A new report that found increasing efforts to protect Kentucky children from abuse is drawing cautious praise from child advocates. According to the report released by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, child welfare workers confirmed almost 15% more cases of neglect and abuse last year than in 2011.
Kentucky Youth Advocates Director Terry Brooks says the report shows child welfare officials are serious about trying to make improvements in the system.
Preliminary figures show nine children died and 27 nearly died in the fiscal year that ended June 30th, which is a decrease from the previous year. Federal statistics show that in recent years, Kentucky has ranked among the worst in the nation for deaths associated with child abuse.
Governor Beshear says most of Kentucky’s uninsured residents would qualify for discounts on health insurance purchased on the state’s new health exchange. Speaking Tuesday in Frankfort, said at least 80 percent of the commonwealth’s uninsured would get some kind of financial assistance to help them get insurance coverage.
The new health exchange was put into motion following the passage of the federal Affordable Care Act. It serves as an online marketplace where consumers can choose state-approved insurance plans and compare coverage and costs.
Enrollment in the Kentucky exchange begins October 1.
Government officials have said an estimated 332,000 uninsured Kentuckians would be eligible to receive coverage through the new exchange. The Courier-Journal reports Beshear said Tuesday that a family of four earning $70,000 a year could buy a health plan for a little over $400 a month.
Gov. Steve Beshear has scheduled a news briefing Tuesday afternoon to provide an update on efforts to implement federal health care reforms in Kentucky.
The event is set for 1 p.m. EDT at the Capitol.
Beshear has been an advocate for the reforms that he says will provide access to medical care to more than 600,000 uninsured Kentucky residents. Nearly half of those will be added to the state's Medicaid program. The remainder, he said, will be able to get insurance through an online health benefits exchange.
Joining Beshear for the briefing will be Health and Family Services Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes, Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange Executive Director Carrie Banahan and Kentucky Department of Insurance Commissioner Sharon Clark.
A lawsuit has been filed in the wake of a partnership announced by Kentucky's two children's hospitals.
Kosair Children's Hospital in Louisville and the University of Kentucky HealthCare's Kentucky Children's Hospital in Lexington said last month that both institutions had signed a letter of intent to partner.
The announcement brought a quick reaction from the University of Louisville, which said the partnership could jeopardize U of L's relationship with Norton Healthcare, which owns Kosair. U of L then accused Norton of violating a land-lease agreement by entering into the partnership.
The Courier-Journal reports Norton Healthcare filed suit on Friday and requested the court "to declare (University of Louisville) threats against Kosair Children's Hospital to be without legal basis."
U of L called the filing of the lawsuit "unfortunate."
Officials with Norton Healthcare have rejected the University of Louisville’s request that they end their recently announced pediatric services partnership with UK Healthcare.
University of Louisville’s health care entity partners with Norton, which owns Kosair Children’s Hospital. The hospital sits on state-owned land and under state rules it must be used for the benefit of U of L and the citizens of the Commonwealth.
U of L officials say Norton’s partnership with UK violates that agreement, and last week they sent Norton a letter demanding that they end the agreement with UK within 30 days and instead negotiate a new contract with U of L.
This week Norton sent its own letter saying there are no legal grounds for the demands, adding there’s nothing in the agreement with the state that gives U of L a monopoly on Kosair Children’s Hospital.
U of L is threatening legal action once the 30 days are up and has requested that the Attorney General’s office look into the matter.