health

Mary Meehan

Edwin Hall is dressed in a footed onesie covered in the pastel shades of monkeys and hippos. Although Edwin’s just seven weeks old he already tells his mom when he’s hungry with a sharp and persistent yelp.

Soon after he gets her attention, Edwin is practicing his sucking technique. His mom, Sarah, with the dazed look of the sleep deprived, talks with a La Leche League volunteer at the Madison County, Kentucky, Health Department about some breastfeeding challenges.


The Capitol Hill health care fight sure seemed dead. After Republican proposals to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, failed to pass a Republican-controlled Congress, lawmakers looked poised to move on to other topics, like a tax overhaul. But this week, proposals from both the left and the right are grabbing headlines.

Kentucky Leads Nation in Decrease of Those Without Insurance

Sep 14, 2017
Flickr/Creative Commons

Kentucky is one of the states most affected by former President Barack Obama's health care law, new data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows.

Yet it's also a state that has elected some of the law's biggest opponents.

In 2013, 14.3 percent of Kentucky's population had no health insurance. By 2016, just 5.1 percent of the population lacked coverage. That's a 64 percent decline, the largest of any state in the country according to data from the American Community Survey released this week. It's similar to data from other national polls, including the Gallup-Healthways Survey.

Wikimedia Commons

The rankings for the happiest states in America are in - and Kentucky is pretty far down the list. 

Kentucky residents won’t be cheered up by the state’s ranking of number 44 on the new WalletHub Happiness survey. The rankings are based on 28 metrics that include satisfaction with daily life, work environment, worries about money, rates of depression, volunteer rate and participation in sports.

In the category of ‘emotional and physical well-being,’ the Bluegrass State came in 46th.

J. Tyler Franklin

Amanda Mills has insurance through Kentucky’s expanded Medicaid program. She also has a full-time job working with homeless people in Louisville.

In January, she’ll lose Medicaid coverage because she makes $1,000-a-year more than the threshold, which is about $28,000 per year. And, she says, she won’t be able to afford the insurance her employer offers, plunging her into a familiar gap created by the Affordable Care Act where people earn too much for Medicaid but too little for a subsidy to assist with premiums.

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At 14, Donna Pollard’s anger and outbursts landed her in a youth behavioral facility in Southern Indiana.

There, she met a 29-year-old man who counseled troubled teens. He would brush up against her and smile.

“I was a 14-year-old with a crush,” Pollard said.

Creative Commons

Workers injured on the job received fewer prescription opioids after landmark legislation passed in Kentucky that set up a drug monitoring database, according to a new study out Tuesday.

The independent Workers Compensation Research Institute reviewed new workers’ comp claims filed in Kentucky between 2011 and 2014.

Prior to the 2011 law (HB 1) that created the Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting (KASPER) system, 54 percent of Kentucky workers with workers’ comp claims were given a prescription for opioids. After the law took effect in 2012, that number decreased to 44 percent.

Kentucky Loses Big If Health Care Repeal Revives. Will McConnell Keep Trying?

Aug 25, 2017
Lisa Gillespie

Tricia Petrucci hasn’t quite reached the point where she regrets her vote for President Donald Trump. It would be understandable if she did, because Trump — and her senator, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — are trying to curb the medical services that sustain her 11-year-old stepson, who battles severe cerebral palsy.

She is aware of the irony when she chats with her Louisville neighbor, Ann Pipes, a Democrat whose own son is 11 and struggles with a disability.


Appalachian Health Falling Further Behind

Aug 24, 2017
Mountain Comprehensive Care

A new report shows just how far Appalachia has fallen behind the rest of the country on key health measures such as rates of cancer, heart disease and infant mortality. Researchers say the region’s health gap is growing and they hope the data they’ve compiled will spur new approaches to health care.  

The 400-page report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, and the Appalachian Regional Commission used all publicly available data to show where people are sick and just how sick they are throughout the 13-state Appalachian region.


Creative Commons

West Nile infected mosquitoes have been found in Louisville again. The Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness found the infected mosquitoes in surveillance traps mainly around downtown, in Portland, the Highlands and near Iroquois Park.

Last year, one person died in Louisville after contracting West Nile. Connie Mendel with the Public Health and Wellness Department said that person already had serious medical conditions.

In most cases, the body is able to fight off the virus. However, people over age 60 are at greater risk and people with medical conditions like cancer, hypertension or diabetes are, too.

A Bowling Green clinic that evaluates potential organ transplant patients will not be impacted by the decision to put Jewish Hospital in Louisville up for sale.

The Bowling Green Jewish Hospital Trager Transplant Center outreach clinic opened in June. Jewish Hospital is the second largest organ transplants locations in the state, and is being sold by its parent company--KentuckyOne Health. David Lewis is the director of transplant services at Jewish Hospital.

President Trump says he is ready to declare the nation's opioid crisis "a national emergency," saying it is a "serious problem the likes of which we have never had." Speaking to reporters at the entrance to his Bedminster, N.J., golf club, where he is on a working vacation, Trump promised "to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis."

Update 3:35 pm August 10: Two days after making a few general remarks about the opioid crisis, President Trump on Thursday called it "a national emergency" and said his administration would be drawing up papers to make it official.

"We're going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis," Trump told reporters at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J.

Courtesy Mountain Comprehensive Care

Kentuckians who feel going to the doctor is too expensive — but don’t know how to shop for the lowest price — aren’t alone.

A new study published earlier this week in the peer-reviewed journal Health Affairs found very few respondents tried to find the lowest-cost doctor or surgery. And despite being price conscious when it comes to medical care, most don’t even know where to look for cost information or how to compare doctors.

“The difference between Americans’ willingness to price-shop for care and the rates at which they do so is striking,” the study authors from Harvard and the University of Southern California write.

Comfy Cow Recalls Ice Cream From Kentucky, Other States

Aug 9, 2017
Ashlie Stevens

Comfy Cow is voluntarily recalling products from Kentucky and three other states after finding high counts of coliform and E. coli in its ice cream.

In a news release, company spokesman Tim Koons-McGee said nine flavors sold primarily in retail stores in Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee and Missouri would be recalled. The products were distributed between June 13 and July 21, per the release.

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