Health and Welfare

5:01pm

Thu July 26, 2012
Health and Welfare

Bath Salts Change Too Fast to Combat

Bath salts, which mimic the effects of drugs like cocaine and speed. The Patriot-News photo by Chris Knight.

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.

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1:24pm

Wed July 25, 2012
Health and Welfare

Health Reforms Insure Another Million Kentuckians

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.

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10:36am

Wed July 25, 2012
Health and Welfare

Four Pain Clinics Closed as 'Pill Mill' Bill Takes Effect

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.

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10:33am

Wed July 25, 2012
Health and Welfare

Group Says Kentucky Ranks Low for Child Well-Being

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.

10:29am

Wed July 25, 2012
Health and Welfare

Whooping Cough Cases Could Reach Record

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.

5:09pm

Tue July 24, 2012
Health and Welfare

Tracking Prescription Drug Abuse

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.

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3:55pm

Mon July 23, 2012
Health and Welfare

Cocaine to Prescription Drug Abuse

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.

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1:50pm

Mon July 23, 2012
Health and Welfare

Insurance Exchanges will be On-line Marketplaces

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.

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1:35pm

Mon July 23, 2012
Health and Welfare

Forums Set to Explain Kentucky Insurance Exchange

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."

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10:28am

Mon July 23, 2012
Health and Welfare

Report Looks at Links Between Diseases and Chemicals

A new report out today provides new information about the connections between commonly-used chemicals and the prevalence of diseases. Groups that advocate for safer chemicals are using the data to lobby for updates to federal legislation.

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11:25am

Sun July 22, 2012
Health and Welfare

Safety-Net Hospitals Could Get Hit Hard in October

When hospitals start getting paid based on the perceived quality of care they provide to their Medicare and Medicaid patients, so-called "safety net" hospitals, a last resort for the poor, could be the losers in the equation. That's because a main way of measuring quality will be patient experience ratings, and safety-net hospitals tend to get poorer marks from patients, according to a new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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10:12am

Fri July 20, 2012
Health and Welfare

Series Finds Sedentary Living as Dangerous as Smoking

Getty Images photo by George Doyle

Physical inactivity is such a problem worldwide it has become as deadly as smoking, a series of studies has found. Lack of exercise causes about one in 10 premature deaths worldwide, in large part because it contributes to heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, breast cancer and colon cancer.

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10:09am

Fri July 20, 2012
Health and Welfare

Findings From Well-Being Report Indicate Progress

Nationwide, the rates of infants who die, babies who are born prematurely, teens who are having babies, and the percentage of young children who live in a home where someone smokes have all decreased in the last five years. But the percentage of kids who live in poverty has gone up.

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10:42am

Thu July 19, 2012
Health and Welfare

Beshear Will Expand Medicaid if Affordable

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear.
Kentucky Educational Television

Gov. Steve Beshear said today that he would expand Kentucky's Medicaid program under the federal health-reform law if the state can afford the cost. "If there is a way that we can afford that will get more coverage for more Kentuckians, I'm for it, because if we've got a healthier Kentucky, we're all better off. Our economy's better off, and of course the individuals are better off," Beshear told Jack Pattie of WVLK Radio in an interview on Pattie's mid-morning show.

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9:59am

Wed July 18, 2012
Health and Welfare

Beshear Establishes Insurance Exchange

As Gov. Steve Beshear issued an executive order to establish a state insurance exchange this afternoon, lawmakers voted along party lines against a lease that would have housed employees of the exchange, once again illustrating the divisive nature of the controversial Affordable Care Act. Members of the Capital Projects and Bond Oversight Committee voted 4-3 against the nearly $300,00-per-year lease, with Sen. Tom Buford of Nicholasville, Sen. Jared Carpenter of Berea, Rep. Steven Rudy of Paducah— all Republicans — voting no, along with Independent Sen. Bob Leeper of Paducah.

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1:53pm

Tue July 17, 2012
Health and Welfare

State Launches Health Insurance Market

Governor Steve Beshear has followed through on his promise to set up a state-run health insurance exchange in Kentucky.  The Affordable Care Act requires states to set up marketplaces in which residents can buy private insurance or sign up for Medicaid. Through an executive order, Beshear created Kentucky's exchange today. The order establishes a new executive branch office, the Office of the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange. The office will be housed in the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

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8:57am

Tue July 17, 2012
Health and Welfare

Book on Appalachian Health Praised by Physician

A new book discusses the health disparities that affect rural and urban Appalachians and has won the praise of a Kentucky physician, who calls its impact "profound." Appalachian Health and Well-Being was reviewed by Dr. Kevin Kavanagh, a retired physician from Somerset, for The Courier-Journal. Each chapter stands alone so readers can choose topics according to their interests. One chapter focuses on obesity and discusses issues like "food deserts" and lifestyle choices.

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1:13pm

Sun July 15, 2012
Health and Welfare

Oral Health Takes a Back Seat in Rural Communities

A dentist works at a Remote Area Medical Clinic in Wise, Va. (Associated Press photo by Steve Helber)

Dr. Nikki Stone is a dentist who works in Hazard, Ky., at a community-run clinic. A native of the mountains, she knew that children in the region weren’t getting enough dental care, but she was still "staggered by the prevalence of dental disease when she began examining them in 2004," Margot Sanger-Katz reports for the National Journal. "Large numbers of the kids had never seen a dentist. Half had untreated tooth decay, and nearly 20 percent had urgent needs -- more than six cavities or an active abscess. She and her staff 'cried a lot,' she recalls.

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4:31pm

Fri July 13, 2012
Health and Welfare

Report Ranks Kentucky Unfair to Nursing Homes

A new report has advocates for the nursing home industry in Kentucky saying “I told you so.” The report by Aon Global Risk Consulting ranks Kentucky as the worst state for expenses per bed and for the amount of litigation against nursing homes.

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9:48am

Fri July 13, 2012
Health and Welfare

Repeal of Health Law Could Have Impact on Kentucky

The U.S. House voted again yesterday to repeal the health-care reform law, a move that has no chance of passing in the current Senate and would be vetoed by President Obama if it did. In an op-ed piece in The Courier-Journal, which put the news of the House vote on an inside page, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, left, said a repeal of the law would have big ramifications for Kentucky because:

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7:40pm

Thu July 12, 2012
Health and Welfare

UK Professor's Work Cited in Health Care Decision

Professor Nicole Huberfeld. University of Kentucky photo.

The work of a University of Kentucky law professor helped shape the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on the constitutionality of the federal health-care reform law. Two of the major issues in question was whether the government could be force people to buy health insurance — often referred to as the individual mandate — and if the federal government could use its fiscal powers top make states expand Medicaid eligibility to 133 percent of the federal poverty level. The mandate was upheld, as was the Medicaid expansion, though the ruling will allow states to choose whether or not they want to expand their programs.

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3:37pm

Thu July 12, 2012
Health and Welfare

Law Protects Patients From Frequent Changes

A new law that goes into effect today will help patients with chronic health issues maintain their standard of living.  The law allows doctors to show that a long-prescribed medicine would be the best for a patient. Previously, insurance companies could deny payments for such medication until patients had first tried a cheaper alternative.

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4:56pm

Wed July 11, 2012
Health and Welfare

New Medical Law in Effect Tomorrow

A new law that goes into effect tomorrow will help patients with chronic health issues maintain their standard of living.  The law allows doctors to show that a long-prescribed medicine would be the best for a patient. Previously, insurance companies could deny payments for such medication until patients had first tried a cheaper alternative.
“The physician knows more clearly what medications or what medication might work for this person, and that way they make sure they can get the best medication for this person as quickly as possible,” says Deb McGrath of the Epilepsy Foundation of Kentucky.

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9:35am

Wed July 11, 2012
Health and Welfare

Health Law Debate Leaves Unanswered Questions

Though host Bill Goodman said they just "scratched the surface" on what the federal health-care reform law will mean for Kentucky, physicians and legislators debated Medicaid expansion, the implications of requiring people to buy health insurance, how to pay for it all and other questions last night on KET's "Kentucky Tonight" panel and call-in show.

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5:46pm

Mon July 9, 2012
Health and Welfare

FDA Approves HIV Take Home Test

A model demonstrates how to use the OraQuick test, which detects the presence of HIV in saliva. AP photo by Chuck Zovko.

Soon, taking an HIV test will be no more complicated than swabbing one's mouth and waiting for the results. The Federal Food and Drug Administration last week approved the OraQuick test, which detects HIV antibodies and gives a result in 20 to 40 minutes.

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5:43pm

Mon July 9, 2012
Health and Welfare

Does Obamacare Tax the Middle Class?

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell speaks at a Rotary Club meeting in Louisville. (C-J photo by Michael Clevenger)

With Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell calling the federal health-care reform law a tax on the middle class, Courier-Journal Washington correspondent James R. Carroll collects the findings of independent fact-checking services to assess whether McConnell is accurate.

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10:30am

Sun July 8, 2012
Health and Welfare

Republicans Hope to Halt Medicaid Expansion

The top Republican in the Kentucky House wants Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear to halt an expansion of Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program for the poor and disabled. The expansion of Medicaid is a central element in President Barack Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which says the federal government will pay 100 percent of the costs to add certain people to the program in 2014. After three years, the states must pick up some of the costs of the expansion, which Kentucky can't afford, House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover of Jamestown said.

11:54am

Fri July 6, 2012
Health and Welfare

Water Shortage Watch for 27 Counties

With temperatures predicted to top the 100 degree mark in many communities today, Kentucky has put 27 counties in a water shortage watch category.  Several counties in central Kentucky including Fayette, Madison, Scott, and Woodford are included in the watch.  While western Kentucky has experienced longer drought conditions, relatively few counties are on the watch list.  Bill Caldwell with the State Division of Water says that’s not surprising.  “Out in the western part of the state, most of the water is from very deep wells or from ground water aquifers that are very resilient when it comes to drought.”

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9:02am

Fri July 6, 2012
Health and Welfare

Kaiser Commission Says Kentucky Will Benefit Most from Health Care Reform

"Kentucky will benefit most from the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, according to an analysis by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured," Lorie Hailey writes for The Lane Report, a Lexington-based business publication.

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9:00am

Fri July 6, 2012
Health and Welfare

Hoover and McConnell Against Medicaid Expansion

The Republican leader of the state House said today that Kentucky should not take advantage of an expansion of Medicaid under federal health reform because it would cost too much once the state starts paying 10 percent of the cost. The U.S. Supreme Court last week said the states could refuse to expand the program without risking loss of their current Medicaid money, as the reform law prescribed.

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