health en Stitched Together: Volunteers at Grayson County Hospital Create Sock Monkeys to Help Young Patients <p></p><p>In the surgery wing of Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center named after her late husband, Nedra Thomas has been putting smiles on children's faces for over two decades.</p><p>Thomas began making sock monkeys to give to young patients heading into surgery at the Leithfield hospital. The project grew over the years and she now has a small team of volunteers who help in the effort. The group has become like a second family to the members, who look out for one another during sickness and loss.</p><p>WKU Public Radio photojournalist Abbey Oldham paid a visit to Leitchfield to meet with Thomas and learn about how the sock monkey program impacts both patients and volunteers. Thu, 17 Jul 2014 20:05:33 +0000 Abbey Oldham 51160 at Those Seeking Pastoral Counseling in Kentucky Can Now Bill Insurance Companies for Services <p></p><p>A new law that went into effect this week in Kentucky is changing the way the state views faith-based mental health counselors. Kentucky is now licensing such counselors, which means their services will be covered by insurance policies.</p><p>One of the faith-based counselors impacted by the new law is Joe Bob Pierce, who works with Cornerstone Counseling in Owensboro. He says the change in state law could encourage potential clients who might have been put off by having to foot the entire bill.</p><p>“Clients that otherwise might have to pay out-of-pocket to see a pastoral counselor now will be provided a bit of subsidy, or help, or in some cases their entire fee for counseling will be handled by the insurance company.”</p><p>Pierce’s counseling service is located inside Third Baptist Church in Owensboro. He says while many of his clients are deeply rooted in traditional Baptist beliefs, he has also counseled individuals who don’t claim any religious affiliation.</p><p>He says his clients are interested in receiving help from someone who will take into account the spiritual aspects of their lives,</p><p>“It may not necessarily be a dimension that is religious in terms of being attached to a particular faith. But I think it’s very much a part of our make-up as people.”</p><p>To be licensed by the state, pastoral counselors must have a master’s degree in the field and meet the same qualifications as other licensed counselors. Thu, 17 Jul 2014 16:18:12 +0000 Kevin Willis 51216 at Those Seeking Pastoral Counseling in Kentucky Can Now Bill Insurance Companies for Services WKU Likely to Announce Proposed Changes to Employee Health Plans by End of August <p></p><p>WKU is beginning to prepare its employees for likely changes to the school’s health plan. At a forum Wednesday afternoon, representatives from the school’s Human Resources Department told workers that WKU’s self-funded model is coming under significant strain.</p><p>The school says it saw a 13.3 percent increase in medical expenses in 2013 compared to the previous year, with expenses exceeding revenue by more than $2 million.</p><p>WKU is predicting that unless changes are made, the school’s health plan expenses could increase by 8 to 10 percent in 2015.</p><p>No definitive announcement was made, however, about whether employee premiums or deductibles will be increasing. Speaking to WKU Public Radio after the forum, Assistant Director of Human Resources Kari Aikins described the school’s timeline for announcing any changes.</p><p>“We’re going to continue to evaluate and model these options financially over the next month, month-and-a-half, and then start making some formalized recommendations to our leadership and President--through our benefits committee--and hopefully have something set in stone by the end of August,” Aikens said. Wed, 16 Jul 2014 21:48:47 +0000 Kevin Willis 51182 at WKU Likely to Announce Proposed Changes to Employee Health Plans by End of August Advocates for Veterans Want Long-Term Care Facility Built in Warren County <p></p><p>Some retired military veterans are asking Kentucky lawmakers to commit funding for a new long-term care facility for veterans that would be located in Bowling Green.</p><p>The commonwealth currently has only three such facilities, with a fourth veterans nursing home scheduled to open next summer in Hardin County.</p><p>Dr. Ray Biggerstaff served in Vietnam as a Captain with the 101<sup>st</sup> Airborne Division, based in Fort Campbell. He told state lawmakers in Frankfort that the number of veterans in the south-central Kentucky region makes Warren County a logical location for a long-term care operation.</p><p>“When we take a look at the demographic data for Bowling Green and the Barren River Area Development District, we’re looking at a total of 20,000 veterans in that particular area. Surrounding the area, we have an additional 22,000 veterans that are in the perimeter,” said Biggerstaff.</p><p>Biggerstaff said he also thought a long-term care facility for veterans in southern Kentucky could attract veterans who live in northern Tennessee.</p><p>In testimony before a joint committee on State Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection, Biggerstaff said backers of the proposed veteran’s nursing home in Warren County have identified a 30-acre site off I-65 near the Kentucky Transpark as a possible location for the facility.</p><p>The nursing home being built in Hardin County will sit on 195 acres of land donated by the Defense Department, and feature a dozen ten-person homes providing full nursing services to 120 veterans. It’s scheduled to open next June.</p><p>Kentucky’s three nursing homes for veterans currently in operation are in Hopkins, Jessamine, and Perry counties. Mon, 14 Jul 2014 15:40:05 +0000 Kevin Willis & Dan Conti 51021 at Advocates for Veterans Want Long-Term Care Facility Built in Warren County Kentucky Lawmakers Consider Ways to Help Veterans Suffering from PTSD, Including Medical Marijuana <p></p><p>Kentucky lawmakers have been discussing the causes of post-traumatic stress disorder in veterans, and how sexual assault in the military plays a factor.</p><p>Dr. Mary Sweeney was among a team of physicians from the Robley Rex Veterans Affairs hospital in Louisville who recently testified before a joint Committee on the Military, Veterans Affairs and Public Safety about PTSD treatment efforts.</p><p>“Fifty percent of people who experience a rape go on to get PTSD. The numbers are lower for combat. Vietnam veterans, probably about 30 percent at some point in their life. Gulf War&nbsp; veterans, perhaps 10 percent. The numbers are still out in the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.”</p><p>Many veterans have lobbied Frankfort in support of medical marijuana as a treatment for their symptoms.</p><p>About 18,500 veterans in Kentucky suffer from PTSD. Nationwide, that number is 350,000.</p><p><strong>Medical Marijuana for Veterans?</strong></p><p>Kentucky lawmakers also heard testimony from those advocating for the legalization of medical marijuana as a way for veterans to cope with the impact of PTSD and physical ailments related to their military service. Mon, 14 Jul 2014 10:21:35 +0000 Jonathan Meador 51015 at Kentucky Lawmakers Consider Ways to Help Veterans Suffering from PTSD, Including Medical Marijuana Poll: Most Kentuckians Like Expanded Medicaid But Not The Legislation That Made It Happen <p>A new poll finds a majority of Kentuckians aren’t happy with the Affordable Care Act, but they do like benefits the legislation made possible.</p><p>According to the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky study released Thursday, this disconnect is consistent throughout the state, although people in the more urban areas—Lexington and Louisville—were at least nearly 10 percent more favorable of the ACA.</p><p>The foundation’s President Susan Zepeda says the poll found nearly half of people disapprove of the ACA while nearly 4 out of 5 like one of the benefits.</p><p>“The biggest difference we found was the number of Kentuckians who strongly supported the expansion of Medicaid that was made possible by the Affordable Care Act,” she said.</p><p>Zepeda adds this could be good or bad news for some. Thu, 10 Jul 2014 23:23:09 +0000 Whitney Jones | Kentucky Public Radio 50889 at Poll: Most Kentuckians Like Expanded Medicaid But Not The Legislation That Made It Happen WKU Regents Vote to Privatize Health Services Clinic, with Graves Gilbert Taking Control Aug. 1 <p></p><p><span class="userContent" data-ft="{&quot;tn&quot;:&quot;K&quot;}">The WKU Board of Regents has voted to privatize the campus Health Services center. Graves Gilbert Clinic will take over operations ahead of the fall semester.<br /><br />The idea of giving up control of the health center was first announced by WKU President Gary Ransdell in March. Privatizing the health center that serves students, faculty, and staff gave the school nearly $1.1 million in relief for the bu<span class="text_exposed_show">dget that went into effect July 1.<br /><br />None of the three doctors or one nurse practitioner currently employed by the school will be kept on after the health center changes management.<br /><br />WKU Vice President for Finance and Administration said at Thursday morning's regents meeting that Graves Gilbert will make decisions on whether or not to retain the center's remaining employees within 10 days of the contract being finalized.</span></span></p><p>Mead added both parties have a lot to do in a short amount of time.</p><p>“We’ll be moving into helping Graves Gilbert transition to opening on Aug. 1. We want to facilitate Graves Gilbert’s family practitioners to be able to meet our leadership on campus, and start having the campus understand what services are going to be provided at our on-campus facility.” Thu, 10 Jul 2014 14:48:40 +0000 Kevin Willis 50838 at WKU Regents Vote to Privatize Health Services Clinic, with Graves Gilbert Taking Control Aug. 1 Report: Kentucky Ranks 10th Lowest for Uninsured <p></p><p>A new report finds &nbsp;that Kentucky’s implementation of the Affordable Care Act has dramatically reduced the number of uninsured people in the state.</p><p>The report, released Wednesday by the personal finance website WalletHub, finds that Kentucky now ranks 10th in the nation for the lowest number of uninsured individuals, at just under nine percent of the population. That number was over 17 percent before the ACA became law, reflecting an 8 percent drop in the rate in one year’s time.</p><p>It also found that about 30 percent of Kentuckians under 65 are enrolled in Medicaid.</p><p>Nearly 83,000 Kentuckians have enrolled in new private health insurance plans, and 265,000 have enrolled in &nbsp;Medicaid as of April 2014. Wed, 09 Jul 2014 19:57:28 +0000 Jonathan Meador 50795 at Report: Kentucky Ranks 10th Lowest for Uninsured The Secret History Behind The Science Of Stress The modern idea of stress began on a rooftop in Canada, with a handful of rats freezing in the winter wind.<p>This was 1936 and by that point the owner of the rats, an endocrinologist named Hans Selye, had become expert at making rats suffer for science.<p>"He would subject them to extreme temperatures, make them go hungry for long periods, or make them exercise a lot," the medical historian <a href="">Mark Jackson </a>says. Mon, 07 Jul 2014 20:07:00 +0000 Alix Spiegel 50674 at The Secret History Behind The Science Of Stress WKU Board of Regents to Vote Thursday on Health Services Privatization <p></p><p><span class="userContent" data-ft="{&quot;tn&quot;:&quot;K&quot;}">Members of the WKU Board of Regents will vote Thursday morning on a contract with Graves-Gilbert Clinic to run the school's Health Services.<br /><br />WKU announced earlier this year it was seeking to privatize the campus facility that serves students, faculty, and staff. The university estimates such a move would cut nearly $1.1 million from the 2014-15 operating budget.<br /><br />Under the agreement to be voted on Thursday, GGC would use about 47 percent of the facility, with WKU continuing to utilize the remainder of the building.<br /><br />The special called meeting of the WKU Board of Regents begins at 10 a.m. Thursday, in the Cornelius A. Martin Regents Room on campus.</span></p><p>In a campus-wide email sent earlier this week by WKU Health Services, it was announced that the three doctors and one nurse practitioner on staff would not be retained by GGC.</p><p>The last day those employees will see patients is July 24.</p><p> Wed, 02 Jul 2014 14:16:00 +0000 Kevin Willis 50444 at WKU Board of Regents to Vote Thursday on Health Services Privatization