Health

Reports of child abuse and neglect in Kentucky have increased by about 55 percent in the past four years. A child is at higher risk for developing a substance abuse problem is they’ve suffered from an adverse childhood experience. That can be the death or incarceration of a parent, witnessing or being a victim of violence, or living with someone who has a drug or alcohol problem.

 

Pam Darnall is CEO of Family and Children’s Place. She said some organizations that support children and families are struggling just to stay in business.

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Kentucky’s children have experienced--on average-- more Adverse Childhood Experiences than children nationwide.

An Adverse Childhood Experience, or ACE, can be the death or incarceration of a parent, witnessing or being a victim of violence, or living with someone who has a drug or alcohol problem.

 

According to a recent report from The National Survey of Children’s Health, about 53 percent of children in Kentucky have had at least one ACE. That’s significantly higher than the national rate of about 46 percent. The report adds those experiences can increase the risk of smoking, alcoholism, depression and other illnesses or unhealthy behaviors.

Melanie Carter-Hack

Twelve percent of high school sophomores in Kentucky have a suicide plan and eight percent have attempted suicide. A report by Kentucky Incentives for Prevention says there’s also a disturbing national trend among younger children. The suicide rate for 10-to-14-year-olds doubled between 2007 and 2014.

The tragedy of adolescents taking their own lives is a reality in Kentucky.  A Hardin County mom, Melanie Carter-Hack, talks about the bullying that she believes contributed to the suicide of her 12-year-old daughter, Reagan Carter.

"We were living in Bardstown, Kentucky in Nelson County and Reagan was a 7th grader at Bardstown Middle School. We had never had any issues in the primary school, the elementary school. I mean, these were kids she had grown up with. And then 7th grade year was just a little bit different.

Becca Schimmel

A health care policy advocated by U.S. Senator Rand Paul was signed by President Trump as an executive order Thursday. 

Paul, a Republican from Bowling Green, has been promoting the concept of 'association health plans' that allow Americans to purchase health insurance across state lines. Paul has been advocating for the plans in the White House, with Congress and across Kentucky.  

Paul said the president’s action approving association health plans is an important first step in moving away from the Affordable Care Act. 

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A recent state report shows 15 percent of high school sophomores in Kentucky have thought about taking their own lives. Some teenagers in Kentucky have done more than think about suicide.

The latest report from Kentucky Incentives for Prevention, or KIP, shows 12 percent of high school sophomores have made a plan to take their own lives. And eight percent have attempted suicide.

Joy Graham is director of the LifeSkills Regional Prevention Center in Bowling Green and a suicide prevention specialist who conducts training for area educators. Graham says said the community needs to talk about suicide because it does happen here.

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Kentucky regulators say they’ll go to court to keep from handing over documents related to the state’s plan to reconfigure its Medicaid insurance program. But legal experts say Kentucky’s argument — that it doesn’t have to turn over emails and other communications because they are preliminary and about negotiations — doesn’t hold up.

Since they were first proposed in August 2016, Gov. Matt Bevin’s planned changes to Medicaid have been controversial. Medicaid is the federal program for disabled and low-income people — a program which Kentucky expanded under the Affordable Care Act and previous Gov. Steve Beshear.

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When health care and law enforcement officials met recently at a health policy forum in Lexington, Kentucky, to share ideas about the opioid crisis, Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear listed some groups that have benefited from money won in a 2015 settlement with Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin.

“We had Freedom House in Louisville and Independence House in Corbin. We had the Chrysalis House in here in Lexington. Hope in the Mountains, that was going to have to shut down, in Prestonsburg,” he said.

Tightening the screws on pricey imaging exams, health insurer Anthem will no longer allow many patients to get MRI or CT scans at hospital-owned outpatient facilities, requiring them to use independent imaging centers instead. The insurer began phasing in these changes in July and expects to finish by March.

Anthem says the change is aimed at providing high-quality, safe care while reducing medical costs.

Lisa Gillespie

If the latest attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act is successful next week, more than 400,000 people in Kentucky who have health insurance through the Medicaid expansion would lose their coverage.

The Graham-Cassidy bill currently under consideration would cut federal funding for the Medicaid expansion program – which covers people making a little above the poverty line – by 2026.

Senate Republicans' latest plan to overhaul the U.S. health care system ends with a massive shift of federal money from states that expanded Medicaid — and are largely dominated by Democrats — to those that refused to expand.

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A Kentucky judge has dismissed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the state’s ban on marijuana for medical purposes.

Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate recognized in a ruling Wednesday that marijuana has the potential for medicinal use. But he said the three people who filed the lawsuit do not have a constitutional right to violate a controlled-substance law.

Twenty-nine states have legalized marijuana in some way, the most common being for medical purposes. Kentucky lawmakers have failed to consider proposals to do so. In 2014, the legislature allowed the limited prescription of cannabidiol, which comes from the cannabis plant.

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Four Kentuckians die of drug overdoses every day, according to the state Office of Drug Control Policy. Most of those deaths are due to opioids, chief among them fentanyl, a powerful synthetic drug that has properties similar to heroin.

During a daylong update Wednesday on the state of Kentucky’s opioid epidemic, lawmakers heard from doctors, counselors and those in recovery about efforts to combat drug addiction.

The attorneys general of 41 U.S. states said Tuesday that they're banding together to investigate the makers and distributors of powerful opioid painkillers that have, over the past decade, led to a spike in opiate addictions and overdose deaths.

Lisa Autry

A refugee resettlement agency in Bowling Green is seeking private funds to educate refugees on reproductive health. There’s been an increase in refugees getting pregnant or needing help locating contraceptive resources and information.

The International Center of Kentucky says its clients need reproductive health education. Executive Director Albert Mbanfu said cultural differences are also contributing to the problem.

Mbanfu, a native of Cameroon, said having a lot of children is considered a blessing in many African cultures. He said it’s a challenge explaining to refugees the difference in how expensive it is to raise children in the U.S. compared to Africa.

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A new program is aimed at making it easier for Owensboro residents to quit smoking. The plan will provide nicotine supplies for free to those interested.

The Green River District Health Department is in charge of the program and is responsible for giving out supplies. The Messenger-Inquirer reports up to eight weeks of nicotine patches, gum or lozenges will be given to those who sign up for the smoking cessation program through the website Quit Now Kentucky.

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