New data shows Kentucky children are healthier on average than children across the nation.
Numbers released last week by the Data Resource Center for Child & Adolescent Health show 85.5% of Kentucky children were in very good or excellent health for a period covering 2011-2012. Nationwide, that number was 84.2%.
The percentage of Kentucky children who received preventive dental care came in below the nationwide average, with 75.5%. Nationwide, 77.2% of children received preventive dental health care.
The data also shows that just 41% of Kentucky children live in neighborhoods with a park, sidewalks, a library and a community center. That compares with 54% of children nationwide.
The Data Resource Center gathers data for the National Center for Health Statistics.
Health departments across Kentucky continue to make cuts because of a dispute between the state and a managed-care company hired to help serve Medicaid patients.
The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the cuts include laying off workers, ending school health programs and decreasing clinic hours.
Kentucky Health Departments Association President Scott Lockard told the newspaper that health departments cut 53 workers last year, and another 95 have been cut this year. He said some departments are facing furloughs through July 1.
The Madison County Health Department, for example, announced the end of its school nurse program in February. Fayette County's health department ended that program last year.
Kentucky's attorney general is urging the Food and Drug Administration to make generic pain pills harder to abuse.
Forty-seven state attorneys general have signed a letter asking the FDA to require drug manufacturers to develop tamper-resistant versions of their products.
The FDA is currently considering generics for two of the most commonly abused pain killers, Oxycontin and Opana.
Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway explains that generic crushable drugs lack the tamper-resistant gel coating on many name brand drugs. "Oxycontin is normally delivered in time release over 12 hours, but addicts can snort 12 hours worth of the medication in about 12 seconds," says Conway.
If generics come to market without being tamper-proof, Conway says much of the work Kentucky has done to curb drug abuse will be lost.
Opponents of expanding TennCare as envisioned in the Affordable Care Act say the country can’t afford to add to the national debt. But hospitals in Tennessee are pushing back, saying the money amounts to just seven-thousandths of one percent of the country’s red ink.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Wright Pinson held up a sheet of paper with a pin dot in the middle, representing the potential savings for no expansion compared to the country’s $16 trillion debt.
“I think that you would agree that weighing all of the conflicting politics and data, the health and welfare of the citizens of Tennessee far outweigh this dot,” Pinson said.
The federal government would cover 100 percent of the costs in the first three years. Pinson says the state should take the money and worry about the future later.