Health

State officials will be in Somerset Wednesday explaining the federal health care law and how it applies to the average citizen. Representatives from the Kentucky Department of Insurance and Cabinet for Health and Family Services will talk about the health insurance exchange the state is in the process of establishing. 

Advocates of a statewide smoking ban are taking their issue on a five day tour before Fancy Farm to drum up support. The Smoke Free Kentucky Coalition has pushed a statewide smoking ban law in the General Assembly for the last two years. And they are making next year’s legislative session a key moment in their fight.

Two women who each lost a daughter to prescription drug abuse are becoming the faces of a billboard campaign alerting Kentuckians to the dangers of improperly popping pills. Karen Shay said Thursday she joined in the campaign in hopes of sparing others from her heartbreak.

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear says he's not ready to make a decision about expanding the state's Medicaid rolls. The federal health care law, upheld by the Supreme Court, allows states to opt out of a Medicaid expansion, which some Republican leaders in the Kentucky legislature have urged the governor to do.

About one hundred hospitals in Kentucky are joining together in a new partnership to help reduce preventable hospital re-admissions. Donna Meador, Project Director of the Kentucky Hospital Engagement Network, says the program can help hospitals to boost the quality of healthcare in the state, and help to reduce healthcare costs at the same time.

The Knox County judge-executive says stabilizing the county hospital's finances is a priority. Knox County is taking over operation of its hospital over ongoing problems in paying employees and debtors. An agreement signed in 2006 put the county fiscal court in charge and Judge-Executive J.M. Hall said local government has inherited a financial mess.

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear has signed emergency regulations that require doctors to meet tougher prescription standards in an effort to stop drug abuse. The rules, which were given to given to state boards that oversee the medical industry on Friday, were presented to lawmakers this week and will remain in effect until permanent regulations are adopted.

Kentucky’s soon-to-be-established health insurance exchange will be web-based and offer a mix of public and private insurance options. The Affordable Care Act requires states to set up marketplaces in which residents can compare and purchase insurance plans.

Former Senate Majority Leader and heart surgeon Bill Frist is calling on states to get going on their health insurance exchanges. The exchanges are part of the Affordable Care Act and some Republican governors who oppose the law are refusing to set them up.

Governor Steve Beshear has followed through on his promise to set up a state-run health insurance exchange in Kentucky. The Affordable Care Act requires states to set up marketplaces in which residents can buy private insurance or sign up for Medicaid.

A new study shows an increase in lung cancer deaths among Tennessee women who began smoking in the 1960s and 70s. Researchers point out women smokers became much more socially acceptable during that era.

Gov. Steve Beshear is creating an independent panel to review deaths and serious injuries in case of child abuse and neglect. Beshear issued an executive order on Monday establishing the Child Fatality and Near Fatality External Review Panel.

A published report says state investigators found few problems at a Harlan County mine where federal investigators found enough violations during a surprise safety blitz in May to shut the mine down for nine days.

A new report has advocates for the nursing home industry in Kentucky saying “I told you so.” The report by Aon Global Risk Consulting ranks Kentucky as the worst state for expenses per bed and for the amount of litigation against nursing homes.

USDA

The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services says a grant from the USDA's Food and Nutrition Service will be used to fund a nutrition education program for students in the state. The SNAP-Ed nutrition program is designed to encourage healthy eating habits and to prevent or postpone the on-set of diet-related chronic diseases.

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