Kentucky is one of six states along with Puerto Rico that will participate in a program to help drive down medical costs by targeting frequent healthcare system users.
Staff from the National Governors Association and other experts will help train officials from participating states to develop a plan for super-utilizers. These are patients who may benefit from less costly, more appropriate treatment elsewhere.
Dr. Stephanie Mayfield is commissioner of Kentucky’s Department of Public Health. She says the commonwealth will focus on frequent emergency room users. Last year, thousands of Medicaid patients used the ER 10 times or more.
“What we’re hoping the plan will be is that emergency rooms are there strictly to be used as emergency rooms and that we develop a plan so that they’re not de facto primary care centers any longer," says Mayfield.
The training academy will help participating states develop plans around healthcare policy. The program will run for a year and begins in August.
Kentucky has gained new clout in its fight against cancer, resulting from the rising status of the cancer center at its flagship university.
The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center in Lexington on Friday earned the designation as a National Cancer Institute facility. It becomes the 68th medical center in the country to receive the prestigious title and the only one in Kentucky.
The designation has the potential to bring millions of dollars of additional research funding to the Markey Center.
It also means patients will have access to new drugs, treatment options and clinical trials offered only at NCI centers.
UK President Eli Capilouto says it signals that Kentucky will "no longer indulge the scourge of cancer."
Kentucky is at or near the top nationally in several cancer rates.
Kentucky officials will start a yearlong study next month to determine the effects of controversial new laws designed to curb prescription pill abuse.
The Courier-Journal reports the Cabinet for Health and Family Services has contracted with the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy's Institute for Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy on the study, which will run July 1 through June 30, 2014.
David Hopkins, who manages the state's prescription drug monitoring program called KASPER, said the study will look at several areas including changes in prescribing patterns, the impact on drug-treatment centers and whether the laws have had unintended consequences.
Those to be surveyed for the study include doctors, dentists and licensing boards. Researchers will also review data from the prescription drug monitoring program and statistics from hospitals and substance abuse centers.
While the American Medical Association may not have the clout it once did, it's still the largest single group of doctors making waves about health and the practice of medicine.
So it's not nothing when the AMA's House of Delegates approves a measure to label obesity a disease. The group's deliberative democratic body passed a measure in Chicago Tuesday that broadly, if vaguely, says obesity is a medical condition:
Tea party activists have asked a judge to resolve a lawsuit over the legality of the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange by granting a summary judgment.
Irvine attorney Michael Dean filed a motion Thursday asking that Franklin County Circuit Judge Phillip J. Shepherd rule in favor of the activists. They also want a permanent injunction that would essentially shut down the exchange, a product of the federal health care overhaul intended to help uninsured people arrange health insurance coverage.
Attorneys for the state asked last month that the tea party lawsuit be dismissed. But Shepherd refused.
Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange is set to begin open enrollment Oct. 1, and the exchange starts operation Jan. 1.