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.
It’s ironic how pills designed to heal can be pills that kill. Prescription drug abuse kills more of Kentucky’s teenagers than auto accidents. Efforts to reduce those fatalities are underway within law enforcement, the medical community, and the victims of abuse. 57 year old Kathy Bell of Lexington has been treated for prescription drug abuse for four years at the University of Kentucky. Her addiction began by free basing cocaine in her western Kentucky hometown. Later, Bell was prescribed medication for pain. Over the next 20 years, she abused both cocaine and pills. Her physical health came to depend on her abuse of prescription drugs. “If I went to bed at night and did not have a pill for the next morning, I couldn’t function. Non-functional. I would get diarrhea and I just couldn’t function,” said Bell.
Repair work on dams along the Kentucky River should fix leaks and ensure stability, but there should be no significant increase in the region’s supply of water. David Hamilton with the Kentucky River Authority says dams three and nine have been rebuilt with plans to rework dams eight and ten later on. “Those plans don’t call for raising of the dams at this point. They are designed so in the future they would have the stability to accommodate a raise. At this point, there is no raise incorporated into those designs,” said Hamilton.
Advocates of a statewide smoking ban are taking their issue on a five day tour before Fancy Farm to drum up support. The Smoke Free Kentucky Coalition has pushed a statewide smoking ban law in the General Assembly for the last two years. And they are making next year’s legislative session a key moment in their fight. Coalition coordinator Betsy Janes says with Fancy Farm’s big role as a political event, a road tour and outreach at the picnic seemed logical for the group.
It's not often that such detailed data is broken down to the county level, but a new report looks at the economic impact of the local health-care system in each of Kentucky's 120 counties. The reports, compiled at the University of Kentucky, look at the number of health-care jobs, as well as the revenue and income generated by the local health-care system. In many rural counties, the authors note, health care is the second largest industry, second only to local government.
Pertussis, more commonly known as ‘whooping cough,’ continues to show up at doctors’ offices across Kentucky. It could be a record setting year in the Commonwealth…Five years ago, in 2007, State epidemiologist Craig Humbaugh says there were fewer than 50 whooping cough cases in Kentucky. Just over six months into 2012, Humbaugh says the number of cases exceeds 170
Though legislators across the country, including Kentucky, have passed laws to ban synthetic drugs like bath salts, there are so many new formulations of the substances the states can't keep up. Experts estimate there are more than 100 types of bath-salt chemicals. "The moment you start to regulate one of them, they'll come out with a variant that sometimes is even more potent," said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
A new report from the national health organization Families USA is praising the ability of almost 1 million Kentuckians to buy insurance in the coming years despite their pre-existing conditions. The report says almost 1 million Kentuckians who have previously been denied insurance coverage may get it when that part of the Affordable Care Act takes effect in 2014.
Just days after new legislation has taken effect to combat prescription drug abuse, four pain clinics in Kentucky say they will close, Gov. Steve Beshear announced today. "The word is out. Kentucky is deadly serious about stopping this scourge of prescription drug abuse and now we have some of the strongest tools in the country to make that happen," the governor said, adding that nine other pain-management clinics have not applied for licenses and will be investigated.
Kentucky is among the bottom 20 states for overall child well-being, ranking 35th, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation's 2012 Kids Count Data Book. The report, released Wednesday, shows that children in Kentucky suffer from financial instability but fare better in the areas of education and health.
State and national health officials are predicting a record number of whooping cough cases this year and are urging vaccination against the highly contagious disease, especially for pregnant women and small children. Whooping cough, or pertussis, is a contagious disease caused by bacteria. It is spread by respiratory droplets transmitted person to person among those who are in close contact with one another. Nationwide, nine children have died of the disease so far this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
State officials say a bipartisan measure passed by the General Assembly this spring is making an impact on the state’s prescription drug abuse epidemic. The legislation known as House Bill 1 established tougher regulations of clinics that prescribe controlled substances such as Oxycontin and other pain killers. Governor Steve Beshear announced Tuesday that entrepreneurs are already taking notice.
Prescription pain killers are sometimes the first choice of drug abusers. Other times, an addiction to popular hard drugs leads to prescription drug abuse. After recovering from years of addition, a Lexington woman says she went free basing cocaine to prescription pain killers. Kathy Bell says she used cocaine, prescription drugs, or both together. Bell says attaining prescription pills was accomplished in many ways. “I got involved with this clique of people that either sold theirs, or traded theirs, or they wanted something I had, and that’s the way I played my addiction back and forth,” said Bell.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear recently signed an executive order to create an insurance exchange for Kentucky. Under the Affordable Care Act, states must create marketplaces in which residents can purchase insurance, or else the federal government will do so for them.
Now that Gov. Steve Beshear has issued the order to create a state health insurance exchange, the state is scheduling public forums to explain it. Rachel Klein, the executive director of Enroll America,said 78 percent of uninsured Americans "have no idea that there is new health coverage coming."