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.
Two new drug awareness and education initiatives will be unveiled Friday in southeast Kentucky. The public ceremony at Eastern Kentucky University’s Manchester campus recognizes a new ‘Hope Wall’ and a mobile drug education classroom. Both are projects spearheaded by ‘Unite,’ an organization known for drug investigations, treatment, and education.
More than 250 "cuddlers" have volunteered to comfort newborns going through withdrawal when a unique, independent treatment center opens this fall in southern West Virginia. Lily's Place in Huntington plans to wean infants off drugs outside a hospital setting while also helping their addicted moms. Donations arrive every day. But good intentions don't always pay the bills.
Dr. Mark Plunkett, a cardiothoracic surgeon who came to UK from the UCLA medical center in 2007, resigned from UK effective Aug. 14, 2013, and accepted a job at the University of Florida.
Credit Pablo Alcala / Lexington Herald Leader
After months of refusing to release mortality rates for its troubled pediatric cardiothoracic surgery program, the University of Kentucky reversed course Friday and issued a statement disclosing the numbers. UK Healthcare CEO Michael Karpf said the program had an overall mortality rate of 5.8 percent from 2008 to 2012. During that period, annual mortality rates ranged from 4.5 percent to 7.1 percent, Karpf said in a statement. "These ranges are comparable to national mortality rates averaging 5.3 percent for programs of similar size to ours," Karpf said. More than 500 people have signed an online petition in the last week urging UK to release information about how many children died after undergoing heart surgery at Kentucky Children's Hospital. Read more.
Whole grains, low fat dairy products, and fruits and vegetables have long been recommended for preschoolers. Those recommendations could become a mandate over the next year. Organizations, like Head Start, that participate in the federal Child and Adult Care Food Program are already preparing. Cindy Willmarth led a training session at Eastern Kentucky University.
Many drivers say seat belts scare them. They worry about being trapped in a sinking car. However, a state highway safety official says such fears are unwarranted. Bill Bell, who directs the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety, says a seat belt gives you better odds of survival.
A review has found an 8 percent drop in Medicaid providers in Kentucky since the state moved to a managed care system two years ago. State Auditor Adam Edelen said the decrease raises concerns about Kentucky's ability to provide health care to an additional 300,000 people in a Medicaid expansion next year.
A panel appointed to review severe child abuse and neglect cases is considering a proposal that would require caregivers to submit to drug testing if a child died in their custody. Media reported the Kentucky Child Fatality and New Fatality External Review Panel met Monday and discussed the idea after reviewing the case of an infant who died while sleeping with his parents.
Kentucky is one of 17 states setting up its own online health-insurance exchange under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. A new report provides a limited update about the process, and reminds us that Kentucky doesn't have a long-term plan to pay for the Kentucky Health Benefits Exchange, branded Kynect and scheduled to go online Oct.1. The state is writing regulations to govern the operations of the exchange, and "developing IT systems that house and execute the eligibility determination rules for exchange coverage, federal premium tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance program" says the Georgetown University report, prepared for the Commonwealth Fund, which calls itself "a private foundation that aims to promote a high-performing health care system." Read more...