A veteran in public health care predicts a logjam when newly insured Kentuckians try to see a doctor. The Commonwealth has made national news in providing coverage to uninsured Kentuckians. Tens of thousands have signed up on-line and in just a couple months, they may hope to see a doctor. However, Fayette County Health Department Commissioner Rice Leach says making an appointment could be a challenge.
A statewide committee of volunteers is on target with its plan for a campaign to make Kentucky a healthier state, an expert in state and local health told the committee Monday. “You guys are absolutely on the right track,” Julie Willems Van Dijk of theUniversity of Wisconsin told the Friedell Committee for Health System Transformation at its annual meeting in Lexington. Read more...
Credit Photo by Joe Imel / Daily News, Bowling Green
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul said on ABC's "This Week" Sunday, Nov. 3 that the federal health-reform law may "bankrupt" rural Kentucky hospitals "by overwhelming them with Medicaid patients." However, health-care leaders in the state "say its hospitals stand to benefit, since the expansion would provide insurance to those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to pay their hospital bills," reports FactCheck.org, a nonpartisan service of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. Read more...
Kentucky State Police are using every available sworn unit today for what it calls the largest one day drug round up in agency history. The aim is to arrest 479 individuals. Troopers from all KSP posts along with numerous other law enforcement officers began arresting individuals before daybreak.
A task force within the State Fire Marshal’s Office is working on new fire prevention strategies. Fire fatalities across the Commonwealth have exceeded 60 for a number of years. Kentucky Fire Marshal Bill Swope says work on the new program began this past summer. He says the hope is to pilot some aspects of it next spring.
Halloween can lead to increased safety concerns in children filled neighborhoods. Those worries may be tied to the traffic found moving about on Halloween night. As the holiday falls on a Thursday this year, Kentucky Office of Highway Safety Director Bill Bell says Thursday nights are already a time of heightened risk for alcohol related incidents.
Kentucky's Attorney General says while progress is being made against prescription drug abuse, the state can't afford to let down its guard. Jack Conway told Bowling Green Rotarians Wednesday the state's pill-tracking system--known as KASPER--is giving law enforcement an idea of how widespread the abuse still is.
"Last year in Kentucky we dispensed over 220,000,000 doses of hydrocodone. We're a state of 4.3 million people. That's 51 doses of hydrocodone for every man, woman and child in this state. That's how much of the stuff is out there," said Conway.
Kentucky has recorded its first two confirmed cases of flu for this season. The two cases of influenza are no indication of how prevalent flu will be the next several months. The first two cases of flu were reported in Henderson and Jefferson Counties. State epidemiologist Craig Humbaugh says the flu bug is not an ailment which spreads from county to county necessarily.
The Kentucky Department of Education has completed an informal survey of middle and high school students. It shows bullying remains a problem on campus and online. The department partnered with family resource and youth service centers to anonymously quiz randomly selected students across the state on a variety of topics.
The long time director of the University of Kentucky’s Ovarian Cancer Screening says it’s hard to say how the federal health care reforms will affect future screening. Dr. John Van Nagel says it’s difficult to determine if more or fewer Kentucky women will be screened for ovarian cancer under the new Affordable Care Act.
The planned explosive destruction of thousands of aging mustard projectiles stored at the Blue Grass Army Depot is not expected have an environmental impact. That’s according to a report released today. The explosive technique is expected to be used in a detonation chamber at the Madison County Depot.
State officials have approved a wider area in eastern Kentucky where hunters can take black bears. A statement from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources says the number of counties where bears can be hunted has been expanded from four to 16. The Fish and Wildlife Commission said it recommended the changes in June and they recently received legislative approval.
More than two million dollars will be spent on safety improvements at railroad crossings in 17 Kentucky counties. The grants, all which require a dollar for dollar match from the railroad companies, are funded through the Kentucky Railroad Crossing Improvement Program. The transportation cabinet processed applications for more than a hundred projects at 99 crossing locations.
A proposed ordinance expected to be voted on this week would ban residents of a western Kentucky county from keeping livestock on smaller plots or close to dwellings. The measure is scheduled to be voted on Thursday by the Daviess County Fiscal Court in Owensboro.
Communities across Kentucky will benefit from nearly three million dollars in federal money intended to heighten security and safety measures. The funds are from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Computer based record keeping continues to grow within Kentucky medical community. Kentucky’s Health Information Exchange is the organization charged with coordinating this electronic data. State Health I.T. Coordinator Polly Mullins-Bentley says 65 out of 100 acute care hospitals are tied into the system.
Officials in towns along Kentucky's myriad of rivers are worried about being left blind the next time a waterway reaches overflow levels. Federal budget cuts, part of the $1.2 million mandatory cutback in spending, have eliminated river gauges that alert towns when the water is about to burst its banks.
This fall, undercover state investigators are crashing tailgate parties at the state’s universities. Since the end of August, the enforcement effort overall has resulted in more than 150 citations for alcohol-related offenses. The Commonwealth’s Alcoholic Beverage Control officers also patrol Keeneland, looking for underage drinkers. Director of Enforcement Mike Razor says they try to make repeat visits.
An emergency management agency official for greater Louisville says scattered flooding led to 82 people being evacuated over the weekend. Metro Safe Spokeswoman Jody Duncan says emergency workers safely removed people from homes and stranded cars late Saturday and early Sunday as waters rose waist-deep in some areas. There were no injuries.
Officials say the website for Kentucky's online health insurance exchange appears to have become smoother for users on its second day of operation. Kynect had nearly 110,000 visitors through late Wednesday afternoon, with about 10 percent of them starting applications for health care coverage. Nearly 7,000 applications have been completed.
On Tuesday, Kentuckians began buying health insurance through a state exchange created by federal health reform. Journalists have spent months trying to understand the reform law in an attempt to explain it to their readers, but unraveling the act can be a confusing and tiresome process. With open enrollment knocking at the door, Trudy Lieberman of Columbia Journalism Review asked for advice from Elisabeth Benjamin, a vice president at theCommunity Service Society in New York, which runs an insurance counseling program. She suggests looking at enrollment as a four-step process that she hopes will make the process easier for people. Read more...
Kentucky State Police in Mayfield are training school employees in western Kentucky on how to respond in a crisis. It’s being carried out with a special training program the KSP post created. Lt. Brent White says police have trained nearly 700 school staff members in 13 schools, and he says feedback indicates those employees feel more confident.
The federal government is on the brink of shutdown after House Republicans refused to pass a budget unless it involved a delay in the health reform law, and both Senate Democrats and the White House have said they will block any such budget resolution. In the event that Congress doesn't reach a compromise, which would lead to a shutdown on 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, enrollment for Kentucky's online health insurance exchange, Kynect, will still begin as scheduled. Read more...
The fall wildfire hazard season is underway across Kentucky. The season runs from Oct. 1 through Dec. 15. During that time, outdoor burning is prohibited from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. within 150 feet of any woodland or brush land. State Forestry Division Director Leah MacSwords says with the last several weeks of dry weather, conditions are favorable for outdoor fires to spread into wildfires.
Needle exchange programs were first created 30 years ago, in response to the AIDS epidemic. Infected needles were often passed from drug abuser to drug abuser, spreading the deadly disease. By providing sterile needles, public health officials reduced the number of infections. Still, needle exchange programs remain controversial and under debate in Frankfort and Washington DC.
Governor Steve Beshear on a public tour of Lexington's new Eastern State Hospital.
Credit Stu Johnson / WEKU News
Nearly 200 years of history is about to end at Lexington’s Eastern State Hospital. It’s old facility now stands almost vacant, replaced by a 129- million dollar psychiatric hospital. Chief Medical Officer Allen Brenzel led a group that included Kentucky’s Governor, social workers, and advocates for the mentally ill. In addition to the modern amenities, Brenzel says the newest techniques in care giving will be applied at the 239 bed facility.
Three Kentucky healthcare providers are working together to improve heart care in Appalachia. The partnership should mean fewer patient trips to Lexington. The collaboration involves Appalachian Regional Healthcare, Appalachian Heart Center, and the University of Kentucky’s Gill Heart Institute. UK Vice President of Health Affairs Michael Karpf says more cardiologists will be going to the Hazard area.
Three healthcare entities join together to bolster cardiac care in Appalachia
The University of Louisville is giving Norton Healthcare 30 days to back out of an agreement with the University of Kentucky to jointly operate Kosair Children's Hospital. Norton announced the partnership last week, saying it wanted to strengthen pediatric care in the commonwealth. This surprised U of L officials, who have also been trying to negotiate a similar contract with Norton. “The very fact that Norton made that announcement absent any discussion with the U of L and has touted it as being, It’s all about better pediatric care, is absolutely nonsense," says David Dunn, UofL's executive vice president of health affairs. Read more...
The black pigmentation and fibrosis are due to inhalation of carbon pigment and silica respectively in a coal worker.
Credit Yale Rosen / Flickr, Creative Commons
Over the decades, great gains have been made in reducing black lung disease among coal miners. But, recently, there’s been an uptick in the sometimes fatal condition. Fifty years ago, Central Appalachian Education and Research Center Director Wayne Sanderson says about a third of all miners contracted black lung. Today, the potentially deadly disease afflicts about four to five percent of miners. And, Sanderson says, that number’s climbing.
The federal mandate for health insurance coverage impacts thousands of Kentuckians. Another step toward getting those individuals covered occurred today in Lexington. A call center for the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange Office is located in Lexington. Governor Beshear was on hand for the official launch of the center where 60 agents stand by ready to answer questions.