Bowling Green area farmers set up shop outside the Barren River District Health Department Wednesday, in an effort to make nutritional food easily accessible to the community.
Farmers selling vegetables, eggs, meats, and cheeses set up their tents on the front lawn of the health department, and--within a few minutes--business was booming.
A group of local farmers is working to make their products accessible in low-income areas. The farmers used the health department Wednesday as a testing site to see how many consumers would be willing to turn out.
The farmers have purchased a bus with a USDA grant. The bus is being retrofitted to act as a traveling community farmers market. Starting in April, the bus will stop at various Bowling Green locations where access to fresh foods is limited.
The market will also accept forms of government assistance, and will become Kentucky's first farmers market on wheels.
Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has announced new tools aimed at enforcing the state's "no texting" law.
A 2010 law made texting while driving punishable by a fine. Speaking in Louisville Wednesday, Beshear said that hasn't been enough of a deterrent. Starting in a few months, the Transportation Cabinet will take three points off the licenses of drivers caught while texting behind the wheel.
The new three-point texting penalty was announced as transportation leaders and emergency responders gathered for an annual meeting. The state can suspend the licenses of drives who incur 12 penalty points within a two-year period.
For drivers under 18, the threshold is seven points.
According to the Governor's office, more than 5,300 crashes in Kentucky last year were caused by driver distraction.
A report released Friday shows that overdose deaths in Kentucky declined in 2012—the first time there has been such a drop in a decade.
But the report issued by the Office of Drug Control Policy also found that heroin deaths in the commonwealth last year increased by 550 percent over 2011.
The office’s executive director, Van Ingram, says Kentucky first started seeing an increase in heroin use and overdoses when the formulation for the painkillers Oxycontin and Opana were changed in order to make them more difficult for intravenous drug use.
The report also shows that two of the counties in the top ten for overdose deaths in 2011 and 2012 are in our listening area. Whitley County was eighth, with 56 overdose deaths per 100,000 people.
Monroe County was ninth, with 53 deaths per 100,000 people.
Governor Steve Beshear joined Glasgow and Barren County leaders Wednesday for a ceremony honoring a new facility that will offer long-term care for those with mental illnesses.
Residents will begin moving into the new Glasgow State Nursing Facility in early September. Glasgow mayor Rhonda Trautman says residents at the facility require a higher level of care than those at most long-term care facilities in the state.
"These are people who are primarily suffering from mental problems who need counseling. They have a variety of issues, and there is a large group of patients there who suffer from Huntington's Disease."
The new facility in Glasgow replaces another state-run long-term care facility in Barren County that had become antiquated.
"The older center has been part of our community for decades. The original building used to be the state tuberculosis hospital," said Mayor Trautman.
A non-profit, philanthropic group in Kentucky is partnering with seven communities in an effort to reduce the prevalence of chronic diseases. The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky hopes the five-year, $3 million effort, known as the Kentucky's Future Initiative, will cut the chances that today's youth will suffer from obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
The Clinton County School District and the Green River Area Development District's Partnership for a Healthy McLean County are two of the seven partners selected for the program.
"What we're trying to do, if you will, is to bend the curve and stop the progression we see starting with our children today," says Susan Zepeda, President and CEO of The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. "We don't want them to develop the kinds of chronic diseases that their parents and grandparents have, that have been holding Kentucky back."
Zepeda says the Foundation is currently in the planning stage with each of the seven grant recipients about how to best utilize the funding to attack chronic diseases.
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.