Health

Nicole Erwin

Billy Hobby’s days are largely filled by two things: church and pool.

“I play everyday, mostly,” Hobby said, sitting next to his wife, Barbara.

“Well, I enjoy watching him play,” Barbara Hobby said. “He’s got health problems, can’t go out of town and play all the time.”

Billy and Barbara were in Cadiz, Kentucky, about 20 miles from their home in Princeton so that the 86-year-old pool player could compete in a weekly tournament.

As opioid-related deaths have continued to climb, naloxone, a drug that can reverse overdoses, has become an important part of the public health response.

When people overdosing struggle to breathe, naloxone can restore normal breathing and save their lives. But the drug has to be given quickly.

On Thursday, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams issued an advisory that encouraged more people to routinely carry naloxone.

Mary Meehan

Greg Lee, Kentucky’s HIV/AIDS educator, started the town hall on a somber note.

“How many people in this room know someone who has died of an overdose death?”

It was a standing-room only crowd. Most hands went up.

“Amazing,” he said, sadly.

The meeting was at the Bourbon County Public Health Department, just next to the county’s drug rehab center and down the hill from a playground where used needles are found far too often.


Creative Commons/Mike Mozart

Retail giant Walmart is in the early stages of talks to buy Louisville-based health insurer Humana, according to a report published Thursday evening in the Wall Street Journal.

The newspaper cites people familiar with the deal, the terms of which weren’t disclosed. But the move would be the latest in a trend of retail pharmacies acquiring health insurers; in December, CVS bought insurer Humana.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Opioid Treatment Program Helps Keep Families Together

Mar 28, 2018

Velva Poole has spent about 20 years as a social worker, mostly in Louisville, Ky. She's seen people ravaged by methamphetamines and cocaine; now it's mostly opioids. Most of her clients are parents who have lost custody of their children because of drug use. Poole remembers one mom in particular.

"She had her kids removed the first time for cocaine. And then she had actually gotten them back," she says. But three months later, the mother relapsed and overdosed on heroin.

Rural medical clinics that are struggling to respond to an epidemic of a fatal lung disease plaguing coal miners received a 40 percent boost in federal funding with the passage of the omnibus spending bill last week.

Flickr/Creative Commons

Though some Kentucky policies — like a religious expression law that went into effect last year — have been criticized as discriminatory, a new report finds ten state facilities earned top scores for being inclusive towards people identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ).

The report, released by the advocacy group Human Rights Campaign Foundation, asked 626 healthcare facilities whether they have explicit non-discrimination policies for LGBTQ people, training for LGBTQ patient care, options for people to self-identify and more.

Deep In Gun Country, Students Speak Out On Gun Violence

Mar 26, 2018
Nicole Erwin

Gun culture runs deep in much of the Ohio Valley, where hunting is a revered tradition and the majority of state lawmakers in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia boast “A” ratings from the National Rifle Association.

But even here the growing national student activism on gun safety is taking hold in the wake of recent school shootings. With some three dozen events in the region coinciding with the national March For Our Lives protest, more students from the region are deciding to speak out.

The Ohio Valley ReSource sampled some student viewpoints from around the region.


Owensboro Health

Owensboro Health Regional Hospital is now one of just ten Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner-Ready--or “SANE”--facilities in the state.

The SANE certification was created by the state legislature and signed into law in 2016. The 100-hour training program is available to registered nurses in the state.

ARC and NORC at Univ. of Chicago

President Donald Trump’s call to implement the death penalty for drug traffickers grabbed headlines Monday. But public health officials within the Trump administration are stressing other elements of the president’s plan to address the opioid crisis.

Acting Director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Anne Schuchat, outlined her agency’s plans for the Ohio Valley, which has some of the nation’s highest rates of addiction and overdose deaths.


Melody Cashion rattles off the list of drugs she once needed just to function.

Lyrica, Gabapentin, methadone, oxycodone, valium.

There were more. But those were the every day ones.

Green River Area Development District

A few hundred senior citizens in the Green River region are on a waiting list for home-delivered meals because of tightened state and federal budgets. 

The Green River Area Development District, or GRADD, serves about 1,000 meals a day at senior centers and for in-home deliveries. 

GRADD Associate Director for Aging and Social Services Jennifer Williams said a substantial number of elderly residents who have requested home-delivered meals can’t be served.

Health care providers in Kentucky have a new tool to gauge how their prescribing patterns compare with their peers.  The state has launched a Prescriber Report Card that’s aimed at reducing prescription drug abuse.

The individualized reports are an enhancement to the state’s KASPER program-Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting.  KASPER shows all prescriptions for an individual over a specified time period, the prescriber, and the dispenser.

Creative Commons

A new report shows Kentucky falling down a ranking of states with the best women’s and children’s health.

The America’s Health Rankings Health of Women and Children Report lists Kentucky at 42, down eight spots since 2016, when the report was last issued.

Dr. Deneen Vojta is a pediatrician and Executive Vice President of Enterprise Research and Development with United Health Group, which issued the report.

Alexandra Kanik

In July, Kentucky will start an experiment with how some low-income residents get their health insurance. The project, known as Kentucky HEALTH, affects a portion of people who have Medicaid coverage.

And this interactive calculator, developed by WFPL News, aims to give Medicaid enrollees and others a targeted look at what will happen to an individuals’ health coverage depending on their family size, income and other factors.

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