A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky vaccination rate for cancer-causing HPV on the rise, but still lags compared to rest of nation

“Human papillomavirus is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the nation . . . but Kentucky children remain among the least vaccinated in the U.S.,” Caroline Eggers reports for the Bowling Green Daily News. The HPV vaccine is the only one that can prevent any form of cancer. “There are more than 100 types of HPV,” Eggers notes. “Most infections go away on their...

Ban on tobacco in schools still alive; may pass House with measure raising to 21 legal age to buy

By Melissa Patrick and Al Cross Kentucky Health News With just three days left to pass bills, lawmakers in the state House are still working on measures that would protect Kentucky’s youth from tobacco and electronic cigarettes, efforts that health advocates have said could stop nearly one in three Kentucky students from ever smoking. David Osborne A bill to ban the use of tobacco at all public...

Flu activity is widespread in Kentucky, says DPH; 44 flu-related deaths reported; not too late to get a shot

The Department for Public Health (DPH), within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), reports flu activity in Kentucky is at “widespread” for the 10th consecutive week. Widespread is the highest level of flu activity, indicating increased flu-like activity or flu outbreaks in at least half of the state’s regions.   “With the traditional flu season running from October through...

St. E. Healthy Headlines: Should you be taking an aspirin a day; other questions about benefits, risks

For many years, healthy adults have been taking an aspirin a day to reduce their risk of heart disease and common types of cancer. In April 2016, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended a low-dose aspirin daily for healthy adults over the age of 50. But in October 2018, a large study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, involving nearly 20,000 people 65 and older changed...

Kentuckians use too many antibiotics; No. 1 in the nation, campaign started to reduce inappropriate use

Kentucky Health News Kentucky has the highest rate of antibiotic use in the United States, and the University of Louisville School of Medicine is trying to do something about it. The school’s Department of Pediatrics has mounted a campaign to highlight the need for education and awareness on antibiotic overuse in Kentucky, and to reduce inappropriate use of antibiotics in the state. “Although...

Online resource helps relative caregivers of children find support; provides users quick links to services

The Kentucky Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) has launched a new online resource to give support information to relative and fictive kin caregivers. The new Kinship Navigator Section on the KY FACES website (Kentucky Foster Adoptive Caregiver Exchange System) provides information and quick links to supportive services for relative and fictive kin caregivers raising children. The new...

Behind the scenes, health insurers use cash and gifts to sway which benefits employers choose

Photo by Justin Volz, Special to ProPublica The insurance industry gives lucrative commissions and bonuses — from six-figure payouts to a chance to bat against Mariano Rivera — to the independent brokers who advise employers. Critics call the payments a “classic conflict of interest” that drive up costs. By Marshall Allen This story was co-published by ProPublica and NPR’s Shots blog The...

Cabinet for Health and Family Services discusses public health response to Hepatitis A outbreak

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services has announced its support for a legislative resolution calling for an examination of the public health response to Kentucky’s hepatitis A outbreak. State Response to Hep A outbreak The Cabinet is supportive of a legislative resolution calling for an examination of the Public Health response to Kentucky’s hepatitis a outbreak. At the same time, Cabinet...

What you eat (or don’t eat) may impact how you sleep; how to address your sleep disorders

It’s estimated that 50-70 million U.S. adults have some type of sleeping disorder. And what you eat or don’t eat may impact how you sleep.   Many studies provide evidence of how nutrition influences sleep quality and also plays a role in disorders such as sleep apnea, snoring, TMJ, and insomnia. Some doctors say the connection goes even further – perhaps back one or two generations in...

State senate to take up two separate bills proposing additions to Medicaid coverage

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Two new bills introduced in the Kentucky Senate would require Medicaid to cover dental and eye doctor visits and would prohibit healthcare providers from charging co-pays to Medicaid recipients. Current dental coverage for Kentucky adults receiving Medicaid is limited. Senate Bill 78 would allow them the same range of dental care as children and young adults, including...

Volunteering, civic participation is actually healthy for you; but Kentucky’s volunteer rate is declining

Kentucky Health News Most Kentucky adults are involved in some community activity, broadly defined, but the state ranks below average, 36th, in the latest state-by-state ranking of volunteerism. “Volunteering can improve a community’s health and build connections between neighbors,” says the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. “To learn more about volunteering and civic participation...

Kentucky ranks as a bottom state for babies, says report on ‘The State of Babies Yearbook: 2019’

Kentucky ranks as a bottom state for babies, according to a first-of-its-kind report. The State of Babies Yearbook: 2019 compiles nearly 60 indicators that affect the well-being of children ages 0 to 3 and provides an in-depth look at national and state-by-state progress across three policy areas: Good Health, Strong Families, and Positive Early Learning Experiences. Researchers from the early childhood...

Dept. of Public Health issues guidelines related to health and safety issues due to severe flooding

The Department for Public Health (DPH), within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), reminds Kentuckians to follow safety guidelines following severe flooding and water run-off events from recent rainfall across the state.   “We urge Kentuckians to use caution in flooded areas, and once floodwaters recede and the clean-up begins, to keep yourself and your family safe,” said Dr. Jeff...

Lawmakers question reasons for cancellation of health study on affects of surface coal mining

Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Democratic lawmakers are probing the reasons why a National Academy of Sciences study on the health effects of surface coal mining in Central Appalachia was canceled. The U.S. Interior Department halted the study in 2017, calling it a cost-saving measure. Airborne micro-particles from surface mining are believed to be linked to a variety of health problems (Photo...

AG’s office secures more than $5M for KY from Medicaid fraud settlement with dialysis provider

The Kentucky Office of the Attorney General is returning more than $5 million to the Kentucky Medicaid program from a settlement with Fresenius Medical Care Holdings Inc. over allegations of Medicaid fraud. Beshear The settlement resolves claims by Beshear that the Massachusetts-based company violated Medicaid guidelines by failing to warn Kentucky dialysis clinics and doctors from 2003-2012 that its...