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.
A proposal for a Kentucky statewide smoking ban has cleared its first hurdle. The House Health and Welfare committee passed the bill today. The bill was expected to pass easily, but a few Republicans did vote against the measure because of concern for individual property rights.Lexington doctor Sylvia Cerel-Suhl supports the ban. She says it’s her right to go out in public and not be subjected to second-hand smoke.
A new report today from the Alzheimer’s Association says more than 11,000 Kentuckians diagnosed with the disease still live alone, and up to half of them have no identifiable caregiver. In Indiana, the number exceeds 17,000. Teri Shirk, president of the association’s Kentucky and southern Indiana chapter,says the numbers are climbing as more people live to be senior citizens, with many having no family members to look after them.
Three private companies that took over management of Kentucky’s Medicaid system in November have become a clogged channel between payments from the state and the hospitals and doctors who need the money. Jennie Stuart Medical Center, the Christian and Todd County health departments and Pennyroyal Mental Health Center are awaiting months’ worth of back payments, causing major budget shortfalls.
The Kentucky Department for Public Health, along with the Kentucky Cancer Program at the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville, is helping to promote “Dress in Blue Day” by asking Kentuckians to wear blue on Friday to promote colon cancer screening. During a rally at the Capitol, Gov. Steve Beshear signed a proclamation designating March 2012 Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. In his current budget proposal, Beshear seeks funding for the colon cancer screening for 4,000 uninsured Kentuckians.
Several healthcare groups have come together in a public-private partnership to fight cancer in Kentucky. The newly-formed Kentucky Cancer Foundation is part of a two-million-dollar initiative to help uninsured Kentuckians get cancer screenings. In his proposed two year budget, Governor Steve Beshear earmarked half a million dollars each year for colon cancer screenings. He also proposed raising another million from a public-private partnership.
For a few minutes today, let’s put aside expanded gambling, redistricting, Medicaid, and pill mills and talk about Kentucky kids. In a Weekly Wrap-up, Kentucky Youth Advocates (KYA) is writing about the plight of the children in the Commonwealth. It is not a pretty picture. One of Executive Director’s Terry Brook’s brightest policy analysts has taken a look at the latest annual national snapshot from the Annie E. Casey Foundation and found some disturbing news for kids in Kentucky.
February is National Children's Dental Health Month and hundreds of students at a local elementary school brushed their teeth in unison at an assembly this/Thursday morning as part of the first annual "Brush Off!" event. The rally at Booker T. Washington Academy was meant to urge kids to adopt good oral hygiene habits. But for student Samantha Wiggington, avoiding drills and fillings might be all the encouragement she needs.
Former UK basketball coach Joe B. Hall is a busy fellow these days. One of his pursuits is a daily statewide radio show with former U of L coach Denny Crum. Hall, now 83, recalls the moment back in 1997 when his heart stopped him in his tracks and led to his being honored Saturday as a survivor at the Lexington Heart Ball. Hall replaced the legendary Adolph Rupp as UK coach and led the Wildcats to an NCAA championship in 1978. He retired as coach in 1985.
A new study out of Yale University offers evidence that coal mining isn’t directly to blame for Appalachia’s health problems—but it could play a part. For years, researchers have tried to figure out why people in Appalachia contract diabetes, heart disease and various cancers at higher rates than most of the country. Several studies out of West Virginia University found links between some of those maladies and coal mining. The new study,from researchers at Yale’s School of Public Health, suggests the causes are more complicated.
For the third time, a bill that would provide grants to put heart-shocker machines in all US schools is making the rounds in Congress. And, an obstacle that’s stopped this bill before could once again halt it.
Dr. Marianne Sheroan eased her patient’s fears of a cavity treatment by telling her that she was receiving “princess fillings.” And they were indeed pretty special, because for the patient, they were free. More than 60 children received free dental work in the past few weeks as part of the Smile Kentucky program. The program in Hardin County screens every third grader and relays the assessments of dental needs to parents. But for about 70 students, the needed treatment is provided free by dental professionals who volunteer with the program.
Transylvania University's first-ever local food fair attracted a larger crowd than expected Friday. There were three letters on the lips of nearly everyone at the fair: CSA. It stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Organizer Angela Dossett said CSAs are like Farmer's Markets, only they allow growers and buyers to forge a different kind of bond. "You invest in a farm at the beginning of the growing season and then all through the growing season you get beautiful boxes of produce every week," Dossett said.
The Kentucky Department for Public Health and its partners have selected 41 high schools to receive grants to develop or improve the nutritional, physical activity or tobacco prevention policies at their schools. The $500 grants are part of the Students Taking Charge program offered by Kentucky Action for Healthy Kids. Students Taking Charge provides students with the tools necessary to develop healthy policies and environments within their schools, according to a state press release.
An Indiana man has become the eighth person to receive a hand transplant at Louisville’s Jewish Hospital.Fifty-six year old Ronald Thurman of Marion received a new right hand in a 15-and-a-half hour procedure that ended early Thursday morning. The donor hand came from a 22 year old Texas man who lost his life in a car accident.
Elkhorn Middle School eighth-grader Hanna Sewell sat at the lunch table Wednesday behind a foam tray that held a hamburger and french fries. A few feet away, officials with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Kentucky Department of Education were eating lunch too. They stopped by Elkhorn Middle Wednesday to promote new federal guidelines that will cut sodium, add whole grains and provide a wider selection of fruits and vegetables on the side of school lunches nationwide. Announced just a few weeks ago, it’s the first major nutritional overhaul of school meals in more than 15 years. Some of the changes will take place when kids return to school this fall; others will be phased in over time.
By Beth Musgrave and Valarie Honeycutt Spears, Lexington Herald-Leader
Six months after a brain-injured Lebanon man disappeared from a Falmouth personal care home and died, a panel of lawmakers approved a bill Wednesday aimed at preventing similar deaths. Larry Lee's family mounted an extensive search to find the 32-year-old man with a history of mental illness, but it was four weeks after his August disappearance before Lee's body was found on the banks of the Licking River not far from Falmouth Nursing Home in Pendleton County. The personal care home where he was placed by the state did not have adequate services for Lee, his family said.
A spokesman with the Fayette County Health Department says the flu season so far, has been mild. Kevin Hall says there are fewer confirmed cases to report than at this same time last year. "The flu is down. Last year at this time we had 160 cases. The average age then was about twenty-five. We're looking at about 18 right now, so you can see that it is trending younger."
Members of a heart transplant support group met for a special Valentine's Day celebration at UK hospital Tuesday. "Organ donation saves lives," Dr. Charles Shelton, a recovering heart transplant patient at UK, ended his speech at the Valentine's Day get-together of the Heart to Heart support group. They meet to share stories, update each other, and become part of a community.
First lady Jane Beshear Monday joined Dr. Mary Lynn Capilouto, Kentucky Commission on Women Executive Director Eleanor Jordan and other women health advocates to unveil a new interactive women’s wellness kiosk at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center. “As women, wives and mothers, we tend to take on the role of caregiver, putting others’ needs above our own, and many times neglecting our own health,” Beshear said said in a press release.
Since taking over a portion of Kentucky’s Medicaid system, Managed Care Organization (MCO) Kentucky Spirit Health Plan has lost nearly 70,000 members while some healthcare professionals are questioning whether the three new private operators can handle the state’s Medicaid program.
Over the last eight years, over 600 Kentucky teenagers have used video to deliver warnings against ‘underage drinking.’ The lasting impact is hard to gauge, but participating youth and adults are confident lessons are learned. The Keep-It-Real Contest puts a high school student’s creativity to the test by asking them to develop a 30 second video message. Donna Weisenhahn with the Bluegrass Prevention Center believes the project has become more than a warning against the dangers of ‘drinking and driving.’
Mild weather this winter could result in major bug infestations this spring. Since December, University of Kentucky Entomologist Lee Townsend says the central Kentucky area has only seen about 30 days with freezing temperatures. Normally, Townsend says, that figure can reach as high as 50 days. As a result, Townsend says more insects may survive the winter.
Governor Steve Beshear says the problems with Kentucky’s new Medicaid Managed Care system will be resolved. Beshear pushed for the managed care system last year to take some of the administrative burden of Medicaid off of the state. But earlier this week, doctors, pharmacists and hospital officials told lawmakers there were significant problems with the system. Specifically, care providers are owed millions of dollars in claim payments and have struggled to get pre-authorizations for procedures and medications.