Health

Research being done in Kentucky to treat one of the great health crises of our time is getting a major boost. Monday the University of Louisville announced a new seven year, $3.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health aimed at finding cures for cardiovascular disease.

Bowling Green will have more options for senior care once an expansion is complete at Christian Care Communities.  Currently, the complex offers a nursing home and independent living apartments.  A $12 million expansion will add units for assisted living, memory care, and short-term rehabilitation. 

Kentucky LRC

Governor Steve Beshear and a bi-partisan group of  lawmakers are urging members of the General Assembly to approve the Prescription Drug Abuse Bill known as HB 4.  The measure is sponsored by House Speaker Greg Stumbo, who says the bill was developed with the cooperation of healthcare professionals and law enforcement.  Only one day remains in the legislative session.

The Associated Press is reporting that a medical clinic and shelter in Pikeville have been closed until early April, while owners attempt to treat the entire facility for a bedbug infestation. Westcare Kentucky Vice President Leslie Balonick says the bugs were found in a room in the men's dormitory and an exterminator advised closing the Pikeville clinic for the next ten days. Exterminators will use that time to clean out the buildings.

A Kentucky Senate committee has approved a bill that aims to toughen laws against prescription pill abuse. House Bill 4 is a collaborative effort between House Speaker Greg Stumbo, Attorney General Jack Conway and Governor Steve Beshear.

Office of Drug Control Policy

As part of the Keep Kentucky Kids Safe program, state Attorney General Jack Conway and Van Ingram, the Executive Director of the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, will talk with Union County High School students Monday. Prescription drug abuse has become a very serious problem across the Commonwealth, and state officials are trying to increase public awareness about the dangers associated with that abuse.

In the Weekly Republican Address, U-S Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell today called for the repeal of President Obama's healthcare reform law. Speaking just days before the U-S Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments on the constitutionality of the law, the lawmaker from Louisville said the bill the White House backed has "made things worse."  McConnell did note that the President was right to join a call for health care reform,but he criticized the Obama plan for leading to higher costs and premiums.

After a week of negotiations, the House Judiciary Committee has passed an amended version of a bill that would regulate pseudoephedrine. The drug—often called PSE—is a key ingredient in allergy medicines, but it is also used to make methamphetamine. In the fight against meth, lawmakers have long debated various proposals to control PSE.

A Federal Appeals Court has upheld a law that requires new, bigger graphic warning labels on cigarette packs. The Associated Press reports that the ruling relates to one of two suits by tobacco companies against the Federal rules that would require them to place large images on cigarette packs, depicting health ravages of smoking. The suit that prompted today's decision was filed in Kentucky.

Brad Rodu says it's time for the public health community to re-think how it looks at the smoking debate in this country.  Rodu is head of the Tobacco Harm Reduction effort at the University of Louisville's James Graham Brown Cancer Center. He says for too long the smoking issue has come down to an all-or-nothing wager: smokers are told they either have to give up cigarettes, or keep smoking and die.

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