Tuesday was the inaugural day for Kentucky's Health Benefits Exchange.
The Kynect website went live at 12 a.m. Tuesday, and according to the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services, 24,000 people browsed to see what they might be eligible for and over 1,000 applications were processed by 9:30 a.m.
As expected, there have been a some hiccups along the way.
"The high volume of traffic is causing a few technical glitches, but we have an IT command center fully staffed who are working diligently to iron out any issues. People can continue to browse the site, but we encourage any visitors who experience problems to check back later to begin their application process," said Gwenda Bond, a spokeswoman in the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services.
"There will be a message on the site to provide an update as we work to ensure everything is running smoothly. This surge of early applications demonstrates the pent up demand for quality health coverage for many Kentuckians, who will be able to have that coverage beginning January 1, 2014, because of the ACA."
Kentucky's Health Benefits Exchange can be accessed at kynect.ky.gov.
A judge has ruled that a civil trial involving the maker of OxyContin should remain in Pikeville.
The lawsuit filed by Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway 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.
Purdue Pharma had requested that the trial be moved, saying an impartial jury couldn't be seated in Pike County. Prosecutors objected.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.