Health

Health
12:21 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

One Death Reported in Hopkins County Salmonella Outbreak

Health officials are investigating a salmonella outbreak in Hopkins County, with 10 confirmed cases and one fatality.

Environmental supervisor for the Hopkins County Health Department Barry Franklin said an investigation has begun to determine the cause of the outbreak.

“We try to find the common commonality among these ten individuals of the foods they’ve eaten and when, all this stuff, to try to narrow it down to certain places,” Franklin said. “Then we’ll go out to those where it’s been narrowed down to, and if they’ve got food left, we’ll sample some and submit it to the state lab in Frankfort for testing.”

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Health
11:38 am
Thu September 26, 2013

Kentucky Not on Federal Exchange Premium List, But Kynect Releases Range of Price

The Department of Health and Human Services released insurance premium prices for federally-run exchanges today, including Tennessee, showing premiums in some states are lower than initially estimated.

But Kentucky’s exchange called kynect is state-run and wasn’t on that list.

Kynect has released the actual costs and range of plans for certain hypothetical situations. Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services spokesperson Gwenda Bond says people can find out their individual costs beginning Oct. 1, which is the first day to apply for open enrollment.

Bond says all but 50,000 of the more than 600,000 uninsured Kentuckians will qualify for either the Medicaid expansion or premium subsidies through kynect.

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Health
8:06 am
Mon September 23, 2013

National Cancer Prevention Study Looking for Southern Kentucky Participants

The CPS-3 is looking for Warren County area residents to sign up now for appointments.

The American Cancer Society is looking for participants in the Warren County region to take part in a national cancer prevention study. The group wants 300 people ages 30 to 65--who have never had a cancer diagnosis--to schedule appointments for the enrollment period of Nov. 20-22. 

Those who are interested in participating can follow this link to learn more about what's known as the Cancer Prevention Study 3.

Participants will give a blood sample and have their waists measured, and will fill out a questionnaire about their health history and lifestyle. After that, those involved in the study will report any health changes through either mail or email.

"And from that we hope to learn more about possible links between cancer risks and lifestyle choices that people make, the environment where they live and work, and also even genetics," said Eric Walker, with the Mid-South Division of the American Cancer Society, Inc., based in Paducah.

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Health
6:00 am
Sun September 22, 2013

Launch Date Nears for Kentucky's Health Benefits Exchange

Kentucky is the only southern state implementing all of the federal Affordable Care Act.  A major tenant of the law are the Health Benefits Exchanges, which are online marketplaces where consumers can compare various insurance plans.  Kentucky's exchange, known as kynect, is one week from going live.  Kynect Executive Director Carrie Banahan says a Lexington contact center is fielding more than 100 calls a day.

“People ask ‘Does this affect my Medicare?’ The answer is no.  People want to know how they can qualify and what the eligibility requirements are.  We’ve also received questions about whether there is a limit on the number of people who can qualify for premium assistance, and the answer is no,” explains Banahan.

Kentuckians must be signed up by December 15th in order to receive coverage starting January 1.  The state has about 640,00 people currently uninsured.  It’s estimated that 300,000 will be added to Medicaid and nearly as many will qualify premium assistance.

Health
3:43 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Judge Asked to Move Oxycontin Case Away from Eastern Kentucky Town

A judge is considering whether a civil trial involving the maker of OxyContin should be moved away from Pikeville.

The lawsuit filed by Kentucky Attorney General against OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma alleges that the company misled health care providers, consumers and government officials regarding the risk of addiction associated with OxyContin. Conway is seeking reimbursement of money spent on law enforcement, drug treatment programs and Medicaid prescriptions.

The Appalachian News Express reports Circuit Judge Steve Combs heard arguments during a hearing in Pikeville last week over whether the trial should be moved.

Attorneys for Purdue Pharma said it would be impossible to seat an impartial jury there and asked that the proceedings be moved to central Kentucky.

The attorney general's office said the trial should remain in Pikeville.

Health
4:28 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

E-Health Taking Hold in Kentucky, Improving Care

Kentucky has some of the worst rankings in the nation for chronic diseases, but the Commonwealth is a leader for the use of electronic record-keeping.  That’s what Kentucky’s Public Health Commissioner told medical providers and administrators in Bowling Green Tuesday who gathered for an e-health summit. 

Dr. Stephanie Mayfield said one of the benefits of electronic records is more immediate patient care.

“When a patient comes into a hospital or private provider’s office, not having to call or search where that patient’s been, or if that patient isn’t able to tell you where they’ve been, it’s such a medical efficiency to be able to look up that information through the health information exchange," explained Mayfield.

Electronic record-keeping is also intended to increase the accuracy of patient records and reduce medical errors.  Dr. Mayfield said every Kentucky hospital now utilizes electronic records and more than 400 individual providers have signed on.

Health
7:58 am
Tue September 17, 2013

Fundraising Drive to Combat Cancer in Kentucky Nearing Goal

A public-private partnership to fight colon cancer in Kentucky appears to be gaining steam.

The Kentucky Cancer Foundation is nearing its goal of matching $1 million that Gov. Steve Beshear was able to set aside for colon cancer screening in the state budget.

Beshear and health officials provided an update on the initiative to fight cancer in a state that ranks among the worst in the nation for the disease.

Some 500 uninsured Kentuckians have already been screened for colon cancer through the initiative. That number is expected to reach 2,000 by next June.

Of those who have undergone colonoscopies, 25 percent were found to have pre-cancerous polyps that were removed to prevent the development of cancer.

The program is targeting uninsured Kentuckians between the ages of 50 and 64.

Health
1:56 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Health Summit Meeting in Bowling Green

Leaders in business, health care and government are assembling in Bowling Green for a summit designed to improve health information technology in Kentucky.

The annual e-Health summit begins Tuesday at the Sloan Convention Center.

Noted speakers include Judy Murphy, deputy of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes.

The event draws hundreds from around the state who come to present ideas and listen to state and national leaders speak about new initiatives in health information technology. It is sponsored by the Governor's Office of Electronic Health Information.

Health
6:24 am
Mon September 16, 2013

Report Finds Increasing Effort to Protect Children

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.

Health
3:08 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Beshear Says Most Uninsured Kentuckians Will Qualify for Subsidies for Exchange-Based Plans

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.

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