Health

Health
3:43 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Judge Asked to Move Oxycontin Case Away from Eastern Kentucky Town

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.

The Appalachian News Express reports Circuit Judge Steve Combs heard arguments during a hearing in Pikeville last week over whether the trial should be moved.

Attorneys for Purdue Pharma said it would be impossible to seat an impartial jury there and asked that the proceedings be moved to central Kentucky.

The attorney general's office said the trial should remain in Pikeville.

Health
4:28 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

E-Health Taking Hold in Kentucky, Improving Care

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.

Health
7:58 am
Tue September 17, 2013

Fundraising Drive to Combat Cancer in Kentucky Nearing Goal

A public-private partnership to fight colon cancer in Kentucky appears to be gaining steam.

The Kentucky Cancer Foundation is nearing its goal of matching $1 million that Gov. Steve Beshear was able to set aside for colon cancer screening in the state budget.

Beshear and health officials provided an update on the initiative to fight cancer in a state that ranks among the worst in the nation for the disease.

Some 500 uninsured Kentuckians have already been screened for colon cancer through the initiative. That number is expected to reach 2,000 by next June.

Of those who have undergone colonoscopies, 25 percent were found to have pre-cancerous polyps that were removed to prevent the development of cancer.

The program is targeting uninsured Kentuckians between the ages of 50 and 64.

Health
1:56 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Health Summit Meeting in Bowling Green

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.

Health
6:24 am
Mon September 16, 2013

Report Finds Increasing Effort to Protect Children

A new report that found increasing efforts to protect Kentucky children from abuse is drawing cautious praise from child advocates.  According to the report released by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, child welfare workers confirmed almost 15% more cases of neglect and abuse last year than in 2011.

Kentucky Youth Advocates Director Terry Brooks says the report shows child welfare officials are serious about trying to make improvements in the system.                                                                                                               

Preliminary figures show nine children died and 27 nearly died in the fiscal year that ended June 30th, which is a decrease from the previous year. Federal statistics show that in recent years, Kentucky has ranked among the worst in the nation for deaths associated with child abuse.

Health
3:08 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Beshear Says Most Uninsured Kentuckians Will Qualify for Subsidies for Exchange-Based Plans

Governor Beshear says most of Kentucky’s uninsured residents would qualify for discounts on health insurance purchased on the state’s new health exchange. Speaking Tuesday in Frankfort, said at least 80 percent of the commonwealth’s uninsured would get some kind of financial assistance to help them get insurance coverage.

The new health exchange was put into motion following the passage of the federal Affordable Care Act. It serves as an online marketplace where consumers can choose state-approved insurance plans and compare coverage and costs.

Enrollment in the Kentucky exchange begins October 1.

Government officials have said an estimated 332,000 uninsured Kentuckians would be eligible to receive coverage through the new exchange. The Courier-Journal reports Beshear said Tuesday that a family of four earning $70,000 a year could buy a health plan for a little over $400 a month.

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Health
8:30 am
Tue September 10, 2013

Beshear to Hold News Briefing Tuesday on Health Reforms

Gov. Steve Beshear has scheduled a news briefing Tuesday afternoon to provide an update on efforts to implement federal health care reforms in Kentucky.

The event is set for 1 p.m. EDT at the Capitol.

Beshear has been an advocate for the reforms that he says will provide access to medical care to more than 600,000 uninsured Kentucky residents. Nearly half of those will be added to the state's Medicaid program. The remainder, he said, will be able to get insurance through an online health benefits exchange.

Joining Beshear for the briefing will be Health and Family Services Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes, Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange Executive Director Carrie Banahan and Kentucky Department of Insurance Commissioner Sharon Clark.

Health
2:24 pm
Sat September 7, 2013

Norton Healthcare Files Lawsuit Against U of L in Battle Over UK Partnership

A lawsuit has been filed in the wake of a partnership announced by Kentucky's two children's hospitals.

Kosair Children's Hospital in Louisville and the University of Kentucky HealthCare's Kentucky Children's Hospital in Lexington said last month that both institutions had signed a letter of intent to partner.

The announcement brought a quick reaction from the University of Louisville, which said the partnership could jeopardize U of L's relationship with Norton Healthcare, which owns Kosair. U of L then accused Norton of violating a land-lease agreement by entering into the partnership.

The Courier-Journal reports Norton Healthcare filed suit on Friday and requested the court "to declare (University of Louisville) threats against Kosair Children's Hospital to be without legal basis."

U of L called the filing of the lawsuit "unfortunate."

Health
1:45 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

Norton Healthcare, University of Louisville Continue Argument over Partnership with UK

Kosair Children's Hospital in Louisville
Credit Norton Healthcare

Officials with Norton Healthcare have rejected the University of Louisville’s request that they end their recently announced pediatric services partnership with UK Healthcare.

University of Louisville’s health care entity  partners with Norton, which owns Kosair Children’s Hospital. The hospital sits on state-owned land and under state rules it  must be used for the benefit of U of L and the citizens of the Commonwealth.

U of L officials say Norton’s partnership with UK violates that agreement, and last week they sent Norton a letter demanding that they end the agreement with UK within 30 days and instead negotiate a new contract with U of L.

This week Norton sent its own letter saying there are no legal grounds for the demands, adding there’s nothing in the agreement with the state that gives U of L a monopoly on Kosair Children’s Hospital.

U of L is threatening legal action once the 30 days are up and has requested that the Attorney General’s office look into the matter.

Health
5:23 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Head of UK's Markey Cancer Center Weighs in on E-Cigarettes

Dr. Mark Evers
Credit University of Kentucky

The director of the University of Kentucky’s Markey Cancer Center says electronic cigarettes are “quite harmful”.  Dr. Mark Evers was answering questioned posed to him by lawmakers on the Tobacco Settlement Agreement Fund Oversight Committee.  

Dr. Evers says current research on e-cigs indicate that they may be  “every bit as dangerous” as smoking tobacco.  E-cigarettes deliver a vaporized solution that may or may not contain nicotine.  Members of the committee say they’re trying to gauge the health impact of e-cigarettes because some local jails provide the devices to inmates at cost. 

Part of the funding for the research comes from the 1998 tobacco settlement with 46 states including Kentucky.

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