The Fayette County Health Department is teaming up with the Lexington Humane Society and the city’s department of animal care and control for an annual rabies vaccination clinic. Health Department spokesman Kevin Hall says it’s a low-cost way for pet owners to make sure their animals are properly immunized and in compliance with the law. “This is just a chance for pet owners to come out and get a very low cost shot. It’s three dollars to get the pet vaccinated and normally these cost up to around twenty dollars.”
A hospital chain serving Eastern Kentucky is seeking an emergency order to avoid disruptions to patients and widespread layoffs it says will occur in the state's poorest region unless a judge intervenes. Attorneys for Appalachian Regional Healthcare on Tuesday asked a federal judge to issue an injunction ordering Coventry Cares to let its members continue to receive services through the hospital chain. Coventry Cares is one of three companies approved by the state to provide managed-care services to poor, disabled and elderly people throughout most of the state under Medicaid. Coventry said it would cancel its contract with ARH after Friday.
The main healthcare provider for eastern Kentucky, Appalachian Regional Healthcare, has filed suit against two of the state’s four Medicaid managed care operators. In complaints filed this week, Appalachian Regional Healthcare alleges Coventry Health and Kentucky Spirit Health Plan owe the provider over $17 million in back payments. Kentucky privatized Medicaid statewide last November to reduce costs and provide better patient care.
By Ivy Brashear, Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues
The scholar who has done the most to connect mountaintop removal coal mining with public health issues explained and defended his work last week during a lecture at Morehead State University. The studies by Michael Hendryx and his colleagues at West Virginia University have become controversial because they show correlations between coal mining and public health, not that mining causes health problems. Showing the relationship between two separate things iscorrelation; showing that one thing causes another is causation.
The Kentucky Department for Public Health’s Office of Health Equity is promoting National Minority Health Month during April. This year’s theme, “Health Equity Can’t Wait. Act Now in Your CommUNITY!” is a call to action to reduce health disparities among various minorities across the state. Health equity is defined as the attainment of the highest level of health for all people. According to the research conducted by DPH, numerous disparities – or gaps in health equity – exist in Kentucky, such as the rate of diabetes among the state’s Hispanic population or infant mortality among African-Americans.
University of Kentucky pharmacy students organized a bone marrow drive on campus Friday. In addition to adding new names to the registry, the drive also aimed to clear up some common misconceptions about the donation process. "We've been at it since about 8 o'clock and we've probably added 45 to 50 people already," says Kenneth Kennedy, a pharmacy resident is helping oversee the Be the Match Bone Marrow Drive. He says part of the challenge is updating potential donors on how the donation process has evolved.
On the roof of the University of Kentucky Health Services building sits a device the shape and size of the propeller on a toy airplane. What it gathers each weekday from March until the end of October determines whether you have — or will get — a bad case of pollen-related sniffles. It is a measuring point, one of only a few in the state, for pollen and mold.
Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear is encouraging his peers to join him in fighting prescription pill abuse. Beshear sent that message today at a prescription pill conference in Florida sponsored by Operation UNITE. For the last few years, Beshear has reached out to Kentucky’s neighbors to share information on prescription pill tracking, in an attempt to reduce the problem in the commonwealth.
At the National Prescription Drug Abuse Summit in Orlando Tuesday, Gov. Steve Beshear called for states and the federal government to develop aggressive shared tactics to thwart the devastating scourge of prescription drug abuse. He also encouraged Kentucky legislators to keep the state on the leading edge of effective anti-drug strategies by passing a broad prescription drug bill on the final day of the legislative session this week.
The largest ever genome-wide study has identified two new gene variants that increase the risk of common childhood obesity. "We have definitively identified and characterized a genetic predisposition to common childhood obesity," said lead investigator Struan F.A. Grant, associate director of the Center for Applied Genomics at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The analysis included 14 previous studies "encompassing 5,530 cases of childhood obesity and 8,300 control subjects, all of European ancestry," reports research-reporting service Newswise.
With 50 million Americans living in poor or rural areas where there are no dentists to go to — and that number expected to rise by more than 5 million if the Affordable Care Act stands — states and the federal government should be training dental therapists to help solve the problem, argues Louis W. Sullivan, a physician and former secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, in an op-ed piece in The New York Times.
Sales of hydrocodone (the key ingredient of Vicodin, Norco and Lortab) and oxycodone (the main ingredient in OxyContin, Percocet and Percodan) skyrocketed in new parts of the country as the problem spread from its Appalachian roots in the last decade, an Associated Press analysis shows. Oxycodone sales in Tennessee, New York and Florida were up by more than 499 percent from 2000 to 2010, the highest increases in the country, the study shows. When it came to hydrocodone, South Dakota had the highest increase, with 300 to 399 percent.
As a bipartisan group of political leaders pushes the General Assembly to pass a bill Thursday that would crack down on "pill mills" that contribute to prescription drug abuse, Eastern Kentucky's Operation UNITE has organized a national summit in Florida. The National Rx Drug Abuse Summit aims to "foster understanding and cooperation among those involved in the battle against the epidemic," reports Laura Ungar for The Courier-Journal.
The University of Louisville is one of seven institutions participating in a national study of adult stem cell therapy that officials say will give U of L a high profile the next several years. The therapy uses stem cells to repair damaged cells in certain diseases or injuries. Last fall, a group led by Dr. Roberto Bolli (pictured), director of U of L’s Division of Cardiology, announced it had successfully reversed heart damage in 16 trial patients through stem cell treatment. The new research will seek treatments for a greater variety of cardiovascular diseases, said Bolli.
Organ and tissue donors and recipients gathered with doctors and nurses with UK Healthcare to recognize a special month on their calendars. A new flag flies below the stars and stripes in front of UK Chandler Hospital. It reads “Donate Life,” highlighting April status as Donate Life Month, an effort to bolster organ donor registries across the country. More than 800 Kentucky residents are on waiting lists for life-saving organs. Teresa Schladt was lucky enough to receive a liver five years ago.
Thousands of Lexington middle schoolers are putting their sneakers to work over the next six weeks as they participate in World Fit, a fitness program started by Olympians to reduce childhood obesity. This year 11 of Fayette County Public Schools' 12 middle schools are taking part.
Kentucky State Police are seeing a significant spike in motorcycle crashes and deaths. There’s been a 69 percent increase in motorcycle wrecks this year compared to the same period in 2011. State police spokesman, Michael Webb says there have been nine bike related fatalities this year compared with four at this point last year. “So we would ask to encourage all motorists on the roadway to be more vigilant for motorcycles traveling on the roadways….at the same time..we also want to encourage cyclists for how passenger cars behave on the road..and that they may not be able to see cyclists as well,” said Webb.
A freeze warning is in effect for much of thebluegrass region. The biggest threat of frost is projected between one a.m. and nine a.m. Saturday. With chilly temperatures comes the risk of damage to all kinds of flowering plants. Madison county extension agent in horticulture, Amanda Sears says strawberries are particularly vulnerable.
Since Kentucky banned texting while driving, State police have issued a few hundred citations. State Police Lieutenant David Jude says about 300 tickets were issued statewide in 2011, and another 100 thus far in 2012. “And whether it takes a day, a week, a particular holiday, or even a whole month…set aside for it…it is definitely something that we need to look for….you know Kentucky annually averages around 40 percent or so distracted driving collisions,” said Jude.
Weight and width restrictions are now in place for a rural bridge that links Madison and Estill counties. A weight limit of nine tons and a width restriction of 14 feet govern the Kentucky 499 bridge over Drowning Creek. An inspection revealed a deterioration of support beams. District Ten Transportation Department spokesman H-B Elkins says one lane of traffic remain open until repairs are complete. Elkins says most passenger vehicles can still use the bridge
A new report on health in Kentucky ranks Jefferson County lower than many of its neighbors, but says state’s eastern counties are most in need of improvements. The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released the national County Health Rankings and Roadmaps report, which gives county-by-county health statistics based on factors such as premature death, lack of physical activity and the number of fast food restaurants in the county.
After months of preparation and anticipation, Saturday’s move of the last patients from the old Clark Regional Medical Center into the new hospital on Winchester's Lexington Road went off without a hitch. Ambulance crews from Winchester Fire-EMS, Estill and Powell counties began moving the 16 patients to the new facility at 5 a.m., and less than two hours later, the move was completed and the lights were turned out for the final time at the old hospital.
As the Kentucky Department of Agriculture has issued a West Nile Virus warning to equine owners, officials with the state’s veterinarian department are encouraging owners to seek vaccinations, which they say have a 100 percent success rate in Kentucky. West Nile was first discovered in New York in 1999 and has since spread across the country. It’s transmitted from mosquitoes that bite infected birds, which can then transmit the virus to horses, humans and other warm-blooded animals.
A Lexington company has agreed to pay nearly $700,000 to the U.S. government to settle civil allegations of Medicare fraud.The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Kentucky announced the settlement Tuesday with Hospice of the Bluegrass. From January 2002 to December 2008, Hospice submitted Medicare reimbursement claims for services performed on patients who did not qualify for Medicare.
A large, inflatable replica of a human colon made a stop today in Lexington. The colon, which is big enough to explore, was set up just outside the Fayette County Health Clinic. Jessica Jackson, who’s with the health department, says they hope to excite the curiosity of passers-by. “Well the benefit of something like this is to allow clients and patients and the public to come through and see the visual of actual colon cancer developing cause a lot of people can’t see inside their colons so once they walk through this inflatable colon they have a chance to see the actual diseases that grow inside the colon,” said Jackson.
Dr. Clark Bailey's patients don't have to tell him how miserable their allergies are this year. As a fellow sufferer, he knows the feeling. The spring allergy season normally gets under way right about now, but many sufferers have been sneezing for a month or more. Allergy sufferers can thank a mild winter with a lot of rain for their early symptoms. "I have certainly had them early this year," said Bailey, a general practitioner at Lexington's Central Baptist's Urgent Care. Some of his patients have complained of problems from allergies since February. The spring allergy season normally gets under way right about now, but many sufferers have been sneezing for a month or more. Allergy sufferers can thank a mild winter with a lot of rain for their early symptoms.
Of the problems facing the nation's health care system, one rarely discussed factor helping up drive up costs is something called "health literacy." Like many health care-related issues, it’s a problem that affects not just patients but medical professionals."You could have a PhD and be very health illiterate," says Deborah Murray, associate director of the Health Education Though Extension Leadership program and organizer of a Health Literacy Summit taking place in Lexington.
A coalition of organizations is rallying Wednesday to urge lawmakers and citizens to take a stronger stance against smoking in the Commonwealth. “Kick Butts Day” is focusing on preventing young people from taking up the habit. Evidence of the 17th annual “Kick Butts Days” is on display at the YMCA of Central Kentucky in Beaumont Circle Wednesday, as the lobby is filled with pamphlets, displays, and organizers such as Betsy Janes with the American Lung Association.
A state agency that serves as a watchdog for people with disabilities says the Commonwealth is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by placing people with mental illnesses in personal care homes. A personal care home is a long-term care facility for residents who do not need intensive care but do require more than just room and board. There are more than 6,000 personal care home beds in Kentucky. A report issued this week by Kentucky Protection and Advocacy found that people in these facilities are not given opportunities to interact with others or be part of the community.
Ninety-five years after the original Clark County Hospital opened on Wainscott Avenue, local and state officials gathered with community members to celebrate the completion of the new Clark Regional Medical Center on Lexington Road. “Boy, what a project it’s been,” hospital CEO Kathy Love said. “We’ve had incredible partnerships, incredible vision and incredible foresight.” LifePoint Hospitals purchased Clark Regional Medical Center in May 2010 and construction began in September 2010. The facility is licensed for 100 beds and is equipped with state-of-the-art technology, allowing staff to expand medical services.