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.
No, you’re not seeing things. You really did see a Big Banana Car in downtown Dry Ridge. Steve Braithwaite, of Coopersville, Pa., pealed into town in a four-passenger banana shaped car and ended up at Dry Ridge Auto Parts to get directions to the I-75 Camper Village where they planned to spend the night. “It was neat, it was pretty cool, I didn’t know what to think when he pulled in the driveway,” said Gary Brockman of Dry Ridge Auto Parts. “ I knew it was a banana, but I couldn’t figure out why it had wheels on it. It was pretty awesome.”
The U.S. Government Accountability Office has ruled against Minnesota-based UnitedHealth in a protest over the awarding of the lucrative Tricare military contract. Humana previously held the contract, which allows the company to provide insurance and benefits to military members, retirees and their families in the south. Humana lost a renewal bid to UnitedHealth in 2009, but appealed the decision. In 2010, the GAO ruled that Humana’s bid had not been properly considered and, after another review, changed its decision. UnitedHealth then appealed that decision on the grounds that Humana’s proposed reimbursements to doctors were too low. On Tuesday afternoon, the GOA rejected the protest. The final decision is up to the Department of Defense.
Three major hospitals are joining forces to provide a statewide healthcare delivery system for Kentuckians. The partnership involves University of Louisville Hospital, Jewish Hospital in Louisville and Saint Joseph Health System in Lexington. They’re still working on a name for the joint effort, but James Taylor of U-of-L Hospital says the partnership means better healthcare for Kentuckians.
Despite being told he probably would never walk again, Karen Minton took Franklin the Pug into her home and is using a new veterinary treatment to get him back on his feet. Last August, while chasing his owner, Franklin was hit by three cars. The owner was a college student who didn’t have the money to care for the injured pug, Minton said. Franklin still has medical problems, but these days he gets around in a specialized wheelchair. The next step is an experimental treatment that uses stem cells from Franklin’s body. It will cost around $1,800. Veterinarian Cathy White of Finchville Animal Hospital in Shelby County has had success on other animals at her clinic with the technique.
The number of people crossing state lines to buy prescription pain killers has policy makers looking for ways to crack down on drug trafficking and pill mills. There is currently no national network to monitor the flow of prescription drugs. But as Kentucky Public Radio’s Brenna Angel reports, that will soon change, and states will have options.
After cool temperatures and near-record rainfall in April, Kentuckians must now deal with scant rainfall and near-record heat. Health officials across the Commonwealth are warning of the potential risks of heat stroke and exhaustion. Madison County Health Department spokeswoman Christie Green says the elderly, especially those seniors with chronic diseases, are vulnerable.
Afternoon temperatures in Lexington could tie the record of 95 degrees Wednesday, prompting the National Weather Service in Louisville to warn of heat exhaustion, stroke or other health problems. The weather service expects afternoon highs of 94 degrees Wednesday, but forecasts generally have a margin of error of one to two degrees, according to the weather service. "If we hit 95, we'll tie the record," hydrologist Mike Callahan said.
Surveyors found 342 deficiencies in nursing homes they inspected in Kentucky recently. The data, obtained through an Open Records request by the statewide advocacy group Kentuckians for Nursing Home Reform covers the first three months of 2011 and is the latest information on the quality of nursing home care at this time, according to a press release from the group.
FRANKFORT – After aerial spraying successfully reduced high mosquito populations in flooded areas of Western Kentucky, the state will launch the second part of its mosquito abatement initiative. Beginning Monday, crews will target mosquito larvae in standing flood waters. Professional contractors conducted aerial spraying of more than 700,000 acres across Western Kentucky last week.
You pull up at a bank. You need to go inside. It shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes. Your two children, both younger than 5, are in the backseat. You don’t want to take them in, but it is 93 degrees outside. What do you do? Children and animals are more susceptible to heat than adults. Leaving them in the car while you run inside for a few minutes could lead to heat exhaustion and even death.
The first HIV diagnosis was made 30 years ago. Since then, it’s spread to epidemic proportions in the United States. As Fast Company writes, “it’s probably more prevalent in your neighborhood than you think.” To prove that point, the company profiles the creators of AIDSvu, an interactive map that shows a county-by-county breakdown of adults and adolescents with an HIV diagnosis. You can look at the map here.
Humid weather and mosquitoes can make summertime in the Bluegrass uncomfortable, but the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department says the pesky bugs can be avoided. Spokesman Kevin Hall recommends getting rid of any standing water around your property.
Memorial Day weekend is among the deadliest for ATV riders. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that 28 people were killed in ATV accidents during the four days surrounding 2010 Memorial Day, which means that there was an average of seven deaths a day nationwide. Five of the cases involved individuals under the age of 16. “We don’t have data on why so many fatalities occur during this time, but the reports we receive clearly show the trend,” said Carl Purvis, with U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Several organizations are coming together to promote H-I-V Awareness in central Kentucky. The HIV Community Coalition is made up of the Lexington Fayette County Health Department, the Hope Center, Volunteers of America, the Kentucky Cabinet for Health & Family Services, and AIDS Volunteers of Lexington, or AVOL. Each group does their own HIV awareness, but AVOL Executive Director Mark Royse says there is plenty of work to go around.
FRANKFORT - The state has begun implementation of an initiative to combat the growing mosquito problem in Western Kentucky caused by recent floods. Treatments to kill adult mosquitoes will begin Wednesday night, weather permitting. “Last week I ordered the development of a comprehensive plan to reduce the current mosquito population in numerous western counties and to help diminish further outbreaks later in the summer,” Gov. Beshear said. “Today we begin implementation of that plan, and I hope our swift action will bring relief to thousands of Kentuckians as flood victims begin to recover.”
The Bowling Green Code Enforcement Board on Tuesday upheld the citation and fine against American Legion Post 23 for violating the city’s no-smoking ordinance. The veterans organization was cited April 28 and assessed a $25 fine for violating the ordinance that bans smoking in most indoor businesses. Attorney Alan Simpson of Bowling Green, who represents the Legion, appealed the citation, which was issued on the first day the ordinance went into effect. Four witnesses testified in a hearing that lasted about an hour Tuesday, and the Code Enforcement Board unanimously voted to uphold the citation and fine.
Bondurant's Pharmacy owner Eric Brewer advised customers to pick up their prescriptions Tuesday, but he declined to comment when asked about media reports that the distinctively shaped pharmacy might be closing. Customers who called the pharmacy Tuesday were told it would be open until 6 p.m.; then it would close for good. When asked whether Tuesday would be the pharmacy's last day open, Brewer said he didn't know. The independent pharmacy was built in 1974 in the shape of a giant mortar and pestle.
In downtown Lexington, hundreds of scientists, farmers and food producers are pondering what you had for breakfast. And dinner. And what the rest of the soon-to-be 7 billion people on the planet will eat this year. The 27th Alltech symposium on animal health and nutrition has brought together a record 2,100 people from 72 countries to weigh the big issues in food.
FRANKFORT – Kentucky Department for Public Health Commissioner William Hacker, M.D., joined representatives from Safe Kids and other advocates at the Capitol Monday to unveil the elements of a national education and awareness campaign to help reduce child vehicular deaths caused by heat stroke. The event comes on the heels of a weekend tragedy in Louisville in which a 2-year-old died after being left in a hot car.
Unless you volunteer or work at a hospital it's probably not the place you would choose to start or end your day. But a walking tour of UK Chandler Hospital's new Patient Pavilion may change your mind about that. Alan Lytle shares highlights from his trip through the facility.
Executive Vice President for Affairs Michael Karpf, has overseen every aspect of the building's construction estimated cost, 532-million dollars. He says from day one the idea has been to offer critical and acute care patients and their families a kind of shelter from the storms of life.
Depending on what happens next on the weather front, mosquitoes could find prime habitat in central Kentucky. Record rainfall last month could also help increase numbers. The cool weather has slowed the emergence of mosquitoes, but once temperatures regularly reach into the 80s, Luke Mathias with Fayette County Environmental Health says mosquitoes will return. A warm spell a week or so ago even probably had a few people scratching themselves.
Three years ago, Winchester dentist Rankin Skinner was reading The New York Times when he came across an article that hit particularly close to home. According to the article, children in Kentucky suffered from more tooth decay than any other state in the country.
Lawmakers in Georgia have approved a system to track prescription drugs dispensed there, which could help put a dent in interstate pill trafficking that has fed drug abuse and overdose deaths in Kentucky. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed the state's new prescription-monitoring program into law on Friday. That was a good step, said Boyd County Sheriff Terry Keelin.
Kentucky scientists will soon be analyzing cells that flew to space aboard the second-to-last U.S. space shuttle flight as part of their effort to determine whether the growth of brain tumors can be slowed. The space shuttle Endeavour, which lifted off Monday morning, is carrying a biomedical experiment that will investigate whether the combined effects of microgravity and ionizing radiation increase or decrease the survival rate of cancer cells affected by glioblastoma multiforme, said Kris Kimel of Kentucky Space, an independent company started by the Kentucky Science and Technology Corp. in 2007.
With the snips of several ceremonial scissors, a host of local, state, and federal dignitaries on Sunday, helped the University of Kentucky officially dedicate the new 12-story Patient Care Pavilion at UK Hospital. Alan Lytle has the story. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear says UK's new facility marks a significant milestone in healthcare for the Commonwealth.
The man most responsible for building a new hospital at the University of Kentucky says the facility’s ready for its “close up” this weekend. The one-point-two million square foot facility includes two patient-care floors with 128 intensive care and acute care beds. Vice president for Health Affairs Michael Karpf says the new facility is much more adaptable than the old hospital.