Kentucky lawmakers have been discussing the causes of post-traumatic stress disorder in veterans, and how sexual assault in the military plays a factor.
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.
“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 veterans, perhaps 10 percent. The numbers are still out in the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.”
Many veterans have lobbied Frankfort in support of medical marijuana as a treatment for their symptoms.
About 18,500 veterans in Kentucky suffer from PTSD. Nationwide, that number is 350,000.
Medical Marijuana for Veterans?
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
Zepeda adds this could be good or bad news for some.
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.
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 budget that went into effect July 1.
None of the three doctors or one nurse practitioner currently employed by the school will be kept on after the health center changes management.
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.
Mead added both parties have a lot to do in a short amount of time.
“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.”
A new report finds that Kentucky’s implementation of the Affordable Care Act has dramatically reduced the number of uninsured people in the state.
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.
It also found that about 30 percent of Kentuckians under 65 are enrolled in Medicaid.
Nearly 83,000 Kentuckians have enrolled in new private health insurance plans, and 265,000 have enrolled in Medicaid as of April 2014.
The modern idea of stress began on a rooftop in Canada, with a handful of rats freezing in the winter wind.
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.
"He would subject them to extreme temperatures, make them go hungry for long periods, or make them exercise a lot," the medical historian Mark Jackson says. "Then what he would do is kill the rats and look at their organs."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The last day those employees will see patients is July 24.
The increasingly high summer temperatures are bringing the normal reminders to avoid leaving children alone in vehicles. But an Evansville animal shelter says pet owners also need to be aware of the dangers of leaving dogs inside hot vehicles.
Vanderburgh Humane Society Executive Director Kendall Paul says many dog owners make the mistake of thinking it’s OK to leave their pet in a vehicle with the windows cracked. She says the temperature inside that vehicle increases very quickly.
“I always recommend to people—try it yourself. Go out there on a hot and sit in that car for a few minutes with the windows rolled up, or even with them cracked a little bit, and you’re going to start to see what kind of temperatures very fast you’re putting your animal in. But we just recommend that you don’t do it.”
Paul adds that pet owners often tell themselves they’ll only be gone for a few minutes, and that their animal will be fine inside the car without any air conditioning.
“And often times if you just run in for a few minutes, you think it’s just going to be a few minutes in the store, but then it takes a little bit longer, or something delays you,” Paul said. “It only takes a short amount of time—once the temperatures outside start hitting in the 70s and 80 degrees, the temperature inside that car is going to climb even higher than that.”
Published research shows a car in 84-degree weather reached an interior temperature of 110 degrees in about 18 minutes. In 88-degree weather, the car reached 110 in about 14 minutes.
The research also found that cracking a window had little effect on the car's temperature.
State lawmakers heard Wednesday another round of impassioned testimony over legalizing medical marijuana in the state.
The legislature’s Interim Joint Committee on Health & Welfare heard pleas from a nurse practitioner and people with disabilities who say that the drug, which is currently available for medicinal use in 22 states, would alleviate symptoms of pain.
Louisville Democratic Rep.Tom Burch says he thinks it’s just a matter of time before it’s legalized for medical use.
“I was here when we criminalized the use of marijuana back in the 70s," Burch said. "It was a rush to, you know, get these criminals off the street, and all this kind of stuff that was going on. It was ill advised, but it was a good election year and everybody wanted to be against crime, so that's why we passed it, so that a little bag of marijuana would get you five years."
The legislature will take up the issue again next month when it will examine the effects of marijuana on post-traumatic stress disorder in combat veterans.
A south-central Kentucky doctor has been charged with prescribing pain medications outside of her professional practice, resulting in the death of a patient.
A federal grand jury in Bowling Green indicted Dr. Clella Hayes of Glasgow on Wednesday. Hayes is charged with issuing and authorizing prescriptions for fentanyl, morphine, oxycodone, Demerol, hydrocodone, Cheratussin and Valium over a five-year period.
The grand jury also alleged that Hayes gave the painkiller fentanyl to a patient in 2011, causing the patient to die.
Hayes was arrested Wednesday.
Hayes is listed among the family practitioners at Monroe County Medical Center in Tompkinsville. Court records did not list an attorney for Hayes. A message left for Hayes and hospital administrators was not immediately returned Wednesday afternoon.