication changes.

Just after 6:00 a.m. on August 27th, 2006 the Comair plane took off from the wrong runway, crashing and killing 49 of the 50 occupants.  In addition to concerns about pavement markings and runway crossings, communications were also cited as factors. 

Ky. Officials Respond to Spike in Heroin Overdoses

Aug 26, 2016


Health and law enforcement officials in Kentucky are responding to a rash of heroin-related drug overdoses.   In the community of Mount Sterling alone, there were 12 overdoses this week including one death.  

The majority of overdoses in Montgomery County occurred within five hours Wednesday evening.

A new director has been named for the State Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control’s Enforcement Division.  Paul Joseph Vido comes to the job after serving as Special Agent in Charge for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives out of Louisville. 

Vido administered all ATF investigations and regulatory operations in Kentucky, West Virginia, and Southern Indiana.  Prior to coming to Kentucky, he served in a similar role in California. 

Bevin Submits Revised Ky. HEALTH Plan

Aug 24, 2016

 Gov. Matt Bevin says he has changed his proposal to overhaul the state's Medicaid program and submitted it to the federal government for approval.

The new proposal called Kentucky HEALTH (Helping to Engage and Achieve Long Term Health) will cover allergy testing and private duty nursing for about 400,000 Kentuckians who have health insurance through the state's expanded Medicaid program under the federal Affordable Care Act.

Lexington Seeing Drop in DUI Arrests

Aug 24, 2016

Fayette County has experienced a steady drop in the number of driving under the influence arrests over the past five years.  In 2012, there were 1542 DUI arrests compared with 1040 last year.   Lexington Police Sargent Randall Combs believes online transportation services and designated drivers are factors.  “I think a large part of that can be attributed to people using Uber and some of the cab services and just making better decisions and having designated drivers,”

By AxelBoldt (talk · contribs) - Own work, Public Domain,

Kentucky is among five states that are again suing the Obama administration over its efforts to strengthen discrimination protections for transgender people.   

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in a North Texas federal court. It seeks to block parts of a nondiscrimination mandate of President Barack Obama's health care law.

Opponents of the president’s order say the rules could force doctors to act against their medical judgments or religious convictions.

State Roaming Horse Task Force Begins Work

Aug 23, 2016


A newly-formed state task force begins its work Tuesday on how to deal with hundreds of horses moving about Eastern Kentucky.  Part of the discussion involves the coal industry.

The Free Roaming Horse Task Force came about through state legislation.  Ginny Grulke, with the Appalachian Horse Center, says the largest concentration of horse herds is found in Breathitt County, but there are also hundreds in another nine or ten counties. 

Ride Inspectors Busy Before State Fair

Aug 12, 2016


The Kentucky State Fair is set to open one week from today (next Thursday).  Two tragic amusement ride related incidents in Kansas and Tennessee are causing increased attention to public safety.

Pipe Art Project in Lexington Park Tracks Groundwater

Aug 2, 2016
Stu Johnson-WEKU News


Bright fluorescent green pipes in Lexington’s Jacobson Park signal a new interactive art project.  It’s an auditory experience.

Graduation Focuses on Fostering Sucess

Aug 2, 2016


The State Department of Community Based Services has held its first Fostering Success graduation.  The pilot program focuses on helping foster children as they leave the system.

Federal Review Request of Flood Damaged Counties

Aug 2, 2016

   Kentucky officials are calling for a federal review of areas in the Commonwealth damaged by July flooding and severe storms. The storms that occurred in early July left a large impact on almost two dozen Kentucky counties.

The level of damages that occurred from July 3rd through the 9th  warranted a joint assessment from both the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Kentucky Emergency Management.

Twenty-three counties all across the Commonwealth, including Clay, Lawrence, McCracken, and Union all incurred damages from the severe storm system.

Future of Zika Virus in Central Ky. Hard to Predict

Jul 26, 2016


In the wake of Lexington’s first Zika virus case in an infant, health officials continue to stress ways to fend off further cases in the area.  Fayette County’s Health Commissioner admits it’s hard to predict the number of future infections.

More than 14 hundred cases of Zika virus have now been reported nationwide.  All have been determined to be travel related and not through local transmission. 

Estill County Residents to Rally on Radioactive Waste Concerns

Jul 15, 2016

The state attorney general’s office has determined there is insufficient evidence to seek criminal charges in the disposal of radioactive waste in an Estill County landfill.

Still, a number of residents plan to rally this weekend.  Tom Bonny is with the newly created Concerned Citizens of Estill County.  “We’re just very concerned that this landfill could become a dumping ground for any and everything and would cause a risk to the citizens who live around it on all sides of it,” said Bonny.

Officials with the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet say $15.7 million dollars will go to help address substance abuse problems. This amounts to an extra five million this year to assist eight programs in the Commonwealth.

For Kentucky workers who have health insurance through their employers, the number enrolled in high-deductible plans has risen sharply over the last eight years. That's according to a new report by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky reported in the Daily News.


Testimony Taken in Final Medicaid Reform Hearing

Jul 6, 2016


Governor Bevin’s plan to substantially change the state Medicaid program got another public review Wednesday.  The third and final public hearing in Hazard attracted a room full of onlookers.

In announcing the plan to transform Medicaid, Governor Bevin said it would empower people to improve their health while ensuring its financial sustainability.  Among other things, it calls for able bodied Kentuckians to work, volunteer, or do other community engagement to receive benefits. 

Madison County Needle Exchange Under Review

Jul 6, 2016

Members of Madison and Clark County Medical Societies have reviewed dismal Kentucky health statistics. A meeting Tuesday night included talk of smoking cessation and the Zika virus. Much attention also centered on bringing another needle exchange program to Central Kentucky.

University of Kentucky

The University of Kentucky’s Center for Excellence in Rural Health is one of 38 organizations to receive funding from the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services. The $1 million grant will be used to help children in Appalachia get the health insurance they need, as well as provide to families that are eligible to coverage. Many Kentucky families are unaware they qualify for healthcare coverage so do not look into signing up for them or their children. This is especially difficult in rural parts of Eastern Kentucky, where healthcare providers have a hard time gaining access to those that need it most.

Fireworks Sales and Safety Tips Leading Up to Fourth Weekend

Jun 27, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News


Preparations for the upcoming Fourth of July weekend will kick into high gear this week.  That will likely mean a lot of tent perusing for fireworks’ buyers.

State Health Officials Offer Zika Prevention Reminders

Jun 23, 2016

With the heat of summer kicking in, lots of Kentuckians will be heading to a lake or park for recreation.  With that in mind, state health officials are reminding citizens to think about mosquito bite prevention.  It comes with increased attention tied to the Zika Virus. 

Tornado Watch for Central Kentucky

Jun 23, 2016

The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for several central Kentucky counties until 10 p.m. Thursday evening.  A tornado warning was issued just before 5 p.m. for Scott County.  The watch area includes the counties of Bourbon, Harrison, Scott, Clark, Madison, Fayette, and Nicholas.  A watch means conditions are favorable for a tornado to develop.

The first of ten regional meetings on the issue of food insecurity in the commonwealth took place Tuesday in Northern Kentucky.

The inaugural meeting in Highland Heights established the goals of the Hunger Task Force which was initiated earlier this month to combat what seems to be a growing problem in the Commonwealth.

Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles says the regional meetings will serve the purpose of displaying the need for the task force with statistics from foodbanks as well as developing attainable and measurable methods to fight the hunger inequities.

Lexington Officials Offer Pet Preparedness Advice

Jun 16, 2016

In times of disaster, many Kentucky pet owners are hesitant to part with their dog, cat, rabbit, ferret, or other animal. June is National Pet Preparedness Month.  Safety suggestions came Thursday during an event at the Lexington Humane Society.  John Bobel, with the city’s Division of Emergency Management, says during an emergency many people want to take their pets with them.  “If they’re not sure whether or not a shelter or facility has capabilities for their pets, they will stay at home.  And in some cases, that’s very dangerous.”


Ky. Appeals Court Orders Lexington Clinic to Halt Abortions

Jun 16, 2016

A Kentucky appeals court Wednesday ordered a Lexington clinic to stop performing abortions until it gets a license from the state.  Republican Gov. Matt Bevin says EMW Women's Clinic has been performing abortions without a license.      

The clinic's owner says he is exempt from the licensure requirement because the clinic is a private physician's office. Bevin sued, asking a judge to force the facility to close.