Health

Health
5:51 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

After Tough Debate, Kentucky Senate Passes Bill Allowing Panel Reviews in Nursing Home Abuses Cases

The Kentucky Senate on Wednesday approved that sets up a panel to review abuse cases from nursing homes.

Three doctors would be put on the panel to review abuse cases; the bill would not prevent patients from filing lawsuits, but the findings from the panel could be admissible in court.

The Senate approved Senate Bill 9 on a party-line vote—Republican for, Democrats against.

The bill sponsor, Sen. Julie Denton, a Louisville Republican, said the goal is to crack down on bad lawsuits, while still protecting nursing home patients.

"No one wants to see someone hurt, someone abused, someone neglected and I'm not here to say there aren't some horrible things that have happened to people and that they don't deserve justice, because they do and this in no way precludes that," Denton said.

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Health
12:46 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Senate Committee Backs Bill Requiring Kentucky Medicaid Providers to Publish Prescription Prices

A bill requiring Kentucky Medicaid managed care operators publish a list of prescriptions and reimbursement prices on Wednesday passed a state Senate committee, following prodding from  independent pharmacists asking for access to pricing standards before they fill prescriptions.

The group of independent pharmacists told lawmakers that they are still having trouble with reimbursements from the state's Medicaid managed care operators. And they said they were also still being dramatically undercut on prescription reimbursements when they did receive them.

Pharmacist Jonathan Van Lahr  said his goal was  to see transparency in the process.

"We are not asking to be paid exorbitant prices for these medications we dispense, just not to lose money. Or at least, let me know I'm going to lose money before I fill it," he says.

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Health
11:30 am
Wed February 13, 2013

Southern Kentucky Town Passes Smoking Ban

Officials in a southern Kentucky city have decided to ban smoking.

The Times-Tribune reports Williamsburg City Council gave final approval on Monday to an ordinance that bans smoking in most public places, including restaurants, bars, pool halls and public areas of hotels and apartment buildings.

Williamsburg Mayor Roddy Harrison said he is a former smoker, but the duty of officials is to "protect everybody."

The ordinance gives employers 30 days to inform workers about the smoking ban.

Health
2:10 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Tennessee Dept. of Children's Services Deleted Pages from Child Death Records

Someone at the Department of Children's Services redacted numerous pages of information about child fatalities in meeting minutes that were provided to the media.

DCS spokeswoman Molly Sudderth told The Tennessean the department is still investigating who redacted the information and why.

Because the documents were redacted on a computer, it was impossible to tell that many sentences and paragraphs had been completely removed. These included potentially damaging information about caseworker actions.

The meeting minutes of the department's internal Child Fatality Review Team were requested by The Tennessean and The Associated Press.

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Health
2:01 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Health Sharing Bill Moves Onto Full Kentucky Senate

A bill that would allow exemptions for Christian health sharing organizations to operate in Kentucky sailed over it first hurdle in a Senate committee.

Senate Bill 3 is known as the Medishare bill, named for the health sharing organization Christian Care Medishare, which was recently kicked out of Kentucky by the Department of Insurance. Medishare operates by pooling money to help pay for members medical bills.

The bill would allow Medishare to re-start operations in Kentucky by giving it an exemption under current state insurance law.

DeWayne Walker was a member of Medishare and said the group helped pay a large amount of the medical bills when his wife got cancer.

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Health
5:52 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

Tennessee Hospitals Say Not Expanding Medicaid Will Cost Thousands of Jobs

Tennessee's hospitals are playing out the “what if’s” as lawmakers consider whether to expand Medicaid as part of the federal health care overhaul. Their study says 90,000 Tennessee jobs could be lost if the expansion does not occur. 

Without expanding who is covered by Medicaid – known as TennCare in Tennessee – hospitals say there could be a “recessionary impact.” Hospitals agreed to cuts that total billions of dollars, believing they would see fewer uninsured. But that assumption is in jeopardy.

State Senator Brian Kelsey is trying to prevent the state from expanding Medicaid.

“Look, my job is not to bail out the special interest hospital lobby. My job is to represent Tennessee taxpayers," said the Germantown Republican.

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Health
2:12 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

Statewide Smoking Ban Bill Clears Kentucky House Committee

Rep. Susan Westrom (D-Lexington)
Credit Kentucky Public Radio

Kentucky is one step closer to enacting a statewide smoking ban after legislation sailed through the House Committee on Health and Welfare Thursday.

House Bill 190, sponsored by Rep. Susan Westrom, a Democrat of Lexington, would prohibit smoking in public places and places of employment.

It's the third year the bill has been proposed, but only the second time it's been heard in committee. Gov. Steve Beshear endorsed the proposal  Wednesday night in his State of the Commonwealth address.

Sylvia Suhl, of the Central Kentucky of the American Heart Association spoke at length about the bill's support from the medical community.

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Health
5:36 am
Mon February 4, 2013

Hepatitis C on the Rise in Northern Kentucky

Statistics show cases of hepatitis C have exploded in northern Kentucky. Due to the increase, the Independent Health Department District is offering free blood testing to anyone concerned about the chronic blood-borne disease that affects the liver. The department is also encouraging people in high-risk groups to get tested.

The area had 23 cases of acute hepatitis C in 2010, 42 in 2011 and 44 in 2012. Officials have said the heroin epidemic in the area is likely a factor in the increase.

Health department spokeswoman Emily Gresham Wherle said anyone who tests positive for the disease will be provided with counseling, education and care options. She says the health department also hopes to get a better understanding of the prevalence of the problem.

Health
8:32 am
Sun February 3, 2013

Kentucky Lawmakers Considering Changes to Prescription Pill Bill Passed in 2012

Kentucky lawmakers agree some changes need to be made to a  law passed last year that cracks down on illegal "pill mills." But what exactly those changes should be remains open to debate.

The Courier-Journal reports legislators want to amend the law to make it more manageable for honest physicians, while still cracking down on doctors who have helped fuel prescription drug abuse in parts of Kentucky by writing scores of bogus prescriptions for pills that are later sold to addicts.

Many Kentucky doctors have complained to Governor Steve Beshear and Attorney General Jack Conway that the new rules are too cumbersome and confusing, and make it needlessly difficult for physicians to get pain medication to patients who need it.

Health
5:26 am
Fri February 1, 2013

Tennessee Republicans Continue Fight Against Affordable Care Act

Tennessee Senate Republicans are proposing legislation that seeks to prevent expansion of the state Medicaid program under provisions of President Obama's health care law.

The measure, called "TennCare Fiscal Responsibility Act", was filed Thursday by Senator Brian Kelsey of Germantown and has 15 Senate co-sponsors. A similar version of the proposal was filed last week in the House. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states have the right to opt out of Medicaid expansion without losing pre-existing federal Medicaid funding.

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