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.
A sexually transmitted virus that’s long been known to cause cervical cancer is now being blamed for a growing list of other cancers that are hitting Kentucky hard. HPV, short for human papillomavirus, is linked to cancers of the vulva, vagina, penis, anus and lung, and most recently to a rising number of head and neck cancers that strike in the prime of life. “It’s turning out to be a pretty bad actor ... an extensive health problem,” said Dr. Daniel Metzinger, a gynecological oncologist with University of Louisville Physicians and one of several local doctors who say they’re seeing more HPV-related disease than ever before.
An art competition among students with impaired hearing is designed to draw attention to Kentuckians who are deaf and hard of hearing. Six students from around Kentucky were recently named as winners of the ‘Communication…Every Word Matters’ art contest. They’ll be featured on a fiberglass horse on display in Louisville during the Deaf-Festival in early July. Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Director Virginia Moore says communication can be a problem when buying art.
Health care facilities cannot always provide timely assistance to Kentuckians with hearing loss. Patients often have a hard time communicating with emergency room personnel. Virginia Moore, who directs the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, says at least one Kentucky hospital has hired an expert in sign language.
Uninsured motorists across Kentucky will begin receiving notices in June. Those notices will state registration for their personal vehicles will be canceled if they don’t obtain required insurance of show proof of existing insurance. Registered owners of personal vehicles shown to have been without insurance for more than two months will receive the notices. The owners will have 30 days to obtain or present verification of coverage.
The story behind 9-month-old's death is featured in a video produced by the Partnership to Eliminate Child Abuse, a coalition of medical schools and children's hospitals from Kentucky and Indiana. The kickoff event for the partnership was held Wednesday at Kosair Children's Hospital. The partnership will launch a media blitz soon to raise awareness about the signs of child abuse.
A new motorcycle operator’s test in Kentucky should better assess a biker’s skills in traffic. The test, developed by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, was implemented May first. In 2012, State Police spokesman Michael Webb says Kentucky has seen a 69 percent increase in motorcycle crashes. Webb says it’s difficult to predict if the revised test will reduce the number of cyclists earning a license.
Medicaid provider Coventry Cares has reversed an earlier decision and will continue paying for a costly medication that helps drug addicts stop using opiates, a company spokesman said Monday. Matt Eyles, a spokesman for Coventry, said the company decided to reverse course after talking to representatives of a chain of addiction treatment clinics that threatened last week to sue Coventry.
State officials have not yet given private Medicaid operators permission to do business in the Louisville area, but that hasn't stopped one company from trying to make inroads. Currently, Passport Health Plan runs Medicaid in and around Louisville. The federal government has ordered the state to open the region to competition, but the area remains closed. In anticipation of a change, United Healthcare recently sent letters to dental centers in the area, encouraging them to sign up with United once the state allows outside companies to begin operations.