Health

The rate of uninsured Kentuckians has dropped—and the number of people with employer-sponsored coverage continues to rise, according to a new poll released Thursday.

Fifty percent of Kentucky adults are insured through their employer or their spouse’s employer, according to the latest Kentucky Health Issues Poll found.

In 2012, 37 percent of adults had coverage through an employer or a spouse’s employer.

Health officials in Illinois are trying to find the source of a measles infection, after five babies were diagnosed with the contagious respiratory disease in a Chicago suburb. Saying that more cases are likely, a health official warns, "The cat is out of the bag."

Because the Illinois patients are all under a year old, they can't be vaccinated. The new cluster of cases joins more than 100 other reports of measles in 14 states this year; most of them have been traced to an outbreak at Disneyland in California in December.

Erica Peterson, WFPL

A new analysis of products purchased at dollar stores around the country show that most included significant amounts of at least one hazardous chemical. The Campaign for Healthier Solutions tested 164 dollar store products—including several from stores in Louisville—and found high levels of chemicals like polyvinyl chloride, phthalates, lead and tin in 81 percent of them.

The products tested ran the gamut, from children’s toys to home décor to school and office supplies. Many were found to contain phthalates, which are endocrine disrupters that have been linked to birth defects, cancer, reproductive issues and asthma. Some had bromine, which is a component of fire retardants and is a possible human carcinogen. There’s no safe level of lead exposure for children; the heavy metal can cause brain and kidney damage.

In statements, the companies said they comply with all federal and state regulations:

Credit Cynthia Goldsmith / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

As the number of measles cases across the nation grows, a vaccination exemption for Kentucky students could allow for cases to emerge in the Commonwealth.

The highly contagious viral disease is especially susceptible to children resulting in rashes and pink eye and could lead to more serious illnesses like pneumonia and diarrhea.

A recent outbreak is believed to have started at a Disneyland theme park in southern California, but now 13 other states are reporting cases.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 102 measles cases have been reported in 14 states, more than half of those were in California. No cases have yet been reported in Kentucky or Tennessee.

Kentucky Director of Health Planning Dr. Kraig Humbaugh says the majority of the people that contract the virus each year in the U.S. are unvaccinated. Every state requires children entering public or private schools and day cares to receive a vaccination before entering. However, 48 states have clauses for exemption.

E-cigarettes may do more harm than previously thought, according to a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

NPR reported last week on a study that found vapor produced by electronic cigarettes can contain a surprisingly high concentration of formaldehyde — a known carcinogen.

Indiana has gained approval from the federal government to use an updated version of the state’s Health Indiana Plan, or HIP, instead of Medicaid.

The updated version will be called HIP 2.0, and it will provide health care to 350,000 uninsured Indiana residents.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced the expansion Tuesday.

The Obama administration said Monday that it wants to speed up changes to Medicare so that within four years half of its traditional spending will go to doctors, hospitals and other providers that coordinate patient care.

The shift is being made to stress quality and frugality over payment by the procedure, test and visit.

When Amy Seitz got pregnant with her second child last year, she knew that being 35 years old meant there was an increased chance of chromosomal disorders like Down syndrome. She wanted to be screened, and she knew just what kind of screening she wanted — a test that's so new, some women and doctors don't quite realize what they've signed up for.

Cancellations Follow News of Norovirus at Nashville Hotel

Jan 22, 2015

At least one conference has been cut short and another canceled after an outbreak of Norovirus at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville.

Jenny Kite is a spokeswoman for Astellas Pharma US, which had a conference last week at the 2,882-room hotel. She said in an email that more than 350 employees or their family members "experienced symptoms consistent with Norovirus." The company canceled the remaining meetings because of the illnesses.

The Kentucky General Assembly has wrapped up the first week of the 2015 session, leaving committees with numerous bills to review.

Chairs for the health and welfare committees in both chambers have set their priorities for the remainder of the 30-day session.

Sen. Julie Raque-Adams, a Louisville Republican,  said the committee she chairs will take a critical look at the Medicaid expansion, plus efforts to promote healthy living and protect vulnerable populations.

26 People Have Died of the Flu So Far in Kentucky

Jan 8, 2015

Kentucky health officials say there have been at least 26 flu-related deaths in the state during the current influenza season.

State epidemiologist Dr. Kraig Humbaugh said on Thursday that the fatality rate is rising as the flu becomes more widespread.

“Two of them are pediatric deaths—that’s children under 18 years—five are people that are age 18-64 years and then the rest are age 65 and older,” Humbaugh said. “And of those, actually, eight are over 90 years of age that have been recorded.”

Humbaugh said during the previous flu season, there were about 50 deaths.

Kentucky State Government

The uninsured rate has dropped 4.2 percentage points since the Affordable Care Act’s requirement for Americans to have health insurance went into effect last year, according to a Gallup-Healthways Well Being analysis.

During the fourth quarter of 2014, the uninsured rate dropped to 12.9 percent. This is the lowest recorded rate since Galup-Healthways began tracking the measure daily in 2008.

A year ago the uninsured rate was 17.1 percent.

The survey found that the uninsured rate declined as more Americans signed up for health insurance through federal and state health insurance exchanges in the first and second quarters of 2014.

Is Sugar More Addictive Than Cocaine?

Jan 7, 2015

The 2015 Dietary Guideline Advisory Committee just released new recommendations to limit added sugars to 10 percent of daily calories. Right now, Americans are eating more sugar than ever before — on average, about 160 pounds a year.

Effort Launched to Raise $1M for Cancer-Screening Van

Jan 7, 2015
The University of Louisville

A new campaign has been launched hoping to raise $1 million for a mobile cancer-screening unit in underserved areas of Kentucky.

Kentucky first lady Jane Beshear announced the effort Tuesday and said Churchill Downs has committed $90,000 and Kroger $25,000 for the van.

The mobile unit will provide free or reduced-cost cancer screenings.

Beshear appeared in Frankfort with representatives of the Kentucky Cancer Program, the University of Louisville's James Graham Brown Cancer Center and KentuckyOne Health.

A portable mammography unit already serves the state with breast cancer screenings. Beshear said the new effort intends to expand the service to screen for six additional forms of cancer.

Beshear's office said the van will focus on cancer prevention education and offer screenings for breast, cervical, colon, lung, prostate, skin and head/neck cancer.

The last thing my 11-year-old does before she goes to sleep is put her iPod on the nightstand. And that could mean less sleep for her, researchers say.

There's plenty of evidence that children who have televisions in their rooms get less sleep. This is one of the first studies to look at whether having a small screen like an iPod or smartphone in the room also affects rest.

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