Health and Welfare

5:11pm

Thu January 10, 2013
Health and Welfare

Coalition Backs Westrom in Support of Proposed Smoking Ban

A coalition of health groups say they will give state Rep. Susan Westrom, D-Lexington, the most public support ever for a bill to ban smoking in Kentucky restaurants and workplaces, a bill she's tried to get passed twice, Jacqueline Pitts of CN2 reports. The coalition, which includes Smoke-Free Kentucky and the American Lung Association, revealed plans yesterday for a two-week ad campaign about the benefits of a statewide smoking ban law.

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4:38pm

Wed January 9, 2013
Health and Welfare

Health Group Launches Ad Campaign for Smoking Ban Support

A newspaper and online advertising campaign calling for "a comprehensive, statewide smoke-free law" is hitting Kentucky news outlets this week, as the legislature convenes. The campaign was launched by Smoke-Free Kentucky Coalition, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The ad can viewed here.

10:54am

Wed January 9, 2013
Health and Welfare

NKU Aims to Ban Tobacco on Campus

University campuses appear to be the newest battlegrounds over tobacco use. As Northern Kentucky University prepares to take its first steps toward becoming a tobacco-free campus, the University of Cincinnati has backed off because of the lack of widespread support. NKU’s governing Board of Regents is expected to vote today on banning tobacco from the Highland Heights campus.

5:36pm

Mon January 7, 2013
Health and Welfare

Independent Poll Shows Adults Favor Statewide Smoking Ban

Kentuckians now favor a statewide smoking ban by a margin of 3 to 2, according to the latest Kentucky Health Issues Poll conducted last fall for the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. Interestingly, 38 percent of the Kentucky adults polled said they were smokers, much more than the 29 percent found by ongoing federal surveys. Among those identified as smokers, 37 percent favored such a law, while it was favored by 68 percent of former smokers and 75 percent of those who said they had never smoked.

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5:34pm

Mon January 7, 2013
Health and Welfare

Legislature Likely to Review 'Pill Mill Bill'

State lawmakers could narrow the focus of last year's "pill mill bill" during the legislative session that begins tomorrow, to concentrate on adults with long-term prescriptions for frequently abused painkillers, John Cheves of the Lexington Herald-Leader reported yesterday. Doctors, hospitals and patients have complained that HB 1 in its current from "restricts too many drugs in too many clinical settings, needlessly complicating medical care in an effort to shut down storefront pain clinics that recklessly hand out prescriptions," Cheves writes.

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5:32pm

Mon January 7, 2013
Health and Welfare

Health Agencies to Lose Employees

Environmental and food-safety inspections will be reduced by layoffs in four counties served by the Cumberland Valley District Health Department because of changes in the state Medicaid program, Nola Sizemore of the Harlan Daily Enterprise reports. Health departments in Harlan, Rockcastle, Clay and Jackson counties will lose a total of 14 employees later this month. (Enterprise photo: Harlan County Health Department)

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10:59am

Mon January 7, 2013
Health and Welfare

Poll Shows Increased Support for Statewide Smoking Ban

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The majority of Kentuckians — 59 percent — support a statewide smoking ban, says a poll conducted by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. Last year, the poll said for the first time that most Kentuckians supported banning smoking in  public establishments. This year, fewer than  38 percent of Kentuckians opposed such a ban. The rest had no opinion.

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1:03pm

Sun January 6, 2013
Health and Welfare

Fiscal-Cliff Deal Revives Rural Hospital Program

Even though most of the hospital industry wasn't happy with the fiscal-cliff deal that will only pay half the $30 billion needed to avoid a 27 percent Medicare fee cut for doctors, the deal gave about 200 rural hospitals, including 10 in Kentucky, reason to celebrate. It extends a program that pays hospitals up to several millions of dollars a year because they have fewer than 100 beds, are located in rural areas and have a high percentage of Medicare patients, Phil Galewitz of Kaiser Health News reports.

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1:18pm

Fri January 4, 2013
Health and Welfare

Pike County EMS Firm Closes

One of Pike County’s emergency medical service firms is officially shut down. Questcare EMS officially ceased all business operations effective Dec. 31 and is now slated for liquidation, according to a statement from the company. The announcement also signals the beginning of a void in EMS coverage in Pike County, one which other ambulance services are now attempting to fill.

5:46pm

Thu January 3, 2013
Health and Welfare

Health Care Reform Drives Hospital Mergers and Affiliations

Is your community's hospital one of the many rural hospitals considering sale, merger or affiliation with a larger hospital or group of hospitals, all options that are becoming more common, partly due to federal health-care reform? A recent article in HealthLeaders magazine, which examines some of the considerations, may inform your coverage.

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5:40pm

Thu January 3, 2013
Health and Welfare

Beshear Announces Funding for Colon Cancer Screening

FRANKFORT - Ten local health departments across the state will receive grants to expand colon cancer screening services, Gov. Steve Beshear announced Thursday. Beshear sought funding for the program in last year’s biennial budget proposal in an effort to reduce colon cancer incidence and mortality rate in Kentucky, according to a state news release. According to data from the Kentucky Cancer Registry at the University of Kentucky, about 2,600 new cases of colon cancer will be diagnosed in Kentucky each year and nearly 900 people will die.

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6:14pm

Wed January 2, 2013
Health and Welfare

Chart Shows How to Get Coverage Under Federal Health Care Reform

The core of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is helping people get health insurance, beginning next year. That will be relatively simple for some people, but complicated for others, as this infographic produced by the Kaiser Family Foundation for the Journal of the American Medical Association shows. For a larger, clearer, PDF of the chart, click here. In most states, including Kentucky, a key question remains unanswered: Will the state opt to expand Medicaid eligibility to households with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level (138 percent with a fudge factor)?

6:05pm

Wed January 2, 2013
Health and Welfare

UK's Pediatric Heart Program Under Review

Kentucky Children's Hospital at the University of Kentucky is reviewing its cardio-thoracic surgery program and referring surgical patients to other hospitals, "but the reasons why are unclear," Brenna Angel reported Dec. 21 for WUKY-FM, the university-owned station.

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5:38pm

Mon December 31, 2012
Health and Welfare

Abduction Prevention

A recent abduction related case in Lexington reaffirms this type of act can occur within families.  A California grandmother faces charges in Kentucky after being arrested pushing her granddaughter without gloves, shoes, or a coat in a stroller on UK’s campus.  Fayette County Sheriff Kathy Witt admits custodial abductions often don’t attract the attention given stranger kidnappings.

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2:28pm

Mon December 31, 2012
Health and Welfare

Northern Kentucky Works to Prevent Infant Mortality

The infant mortality rate in Northern Kentucky is far worse than the national average, far worse than in most developed countries and double what it was just a decade ago. It’s part of a larger Tristate health problem that the region’s leaders have made into a top priority. Infant mortality – which measures the deaths of children under 1 – is one of the most basic and universal measurements of a community’s health, along with average life expectancy. High mortality rates, like shorter life expectancies, are generally viewed as a bellwether for larger problems.

9:41am

Mon December 31, 2012
Health and Welfare

UK Autism Clinic Offers Help to Patients and Families

Ionut Moga, 11, is a cheerful, talkative, über sports fan who doesn't care that the name of the new clinic in the little white bungalow not far from the University of Kentucky main campus is CASPER, which stands for Center for Autism Spectrum Evaluation, Service, and Research. He's unaware it offers diagnostic and social-skills assessments that many previously had to drive to Cincinnati or Louisville to get. Ionut just knows that if he listens and practices what he learns it will help him make friends. Eventually, he hopes, they will come to his house to play.

5:47pm

Wed December 26, 2012
Health and Welfare

Flu Cases on the Rise in Kentucky

Across the state, flu activity has increased from regional to widespread, according to the Kentucky Department of Public Health. The flu season can begin as early as October and last through May, and usually peaks between January and March. It takes about two weeks for immunity from the vaccine to develop and offer protection against flu.

3:01pm

Fri December 21, 2012
Health and Welfare

Deaths from Drug Overdoses Hit New High in 2010

Deaths from drug overdoses in Kentucky jumped to a new high in 2010, and "rose a staggering 296 percent from 2000 to 2010," Bill Estep of the Lexington Herald-Leader reports. "A tidal wave of prescription-drug abuse drove the steep increase," with just over half of the deaths involving prescription drugs, according to a study by researchers at the University of Kentucky.

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9:30am

Fri December 21, 2012
Health and Welfare

Drug Overdose Deaths Rise 296 Percent Since 2000

The number of drug-overdose deaths in Kentucky rose a staggering 296 percent from 2000 to 2010, according to a study by a research center at the University of Kentucky. A tidal wave of prescription-drug abuse drove the steep increase in overdose deaths. Of the 979 deaths in 2010, prescription drugs were involved in 522, or 53 percent, according to the study by the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center.

6:01pm

Wed December 19, 2012
Health and Welfare

Feds Tell States Medicaid Expansion is All or Nothing

When the Supreme Court upheld federal health reform but said states could opt out of the expansion of Medicaid to people with incomes above the poverty line, to be funded with generous federal subsidies, one of the first questions was whether a state had to go all the way: to 133 percent of poverty (138 percent with an official fudge factor). Now the Obama administration has answered "no." And that could make the decision tougher for Kentucky, which is the only state The Washington Post listed this month as leaning toward expansion.

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4:49pm

Wed December 19, 2012
Health and Welfare

Researching Murder-Suicide in Kentucky

In the week since teachers and students were massacred in a Connecticut school, little has been reported on the shooter’s motivation.  In murder-suicide cases, an explanation is often hard to find.  Uncovering the reason behind violence often takes patience and persistence.  Most often, though, the motivation behind a murder-suicide is found in the shooter’s relationships.  University of Kentucky professor Sabrina Walsh directs Kentucky’s Violent Death Reporting System.  Since 2005, the system has tracked violent deaths in the Commonwealth.

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4:22pm

Tue December 18, 2012
Health and Welfare

Survey Shows Kentucky Parents Don't Acknowledge Child Obesity

Many Kentucky parents don't realize that their children are obese or overweight, or at least aren't willing to acknowledge it. That is the obvious conclusion to draw from the latest results of the Kentucky Parent Survey, released Tuesday by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

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1:37pm

Tue December 18, 2012
Health and Welfare

Turfway Park Pilots Substance Abuse Program

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Turfway Park will begin piloting a substance abuse program for licensed racetrack workers next year, which officials hope can extend to other tracks around the state. “That’s our intent is to have a program in place that will be effective at all the racetracks in Kentucky,” said Richard Riedel, executive director of the Kentucky Health and Welfare Fund, which is paying the $5,000 cost to pilot the program.

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2:41pm

Fri December 14, 2012
Health and Welfare

Full Blown Flu in Kentucky

What started out early is now full-blown. The Kentucky Department for Public Health informed federal health authorities this week that data it has received from local health departments, hospitals, clinics and private doctors indicates that flu is now "widespread" in the state.

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2:38pm

Fri December 14, 2012
Health and Welfare

Obesity is the Leading Cause of Military Ineligibility

Between 1998 and 2010, CNN reports, the number of active-duty military personnel deemed overweight or obese more than tripled. In 2010, 5.3 percent of the force -- or 86,186 troops -- received at least a clinical diagnosis of overweight or obese, according to the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center. The trend has prompted the Pentagon to re-examine its training programs, and it is now actively weeding out soldiers deemed unfit to fight. It is also a tidy way to trim the budget at the same time as federal cuts loom. (CNN photo)

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1:28pm

Fri December 14, 2012
Health and Welfare

Kentucky Gets Federal Approval for State-Based Health Exchange

After months building a state-based health exchange, Kentucky officials have been told that the federal government has given approval to their work. Despite objections from Republican lawmakers, Kentucky officials quickly began working on a state-based exchange --- a part of the Affordable Care Act.

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3:58pm

Wed December 12, 2012
Health and Welfare

Study Shows Health Risks for Kids with TVs in Their Bedrooms

Kids who have TVs in their bedrooms are twice as likely to be fat and nearly three times as likely to be at risk for heart disease and diabetes as those who don’t, according to a new study that elevates concerns about health and screen time. The report, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, studied 369 children, ages 5 to 18, who have TVs in their rooms and watched more than five hours of television a day.

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2:06pm

Wed December 12, 2012
Health and Welfare

Kentucky Still Ranks Low in Annual Health Ratings

Kentucky has ranked 44th among the 50 states in overall health in United Health Foundation's America's Health Rankings. Darla Carter of The Courier-Journal reports that while this is the same rating the state achieved last year, the commonwealth is not without some high points. Among them, Kentucky is 9th best nationwide for its low incidence of binge drinking. We are to be congratulated as well for our low violent crime, high immunization coverage and improved high school graduation rate.

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2:03pm

Wed December 12, 2012
Health and Welfare

Dollar General to Sell Tobacco in Stores by Mid-2013

By the middle of 2013, most of Dollar General's 10,000 U.S. stores will carry cigarettes and other tobacco products.. The company has made the decision in response to “competitive pressures” which came about when Family Dollar Stores, a key competitor, began adding cigarettes to its stores last year. In a press release issued by Dollar General, customer demand also drove the company's decision, citing their perception that their core customers -- mostly based in rural America -- are more likely to smoke than the national average.

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1:03pm

Wed December 12, 2012
Health and Welfare

Flu Level Raised to Widespread in Kentucky

FRANKFORT – Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) officials reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week that the flu activity level in the state has increased from regional to widespread. Widespread activity is the highest level of flu activity, which indicates increased flu-like activity or flu outbreaks in at least half of the regions in the state, according to a DPH news release. The activity levels for states are tracked weekly as part of the CDC’s national flu surveillance system.

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