Kentucky lawmakers will get their first chance tomorrow to ask a private Medicaid operator why it’s having so much trouble negotiating contracts with healthcare providers. The CEO of CoventryCares will speak to lawmakers at a meeting of the Interim Joint Health and Welfare Committee. Coventry has been fighting with the Eastern Kentucky hospital network Appalachian Regional Healthcare over reimbursement rates and a new contract.
A Kentucky physician has been chosen to head the American Medical Association. Dr. Ardis Hoven of Lexington, an infectious-disease specialist, ran unopposed and will be the AMA's 168th president and the third woman to hold the position. "The honor here is that I've been given a large responsibility, of which I'm very aware," she said. "We have the opportunity to take medicine, to take health care, to a better place."
A resource guide and school curriculum are the latest efforts to expand farm-to-school programs in Kentucky. With fewer than 30 percent of Kentuckians consuming the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables every day, farm to school is a “win-win for students, school food service, farmers and local economies,” said Elaine Russell, coordinator for Kentucky Obesity Prevention Programand chairwoman of the Kentucky Farm-to-School Task Force.
The dispute between an Eastern Kentucky hospital chain and private Medicaid operators has lawyers arguing distance versus drive time. Under state regulations, a private Medicaid operator cannot sign up a patient unless it has a doctor or hospital within 60 miles of that patient's home. But that distance is measured as the crow flies and the state doesn't take into account narrow and winding Appalachian roads. For many patients, it may be faster to visit a doctor that's 70 miles away than it is to visit one that's 50 miles away.
If you're looking for a sugary candy energy rush, look somewhere other than the vending machines at the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department. The organization has changed the dozen or so vending machines around its area campuses to sell only food and drink that meet strict nutritional guidelines. And it's encouraging and willing to assist area businesses in doing the same.
The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky has released a new online directory of community groups that could provide support for patients and their families. The foundation lists more than 140 organizations in the directory. Combined, they reach all of Kentucky's 120 counties. The groups aren't healthcare providers, but they can give guidance, referrals and emotional support.
Frankfort - Attorney General Jack Conway Wednesday announced that he has recovered another $7 million on behalf of the Kentucky Medicaid program following a settlement with the Johnson & Johnson family of companies. This is the latest in a number of settlements in so-called Average Wholesale Price lawsuits filed by the office of the attorney general against 47 of the nation's largest pharmaceutical companies.
A just released document called ‘A Community Guide to Reducing Obesity’ details local projects in 17 areas of the Commonwealth. Kentucky Obesity Prevention Program Coordinator, Elaine Russell says officials hope the guide will ‘jumpstart’ efforts in other communities. She says, in one central Kentucky town, a path was mowed for a walking trail, becoming what she calls a ‘traveling trail.’
State officials are reminding citizens across the commonwealth to be vigilant in efforts to reduce elder abuse. The main message is to immediately report suspected abuse or neglect. Recent research indicates as few as one in 24 cases of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation are reported. Steven Fisher, manager of the Adult Safety Branch says it is ‘largely a hidden problem.’ The state received more than 61 thousand reports of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of people 60 and above in fiscal year 2011. Signs of neglect include obvious malnutrition, hoarding, and bedsores. Friday marks the seventh annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
Frankfort – The annual compliance report on public water systems prepared by the Kentucky Division of Water indicates violations involving contaminants and treatment dropped by 257 from 2010 to 2011. The report, required by the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, lists Kentucky’s 461 public water systems and any violations imposed in the previous calendar year. The report shows that maximum contaminant level and treatment violations decreased from 116 in 2010 to 96 in 2011, according to a state news release.
A meeting this afternoon at Eastern Kentucky University will include an update on Chemical Weapons Destruction at the Bluegrass Army Depot. Work continues on the chemical agent destruction pilot plant on the depot grounds in Madison County. The meeting of the Kentucky Chemical Demilitarization Citizens Advisory Commission and Chemical Destruction Community Advisory Board gets underway at 1:30 in E-K-U’s Perkins Building.
A Kentucky law firm that specializes in nursing home abuse cases is pushing back on nursing home company Extendicare’s claim that the state’s legal environment is causing it to pull back its operation. Several weeks ago, Extendicare announced its plans to lease its Kentucky properties to an outside company. The company said the decision was due to what they called “a hostile legal environment” where lawyers target the industry in hopes of big settlements.
Legislation passed during the 2012 General Assembly regular session will help keep patients and employees safer in Kentucky's emergency rooms. Senate Bill 58 was signed into law April 11 by Gov. Steve Beshear and takes affect July 12. A key point of the law is a police officer now will not have to witness an assault in an ER to place an individual under arrest.
A directory that lists all the local groups working on health-related issues in the state has been released by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. It identifies 143 groups — at least one in each county — and lists the primary contact person at each location.
A continued contract dispute between an Eastern Kentucky hospital network and the largest private Medicaid operator in the state is leading to confusion in the region. CoventryCares and Appalachian Region Healthcare are locked in a legal dispute over a new contract, with another court hearing scheduled for tomorrow.
Four former secretaries of heath and agriculture and the Bipartisan Policy Center have released a lengthy report aimed at the nation's obesity epidemic. With 26 recommendations, the report promotes public and private sectors working together to create healthy families, schools, workplaces and communities.
By 2015, the Walt Disney Co. will require advertising that targets kids and families to be in line with federal nutrition guidelines that promote eating fruit and vegetables; limiting calories; and reducing fat, sodium and sugar. The Disney Channel, its sisters (Disney XD, Disney Junior, Radio Disney) and Disney-owned online sites will follow suit.
More than a hundred people have volunteered to join a brand new commission on homelessness in Lexington. Members of the Mayor’s Commission are expected to be named this month. Laura Connell with the Lexington Rescue Mission hopes homeless people will have a significant voice on the commission.
Though negotiations between Appalachian Regional Healthcare and Coventry Cares appear to be futile, the state is taking steps to make sure there won't be an interruption in care for the Medicaid recipients who will be affected by the impasse. "The cabinet will assure the judge that, in the event that a notice is received from Coventry that ARH will not be in their network as of July 1, members will be able to call the Department for Medicaid Services to switch" to another managed-care organization, said Jill Midkiff, spokeswoman for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.
LEXINGTON, Ky. - A recent study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that the number of babies born in the U.S. going through opiate withdrawal has tripled over the past ten years. It follows a trend of skyrocketing prescription drug abuse.
Passport Health Plan has improved significantly since a 2010 audit uncovered wasteful spending and other problems, a new audit has concluded. The managed care organization that cares for Medicaid recipients in Jefferson and 15 surrounding counties "has made significant improvements in accountability and financial record-keeping," a press release from Audrey Tayse Haynes, the new secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. "Patient satisfaction with the health care provider remains high," she states.
With the end of school comes the opportunity for more outdoor play for many Kentucky children and youth. So, the possibility of incurring a head injury is very real during these times of increased activity. Robert McCool with the University of Kentucky’s Injury Prevention Center says there’s been increased interest in reducing traumatic brain injuries. “There’s also a lot of athletic play in the summer both in organized sports for children and youth and in un-organized pick up football games and so forth..and head injuries is a topic that’s getting a lot of attention and it should,” said McCool.
An influential federal panel says testing healthy men's prostate-specific antigen levels to detect prostate cancer does more harm than good. The PSA test can lead to unnecessary biopsies for men who turn out to be cancer-free. Those biopsies can also lead to men being treated for cancers that are so slow-growing (a characteristic of most prostate cancers) that they didn't need to be detected. An estimated 1,000 to 1,300 men die annually from complications associated with treatments that are initiated because of PSA screening, reports Alice Park for Time magazine. Moreover, treating harmless prostate tumors increases the chances of making men impotent or incontinent.
Nearly half of Northern Kentucky hotels have had at least one complaint of bed bugs since May 2010. In the region, 34 of 64 hotels have had an issue. The soon-to-be-sold Drawbridge Inn in Fort Mitchell has had the most complaints, with 12 findings of bed bugs from 20 complaints. The Super 8 Motel, also in Fort Mitchell, had 12 findings and 17 complaints since May 2010.
The varying forms of drug abuse have created challenges for both treatment and law enforcement professionals. Much attention across Kentucky in recent years has centered on a growing prescription drug abuse problem. State lawmakers have taken steps to crack down on improper pain clinics while also providing better communication within the medical profession about patients’ use of prescribed drugs. Michelle Lofwall is a University of Kentucky psychiatrist who treats prescription drug users. she is beginning to see another alarm go off.
Drinking and driving still accounts for many fatal vehicle crashes across Kentucky. More and more prescription pill impairment is joining alcohol as a cause for tragic collisions. As drivers hit the highways for their return following the holiday weekend, Robert McCool with the University of Kentucky’s Injury Prevention Center says these wrecks may not be related to drug abuse at all.
While rural Americans have less access to primary care and have worse health outcomes, the care at rural hospitals is equal to, if not better, than that at urban hospitals, a National Rural Health Association report says. The study also found rural health care is not more expensive than urban care. "However, urban residents rarely out-migrate to rural settings for either routine or advanced treatments or care yet many rural patients are referred to or voluntarily travel to urban providers based on the myth of better care," a summary of the study says.
To encourage child nutrition and healthier school lunches, state Agriculture Commissioner James Comer visited six Kentucky school districts earlier this week. He met with school boards in Owsley, Jackson, Knox, Marion and Metcalfe counties, and visited Green County High School, according to a news release from his office. Many Kentucky children consume more than half of their daily calories at schools. During a typical school day, 4 in 10 American students buy and eat snack foods and drinks, the Pew Health Group found. More than 23 million children and teens in the U.S. are overweight or obese.
Interested in creating a venue for those who have been harmed while undergoing medical treatments, ProPublica, the nonprofit, investigative news organization, has set up a Facebook page on the issue. "Group members have already shared stories of personal disability or the death of a loved one due to surgical mistakes, becoming infected with deadly drug-resistant bacteria and dental mishaps — including cases they claim were not properly addressed by health care providers," Daniel Victor and Marshall Allen report. The page will be moderated by Victor and Olga Pierce.
Kentucky scored a dismal 3 on a scale of 10 in a safety study that assessed states against the the top 10 injury indicators in the country. The state had the 10th highest injury rate, with 76.6 Kentuckians per 100,000 dying from intentional or unintentional injuries. Injuries are the third leading cause of death nationally, and the leading cause of death for Americans between ages 1 and 44.