Health

Health
2:59 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Poll Shows Major Support for Medical Marijuana in Kentucky

A new poll shows 78 percent of Kentuckians support the legalization of medical marijuana, while others would be fine with widespread legalization.

The Kentucky Health Issues Poll has conducted polling on a wide array of issues for the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky over the past few months, from a statewide smoking ban to health insurance coverage.

Its latest poll  shows overwhelming support for medical marijuana in Kentucky. It also shows roughly one in four Kentuckians would be okay with legalizing pot even for recreational use.

Only 38 percent oppose legalizing marijuana for any reason at all.

Foundation CEO Susan Zepeda was surprised by the results.  She says marijuana still poses some health risks, even if it's used for medical purposes.

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Health
2:40 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

Beshear: Kentucky Will Expand Medicaid Program Under Affordable Care Act

After months of deliberations, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear has decided to expand Medicaid in Kentucky under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare—a move that's won praise from Democrats and health advocacy groups.

Beshear said Thursday that expansion benefits Kentucky in many ways.

"This move makes sense not only for our health but also for our pocketbook. More important it makes sense for our future," he says.

The expansion will insure more than 308,000 Kentuckians. And according to studies done by PriceWaterhouseCoopers and the Urban Studies Institute at the University of Louisville, Medicaid expansion would bring about $800 million to Kentucky between next year and 2021.

Beshear says critics of the expansion are more worried about politics than good policy.

"They express vague and broad anxieties about costs, fears which the facts refute and they fall back on partisan national politics. If Kentucky expands Medicaid they ask, won't Kentucky be supporting Obamacare, they ask. Well to them I say, Get over it," he says.

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Health
3:41 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Conway, Rogers Protest Urban Outfitters' Use of Prescription Pill Bottles on Alcohol-Related Items

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway

Two of Kentucky's elected leaders are joining their peers in asking a national clothing retailer to stop selling questionable pint and shot glasses.

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway and U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers of Somerset are asking retailer Urban Outfitters to stop selling an array of pint glasses, shot glasses and flasks that are made to look like prescription pill bottles.

The two men have consistently fought for laws to reduce Kentucky's prescription pill epidemic on both the state and federal levels.

In a news release, Conway said the fact that the retailer, which is known for selling ", is encouraging the mixture of alcohol and pills by their branding is even more disturbing.

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Health
3:28 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Beshear to Announce Decision on Medicaid Expansion Thursday Afternoon

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear is set to announce whether or not he’ll expand Kentucky’s Medicaid program.

The Governor’s office says Beshear will share his decision Thursday at a 1:30 p.m. eastern time news conference at the state capitol building.

Under the federal Affordable Care Act, each state has the option of expanding its Medicaid services to those earning less than 133 percent of the poverty rate. The federal government has agreed to pay each state’s additional costs related to expansion for the first three years, with Washington picking up 90 percent of the tab each following year.

Some conservatives and Tea Party activists have called on Beshear not to agree to the expansion, saying the commonwealth can’t afford any additional costs.

Supporters say it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to extend the program to a wider number of Kentuckians who are struggling with high health care costs.

Health
4:55 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

White-Nose Syndrome Found in Daniel Boone National Forest

A bat with white-nose syndrome

A rapidly spreading fungal disease affecting bats has been discovered in Daniel Boone National Forest.

The U.S. Forest Service says white-nose syndrome was found on hibernating bats in six caves inside the forest. Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources confirmed laboratory findings.

Some 5.7 million to 6.7 million bats have died since the disease was first detected in New York in 2006. It has since spread across the eastern U.S. as far west as Missouri and into Canada.

Forest Biologist Sandra Kilpatrick says 38 bat hibernation caves were surveyed over the winter, with white-nose syndrome found in six. Those six caves are in Jackson, Rockcastle and Pulaski counties.

No human illnesses have been attributed to white-nose syndrome, although people are able to spread the fungus.

Health
2:24 pm
Mon April 29, 2013

Health Group Starts Ad Campaign in Support of Kentucky Medicaid Expansion

A leading health organization in Kentucky is putting the pressure on Gov. Steve Beshear to expand Medicaid services under the Affordable Care Act.

Kentucky Voices for Health Executive Director Regan Hunt says her group is launching a two-week radio ad campaign pressure Beshear to expand Medicaid. The radio ad campaign will be partnered with a month long online ad campaign.

So far, the governor has delayed making a decision— although he seems to support the ideal, if fiscally possible.

Under the healthcare law, the federal government will pay 100 percent of expansion costs for three years and then 90 percent after that.

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Health
2:06 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Federal Governnment Halts HIV Clinical Trial that Included Vanderbilt University

A federal HIV vaccine trial that Vanderbilt University  is being halted because of poor results. The nation’s most advanced clinical trial was stopped this week when an independent review discovered that more people who got a vaccine tested positive for HIV than those who received a placebo.

The trial involved 19 cities and had enrolled individuals marketed to people considered at high risk for contracting the virus.

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Health
2:38 pm
Thu April 18, 2013

Kentucky Woman Newest Victim of Meningitis Outbreak

A southern Kentucky woman has died at a Nashville hospital of complications from fungal meningitis.

Saint Thomas Hospital spokeswoman Rebecca Climer told The Tennessean that Carol Wetton, 71, of Guthrie, died Tuesday of complications from an original infection.

The Tennessee Department of Health confirmed that a death associated with the outbreak of fungal infections occurred and said the death brings to 15 the number of people who have died in the state. Tainted steroidal injections were discovered several months ago. A statement from the department said it is possible there could yet be other deaths from the infections.

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Health
2:14 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

Greenville Clinic to Begin Operating as Part of Owensboro Health Network

A Muhlenberg County health clinic will soon begin operating as part of the Owensboro Health network. Dr. Marshall Prunty founded Family Practices of Greenville, PSC, 29 years ago. Dr. Prunty says it has become too difficult for a small operation such as his to keep up with the paperwork and filings related to the Affordable Care Act, Hippa, and other regulations.

"It gets to the point where I probably almost need two or three people just to take care of the regulations. And in a small, independent office, you just don't really have the resources to do that,” Dr. Prunty told WKU Public Radio.

Dr. Prunty's office will begin operating as Owensboro Health Multicare Greenville on May 1st.

His office provides family medical care for children and adults, as well as on-site lab testing.

Dr. Prunty's office currently serves patients in Muhlenberg, McLean, Todd, and Ohio counties.

Health
1:12 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Report: Fewer Kentuckians, Hoosiers, Tennesseans Getting Health Insurance Through Workplace

A new report shows fewer workers in Kentucky and Indiana are getting health insurance through their jobs. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation says 59.5 percent of Kentuckians under the age of 65 received health insurance through their job or a family member’s job in 2011. That’s a drop of more than 9 percent from 2000.

In Indiana, 63 percent of those under 65 got health insurance through jobs in 2011, down nearly 15 percent from 2000.

Tennessee saw a 10 percent drop over that same time period.

Nationwide, the report found that 11.5 million fewer Americans get insurance through the workplace.

You can see the complete Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report here.

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