Kentuckians are getting fatter. That’s not an opinion, it’s a fact, according to the latest study of obesity rates in the United States by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Kentucky ranked sixth in the nation in the 2010 study with 31.5 percent of all adults being obese, up from 29 percent from a similar study conducted in 2009. The obesity rate for Kentucky high school students also rose, going up 2 percent, to 17.6 percent from 15.6 in 2009.
A federal court has issued a permanent injunction against a Pike County coal mine in response to allegations from the Mine Safety and Health Administration that the mine was giving advance notice of inspections. When miners have advance notice, they can quickly rectify unsafe conditions to pass inspection. That’s what MSHA says was happening at CAM Mining’s Mine Number 28, where the agency went to investigate complaints that miners were smoking underground.
The women, infant, and children assistance program, which has been in place for decades, will soon provide benefits through a plastic, debit card. The list of supplemental foods offered through WIC for low income mothers and their infants and toddlers includes dairy products, produce and cereals. Now, a plastic debit type card will allow low-income moms buy healthy food when it's needed and without stigma.
FRANKFORT – The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services is urging the public to take steps to avoid injury and illness during this period of extreme heat, particularly dangers associated with leaving children in vehicles. According to Safe Kids, 49 children in the U.S. died last year from heat stroke while unattended in vehicles. From 1998-2010, at least 494 deaths are known to have occurred nationally. In Kentucky, there have been 13 deaths attributed to vehicular hyperthermia during the same time period and one death every year since 2004.
Lexington's 3,064 insured city employees are on track to consume roughly 32 million dollars in health care this year. That's over four million dollars more than the same coverage would have cost just three years ago. Consultants also say Urban County Government has consistently underestimated the "true cost" of health care, offering more generous benefits than 99% of all public and private health insurance programs while incurring a 33-million dollar shortfall over the past three years.
Doctors say the latest recipient of a hand transplant at Louisville’s Jewish Hospital is recovering and being prepared for physical therapy. Donnie Rickelman of Linton, Indiana, about a two hour drive northwest of Louisville, received a new left hand Sunday. Rickelman’s left hand was partially amputated in a factory accident 13 years ago. The mishap with a steel splitter also crushed his right hand. The transplanted left hand, from an anonymous donor, also came from Indiana.
More than 20 cities and counties in Kentucky have passed bans on smoking in public places and one more may soon be added to that list. Mayor Marty Voiers and city council are considering a municipal order prohibiting the use of any form of tobacco products "throughout the entire workplace on all city properties with no exceptions, including city owned vehicles." A notice on the city's website reads, "this policy applies to all employees, consultants, contractors, customers and visitors," and lets citizens know that there will be signs posted at entrances of buildings as well as within the premises.
A doctor at a Paintsville pain clinic conspired to illegally distribute drugs by writing prescriptions without a real medical need to do so, a federal grand jury has charged. Richard W. Albert saw dozens of patients a day, issuing them prescriptions for pain pills and other narcotics with little or no examination at times, an investigator said in a court document.
The last American space shuttle mission launched Friday, and the head of the Kentucky Space organization says the end of the program could mark the beginning of a new period of innovation. Without the shuttle program, organizations like Kentucky Space that send research projects into orbit will have to find other vessels to carry the cargo. That means foreign, unmanned and privately-operated craft.
Two years ago, Hayley Cunningham lost her cousin to a deadly game she'd never heard of. Her cousin was found dead in his bedroom after accidentally choking himself, the result of an increasingly fatal practice gaining popularity among middle-school students known as the "choking game." It involves near-strangulation that provides a brief floaty feeling and fainting. After grieving her cousin's death, Cunningham decided she wanted to educate others and maybe save a life.
By Katheran Wasson, Frankfort State Journal and Paul Glasser, Frankfort State Journal
Kentucky has risen to sixth in nationwide obesity rankings, according to a report released Thursday by Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Now 31.5 percent of Kentucky adults are obese, up from 30.5 percent last year. Twelve states now have obesity rates above 30 percent – four years ago, only one state was above 30 percent. The obesity rankings for Kentucky kids are even worse – third in the nation at 21 percent of children ages 10 to 17.
Robert George's body has been in the University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital's morgue for more than three months, and UK officials say they can't get anyone to claim it.The Fayette County coroner's office has refused to take the body. So has the coroner's office in Pulaski County, where George apparently lived. Relatives who have been contacted by UK also have not stepped forward to claim George's remains.
Come this fall, a large percentage of Kentucky's Medicaid patients will enter a managed care program. Governor Steve Beshear hails the change as a major cost saver that ensures quality care The Governor says the statewide expansion of Medicaid managed care will save taxpayers more than a billion dollars over three years. Beshear announced the state has awarded three contracts to firms which will manage the care given thousands of Medicaid recipients.
Visually impaired Kentuckians face obvious obstacles. Adding to the potential problems is access to technology and transportation. Cora McNabb of the state Office for the Blind says they’re likely to re-appear on the next needs assessment.
The Lexington Public Library is taking steps to eradicate bedbugs from the Central Library on East Main Street, but officials say it remains a safe place for patrons. Two bedbugs were found in recent days in the library, which has as many as half a million visitors each year, said spokesman Doug Tattersall. "We're still busy, and people need to know they are safe here," he said. A pair of bedbug-sniffing dogs from a pest control company in Evansville, Ind., found evidence of bedbugs Wednesday in "isolated pieces of furniture" on the first, third and fourth floors of the library, and in some staff areas, Tattersall said. Furniture identified by the dogs was "immediately removed," he said.
Anytime they're talking about your town on the Colbert Report, 9 times out of 10 it's not for a good reason. Wednesday evening, the host cited a new study by Men's Health Magazine declaring Lexington, Kentucky as the most sedentary city in the United States. Men's Health deputy editor Matt Marion says numerous factors were considered.
FRANKFORT – Kentuckians have an opportunity to check if their public water system is in compliance with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. The Division of Water has prepared its annual compliance report that summarizes violations incurred by public water systems across the state. The federal Environmental Protection Agency will summarize and evaluate all state reports in a national report that also must make recommendations concerning the resources needed to improve compliance with the federal act.
Apples are squarely in the cross-hairs of a recent report released by the Environmental Working Group. The fruit has been targeted as the “most dirty” on the EWG’s “Dirty Dozen” list of fruits and vegetables that it says are the most tainted by pesticides. Scott County fruit growers consider the data suspect, however, and adamantly defend their product.
Hopkins, Christian and McLean counties tied for the Kentucky county with the highest percentage of HIV testing. Information from www.kyhealthfacts.org states the three counties have tested 45 percent of adults under the age of 65. Hopkins County Health Department Nursing Director Denise Baldwin attributes this to a combination of good medical facilities, efforts of doctors in preventing infection from mother to unborn child and having information on HIV widely available.
The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration has released new Internet tools to help miners better understand their rights and responsibilities. According to the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, miners can’t be discriminated against for raising concerns about workplace safety or requesting MSHA inspections.
The authors of a new study are calling for major changes in hospital residency programs. An article published in the latest online journal Nature and Science of Sleep says resident fatigue, overwork and lack of supervision lead to serious, preventable medical errors. One recommendation is that all medical residents should work no more than 16 hours without sleep. The recommendations are not new but critics say they haven’t been implemented. But change is not easy, according Dr. Kevin Kavanaugh of Somerset. The longtime proponent of healthcare reform says any changes must be made carefully.
How many 50-year-old fathers take their 13-year-old sons with them on a cross country trip in an experimental electric hybrid bicycle? At least one. Pierce Hoover and his son, Nash, are making the trip from the East Coast to Oregon, showing off their homemade electrically assisted bicycle. They spent the weekend in Danville.
Several agencies across Kentucky are again offering free HIV testing at various sites over the next week to coincide with National HIV Testing Day on June 27. Kentucky HIV prevention coordinator Dennis Wheatley says despite the development of a simple test and public outreach efforts, many people with HIV don’t know they’re infected. “If you took everyone who was HIV positive and kind of lumped them together, 25-percent of that population wouldn’t actually know their status because they’re not being tested,” he said.
About a month ago, Jeannie and Doug Naselroad of Cole Road began raising chickens for eggs in their backyard. On Tuesday, eight tetra tints (referred to as Easter chickens for their pastel eggs) played a “game of football,” as Jeannie calls it, chasing each other for a bug inside their version of a football field — a homemade green chicken tractor.
Surrounded by urine specimens, chemicals and lab equipment, Martha Martinez works out of a small room in a Cave City doctor’s office to help health care providers sort through the people who truly need narcotic pain and other medications and the people who are simply looking for the next high. Martinez, who works for Russell Springs-based Nexus Labs, rents space from Dr. Todd Williams, a Nexus devotee since September.
The beach at Lake Barkley State Resort Park continues to be closed because of the presence of too much e. coli bacteria in the water, said Park Manager John Jordan. As required by health codes, the Health Department checks the water for bacteria every Wednesday, with the results published every Friday, and last week they found at least 240 percent of the threshold to close the beaches, Jordan said.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky questions a proposed hospital merger announced this week. The partnership involves University of Louisville Hospital, Jewish Hospital and Lexington’s Saint Joseph Health System. Catholic Health Initiatives is giving $320 million to support the new network. A Health Initiative spokesman says the system will not provide reproductive health services that are inconsistent with the church’s ethical and religious directives.
Wednesday, the Northern Kentucky Health Department sent out the following release about the number shigella cases reported in Northern Kentucky. So far there have been confirmed closures of Taylor Mill Swim Club and the Florence Aquatic Center. For more information on the outbreak of shigella contact the health department at www.nkyhealth.org
FRANKFORT - Regulations governing the state’s immunization schedule for infants, toddlers and school-age children have been amended, adding or altering the types of certain vaccines required for school, day care, preschool and Head Start entry and changing the vaccination schedule for others, the Kentucky Department for Public Health announced Wednesday. Immunization requirements were updated to better align Kentucky’s schedule with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The new version of the administrative regulation adopts changes that put Kentucky in line with national pediatric standards.
After a contentious two year dispute, Louisville insurance giant Humana will retain a lucrative military contract. Humana held the military’s Tricare contract for years. It allows the company to provide insurance for active and retired members of the armed services and their families throughout the south. Humana lost the contract to Minnesota-based UnitedHealth in 2009, but quickly challenged the ruling and won the appeal the next year. That victory was then challenged by UnitedHealth. The company argued that Humana’s cost savings were built on low reimbursements to doctors. Reimbursements that were so low, they could deter healthcare providers from seeing Tricare patients.