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.
Kentucky’s private Medicaid providers say they need immediate changes in the state Medicaid system. Kentucky turned the system over to managed care providers four months ago. And today doctors, pharmacists and hospital executives told a Senate committee how disastrous the change has been. Kentucky currently contracts with four Managed Care Organizations, known as MCOs. Passport is based in Louisville, while Kentucky Spirit, WellCare and Coventry Cares operate statewide.
State House lawmakers, in a rare show of unity, unanimously approved a bill requiring high school and middle school coaches to obtain more training to recognize and treat concussions and other head injuries. Rep. Ben Waide, a Madisonville Republican, said new medical information has surfaced within the past two years pointing to the dangers of head injuries.
Northern Kentucky's smoking opponents lost a battle last year when Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties decided not to impose indoor smoking bans for restaurants and other businesses. But the Northern Kentucky Health Department is trying to clear the smoke from other areas, including Covington’s public housing projects and the city’s swimming pools. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last month awarded the health department and city $26,950 to explore non-smoking policies in its housing-authority apartments and $4,000 more to expand smoke-free areas around three city pools and a water park.
Kentucky officials have rejected St. Elizabeth Healthcare’s application to open a top-level neonatal intensive care unit in Edgewood. St. Elizabeth has been fighting for more than a year to open the unit, which would provide ventilation and other services to babies born between 28 and 32 weeks of gestation. But the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services ruled late Wednesday that while St. Elizabeth demonstrated the NICU would benefit Northern Kentucky, it did not prove that families needing the service could not get medical care at Cincinnati hospitals or elsewhere in Kentucky.
University Medical Center in Louisville is conducting a self-review in the wake of a failed merger attempt. UMC is made up of University of Louisville Hospital and the James Graham Brown Cancer Center. The organization recently tried to merge with Jewish/St. Mary’s Healthcare and Catholic Health Initiatives, but Governor Steve Beshear blocked the deal. Now, UMC’s board has formed a committee to look at questions over the organization’s financial viability, management and operations that arose during merger talks.
Kentucky’s epidemic of substance abuse has officials seeking new methods for breaking the cycle of addiction. One such approach is built into a spending plan for Medicaid. The governor's proposal could provide drug treatment for the first time for adults in the Medicaid program. The item is included in Governor Beshear's budget plan.
The flu is on the move across Kentucky. The traditional peak season for influenza in the Commonwealth falls between January and March. State epidemiologist Craig Humbaugh says the spread of flu has increased in recent weeks. “We had for a long time been reporting what we call sporadic activity which is just an occasional case and then for a few weeks we were reporting localized activity which one level above that now we’re reporting regional activity….we’re one level away from what we call widespread activity,” said Humbaugh.
Dr. Jonathan Feddock of Lexington is a true stair master. The 30-year-old radiation oncologist climbed 29 stories of the Lexington Financial Center, the city's tallest building — 638 steps — in 2 minutes, 46 seconds to take first in the overall male division of Saturday's inaugural Urban Mountain Challenge, organizers said. And get this: He did it after breaking his right foot during an October run.
While Kentucky lawmakers discuss limiting access to medicine containing pseudoephedrine, an official at Jennie Stuart Medical Center fears restrictions may lead to overcrowded doctors’ offices. Three bills pertaining to pseudoephedrine have been introduced to the Kentucky General Assembly. House Bill 80, co-authored by Rep. Brent Yonts, D-Greenville, and Rep. Myron Dossett, R-Pembroke, would prohibit anyone convicted of a methamphetamine-related crime from purchasing pseudoephedrine without a prescription. The bill is under discussion with the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Rep. John Tilley, D-Hopkinsville.
A McCreary County couple have filed a $6.5 million lawsuit against Kraft Foods alleging the husband sustained a perforated bowel and peritonitis from a piece of metal he ingested when he ate microwavable Velveeta Shells & Cheese. Leamon Perkins of Pine Knot underwent surgery Sept. 29, one day before Kraft Foods Global recalled the microwavable dish, according to the complaint in U.S. District Court in London filed Jan. 11. The voluntary recall was due to the possible presence of small, thin pieces of wire bristle, according to Kraft officials.
Three people were arrested Thursday after State Police busted a methamphetamine lab in a Warsaw home. Police say a 4-year-old was inside the house where a man suffered chemcial burn. The lab was discovered at the home in the 2900 block of Ky. 1992 in about 9 p.m. Thursday after emergency medical personnel responded to a 911 call of the chemical burn. Inside the house, troopers found three grams of meth and several ingredients used to make meth.
There is still a lot of work to do, but the Florida Attorney General says the "pill pipeline" between her state and Kentucky has been significantly reduced thanks to tougher regulations and the launch of a prescription monitoring program. Pam Bondi spoke in Lexington Thursday at a conference on prescription drug abuse. "We've been going around the state training law enforcement in what to look for in these drug cases, and you wouldn't believe the number of doctors and nurses who are showing up to our training sessions. So there are so many responsible doctors and dentists who want to know what to look for and want to do the right thing.
Gov. Steve Beshear has proposed $14 million in state bond allocations to go toward building a veterans nursing home in Radcliff. The money is included in the governor’s proposed two-year budget, which now stands for approval by the state legislature. Rep. Tim Moore, R-Elizabethtown, said it will take another two months for the legislature to “iron out” the newly proposed budget. The state legislature never has adopted a budget as proposed by Beshear, according to Moore.
A team from the National Weather Service confirmed Wednesday that a tornado touched down in Scott County during Tuesday’s storm. The tornado was classified as an EF-1 and touched down at Soards Road near Longview Golf course. Crews also surveyed damage in downtown Georgetown and at Muir Lane but found roof damage at both locations came from straight-line winds.
A national safety award has gone to more than 300 workers who are constructing the chemical–agent disposal facility at the Bluegrass Army Depot. Work on the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant is expected to reach the halfway point later this year. Disposal of nerve and mustard agents is scheduled to begin in 2017 and take two to three years to complete. Michelle Sotak with the U.S Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA presented officials and workers at the plant the Voluntary Protection Program Star Status plaque. “They have a good program in place..the employees feel comfortable reporting injuries…they also feel comfortable in doing it the right way..not taking the short cut and that plays a big part in the injury rate,” said Sotak.
Kentucky lawmakers are encouraging the public to give money to breast cancer research by checking box 36 on their tax returns. A coalition of Democratic and Republican lawmakers, along with First Lady Jane Beshear, held a news conference today to remind citizens of the state fund, which was created in 2005. “If just half of [Kentucky's 1.8 million] taxpayers donated ten dollars to the fund each year, 9.1 million dollars could be raised annually," says Representative Joni Jenkins, a major sponsor of the announcement.
Bhavika Sheth and her husband have owned Frankfort's Eastwood Shell for more than two years, and they say they oppose selling synthetic drugs – commonly known as bath salts and synthetic marijuana. She said the money to be made off the drugs is not worth the potential cost. “I know some places have made a killing off that stuff, but I know if I brought my kids into a store selling that, I wouldn’t feel safe, so we won’t have it here,” she said. Eastwood Shell on Versailles Road was one of about 25 businesses that Frankfort and state police visited Tuesday with educational letters about synthetic drugs.
Officials from the National Weather Service will visit Franklin County today to determine if Tuesday’s downed power lines and roof damage were caused by straight-line winds or a tornado. About seven storage units at Ratliff’s Self Storage Center on U.S. 421 were damaged after strong winds tore through the area around noon Tuesday, said manager Leslie Driskell. One of those units belongs to KB Construction, and the owner, Kevin Breeck, was inside when the storm came through. He said he was just leaving when the winds picked up.
The communities of far western Kentucky were among the first to feel the effects of methamphetamine production and addiction several years ago. Both meth production and use have spread to most all corners of the commonwealth. The problem can’t always be measured in the number of meth labs in a given area. Lexington police detective Byron Smoot says local investigators typically find only a handful of meth labs in a given year. But, he says Lexington ranks second in the number of pharmacies among Kentucky cities. Smoot says groups of four to five people often come to Fayette County to buy cold remedies with pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in meth production.
A new center dedicated to student wellness has opened at the University of Kentucky. The Promoting and Achieving Wellness for Students Center, or PAWS, is intended for students with broad questions about their health. Fadyia Lowe, Health Education Coordinator for the University Health Service, says the center, which will provide health screenings and guidance for students, has been in the works for some time.
The healthy way to a kid’s stomach may be found at a pool concession stand during the swimming season. An expanded menu of healthy foods is planned in Lexington this summer. The ‘Better Bites’ menu includes fruit, a grilled chicken sandwich, and bottled water. It was posted at the Woodland and Southland Aquatic Centers this past summer. Anita Courtney is chair of the Lexington Tweens Nutrition and Fitness Coalition. She says the healthy menu will be offered at two additional pools this year.
Kentucky Youth Advocates will propose three main recommendations this week for changes to the state’s child welfare system, according to executive director Terry Brooks. Nearly 250 Kentuckians attended a summit this weekend to discuss those changes, including Janie Miller, secretary for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Attendees heard dozens of recommendations but the decision to narrow down ideas came down to the ideas’ impact and feasibility for government to make the change, said Brooks.
Kentucky lawmakers may soon vote on legislation that would require a prescription for cold medicines commonly used for making methamphetamine. Several local officials believe meth production in Kentucky will drop dramatically if such a law takes effect. The chemical in this medicine, pseudoephedrine, is the only ingredient absolutely necessary for making meth, Commonwealth’s Attorney Lynn Pryor said.
Meteorologists will tell you severe weather can strike most any time of the year across Kentucky. Just prior to this snowy cold snap, the threat of thunderstorm activity was a part of the forecast. That includes the possibility of tornadic activity. Pat Dugger, Director of Lexington’s Division of Emergency Management, says more attention is being given to building ‘wind resistant’ homes and businesses.
A summit to address the problems facing Kentucky’s child welfare system will be held in Louisville Saturday. Kentucky Youth Advocates has been a leader in questioning the state’s child welfare system since criticism of its practices arose last year when an employee for the Department of Health and Family Services was accused of not adequately investigating a case that led to a child’s death.
New technologies in pace making could reduce the need for some open heart operations in the years ahead. So says Lexington electrophysiologist, Dr Gery Tomassoni who’s worked with the ‘Unify Quadra.’ The cardiac device features four electrodes on the end of a pacing lead. He says it can significantly improve ‘quality of life’ in heart patients.
Officials from outside of Kentucky are encouraging state lawmakers not to repeat their missteps in the fight against meth. At a joint meeting of the House and Senate Judiciary committees, officials from Oklahoma and Mississippi testified about how they've restricted the purchase of pseudoephedrine (PSE)—a common decongestant in cold medicines and an integral ingredient in meth.