Interview with Susan Zepeda, President and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky
An annual statewide poll shows that one-quarter of Kentucky adults are without health insurance.
The Kentucky Health Issues Poll is funded by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. That group's President and CEO, Susan Zepeda, says an even higher number of adults in the commonwealth was without coverage for at least part of 2013.
"Three in ten Kentucky adults were uninsured at some point in the last 12 months, which really underscores the need for helping people get access to insurance," Dr. Zepeda told WKU Public Radio.
Zepeda says the recent poll is important because it sets a baseline for how many Kentuckians have health insurance, and from what sources, ahead of the broader impacts of the federal Affordable Care Act.
That baseline, Zepeda says, will help policy analysts determine how much effect the changes related to the ACA are having on individuals and states.
A non-profit, philanthropic group in Kentucky is partnering with seven communities in an effort to reduce the prevalence of chronic diseases. The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky hopes the five-year, $3 million effort, known as the Kentucky's Future Initiative, will cut the chances that today's youth will suffer from obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
The Clinton County School District and the Green River Area Development District's Partnership for a Healthy McLean County are two of the seven partners selected for the program.
"What we're trying to do, if you will, is to bend the curve and stop the progression we see starting with our children today," says Susan Zepeda, President and CEO of The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. "We don't want them to develop the kinds of chronic diseases that their parents and grandparents have, that have been holding Kentucky back."
Zepeda says the Foundation is currently in the planning stage with each of the seven grant recipients about how to best utilize the funding to attack chronic diseases.
For the second year in a row, a poll shows a majority of Kentucky favor a statewide smoking ban.
Last year the poll, conducted by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, showed a majority favored a ban for the first time.
And now that number has increased to 62 percent of registered voters favoring a statewide ban. Less than 40 percent opposed such a ban, while the rest had no opinion.
“We have polled on this issue since 2010 and support for a smoke-free law has increased steadily since then,” said Dr. Susan Zepeda, President/CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. “This issue continues to gain support with Kentuckians of all ages and from all walks of life.”
The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky is hoping a new five-year grant program will reduce the spread of chronic diseases in Kentucky. The foundation will give three million dollars to ten different communities to help fight illnesses among children. Targeted maladies include cancer, diabetes and heart disease, all of which are prevalent in the commonwealth.