Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 10:43 am
Saying it is "the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health," the CEO of CVS Caremark announced Wednesday that the company's 7,600 pharmacies will stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products by Oct. 1.
Larry Merlo also said CVS will try to help those who want to quit smoking with a "robust national smoking cessation program" at its locations.
In a rare display of bipartisanship, the House of Representatives Wednesday approved a massive five-year farm bill that costs nearly half a trillion dollars.
The bill includes some reductions to food stamps, known as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, to the tune of nearly $1 billion a year. It's far less than what many Republicans had wanted. But the cuts are large enough to worry some Democrats and many food stamp recipients.
A southern Kentucky hospital will pay $16.5 million to the federal government to settle claims that it submitted false or fraudulent Medicare and Kentucky Medicaid claims for a variety of unnecessary heart procedures.
The agreement covers a period from Jan. 1, 2008 through Aug. 31, 2011 at St. Joseph Health System, which runs St. Joseph London Hospital.
Federal prosecutors say several doctors at the Laurel County facility placed unneeded coronary stents and pacemakers in patients and performed unnecessary diagnostic catheterizations, then billed the federal programs.
Hospitals generally receive between $10,000 and $15,000 for medical procedures such as heart stents.
A spokesman for the University of Louisville Hospital, which runs St. Joseph, said a statement on the matter would be released later Tuesday.
U.S. Attorney Kerry Harvey said a related whistleblower lawsuit and a criminal investigation are continuing.
At 170 pounds, Jacinda Jones is half the woman she used to be.
“I’d managed to get up to 350, actually I don’t know the exact weight because my scale would not measure my weight," said Jones.
Two years ago, this Bowling Green wife and mother was a size 28. She lived on fast food and was an admitted couch potato.
“I ate out a lot and it would be a salad, bread, the entrée, and dessert. It would be all of it," Jones confessed. "When I got fast food, it would be chicken fingers and fries. It was just a free for all. There was no exercise.”
Jacinda had experienced weight problems since her youth, but her life changing moment came on an airplane in 2010.
“I had went to Vegas, and the seat belt buckle wouldn’t and I was too embarrassed to ask for the extender," she said.
Following the trip, she began thinking about gastric bypass surgery.
“My mom told me I needed to have the surgery, and I was so scared of surgery, I told her to give me one more shot to do this, and I told her if it fails this time, I will have the surgery," remarked Jones.
At 32 years old, Jacinda was obese and pre-diabetic. She had high blood pressure and no energy.
“I also developed what’s called benign intracranial hypertension. It’s where my body either doesn’t get rid of or makes too much spinal fluid because of my weight," she explained. "It would give me headaches because I had too much pressure on my spine, and it also pushed on my optic nerves and I could have gone blind. I went to an opthamologist and he said you’ve got to lose weight.”
And then she turned to an unexpected place: her job. Jacinda works as a claims specialist for Progressive Insurance in the company’s Bowling Green office. She began taking advantage of the company’s employee wellness program called Healthy U.
The Bullitt County Fiscal Court is giving its approval to a plan that would bar smoking on county-owned property. Still unsolved, however, is a lawsuit against the county Board of Health over a regulation it passed in 2011 that outlaws smoking in all public places, including bars and restaurants.
According to the Courier-Journal, Bullitt Fiscal Court and eight cities in the county sued the Board of Health, saying the body doesn’t have the power to enact such rule changes.
That lawsuit is currently before the state Supreme Court.
The ban passed by the county fiscal court Wednesday doesn’t cover all work and public places, only select facilities owned by the county.
Two Kentucky state lawmakers are sponsoring a bill at the General Assembly that would create a statewide smoking ban.
The tens of thousands of people with a history of serious illnesses who are enrolled in high-risk insurance pools created under the Affordable Care Act will have two more months before they lose that coverage, the Department of Health and Human Services said Tuesday.