Oral Health Has a Huge Effect on Overall Health

Insider Louisville LogoWhile many adults are focused on staying healthy through exercise and eating right, one area that is closely connected to a person’s overall health and often overlooked is oral health. Inside the mouth aren’t just teeth, but clues to keeping disease away.

The connection between oral health and overall health wasn’t always widely discussed, Cliff Maesaka, the president and CEO of Delta Dental of Kentucky, said in a Passport-sponsored article on Insider Louisville.

“Everybody knows the mouth is connected to the body, but in 2000, the surgeon general provided his first-ever report on the state of oral health in America, and it was the first time in about a hundred years anyone had said out loud that the mouth is connected to the rest of the body and things that go on in the mouth affect the rest of the body,” he said.

For more information, please click here.


Passport and the American Heart Association Distribute CPR Anytime Kits around Appalachian Region

Soar logoPassport and the American Heart Association (AHA) are working together to create a new generation of lifesavers in eastern Kentucky.

In conjunction with SOAR (Shaping Our Appalachian Region), the AHA and PHP are giving away “CPR Anytime” kits in rural areas of Kentucky throughout the spring and summer of 2017. The groups will be working together to assure the kits are distributed to families and at-risk groups where CPR training will have the best opportunity of saving lives. 

“We are proud to be collaborating with the American Heart Association to provide these CPR Anytime kits to our friends at SOAR and share them all over the region,” said Jill Bell, Passport Vice President and Chief Communications Officer. “It is our mission to help improve the health and quality of life of all our members, and by working together, we can help all Kentuckians live healthier lives.”

The first distribution of these lifesaving kits was held March 16 at Union College at the SOAR Obesity and Diabetes Roundtable and representatives from PHP, as well as the AHA were in attendance. SOAR’s involvement in this program is in direct correlation with their mission to improve the quality of life and support all those working to achieve these goals in Appalachian Kentucky.

For more information, please click here. For more information about SOAR, please click here.


Passport Health Plan and Louisville Grows to Plant “South Points Food Forest” in Beechmont area on March 25

growsPassport Health Plan and Louisville Grows are planting the seeds for a healthier community in Louisville’s Beechmont neighborhood on Saturday, March 25, by installing a walk-by, free-to-all food forest on Bicknell Avenue, outside the Hope Community Farm.

Community members and volunteers are invited to come plant trees and bushes for the new “South Points Food Forest,” which will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 1400 Bicknell Avenue, near the intersection with Hazelwood Avenue.

“For too many Kentuckians, the greatest hardship they have to deal with in order to live a quality life is related to food. Too many people can’t afford to buy healthy foods, and too many people go to bed hungry every night,” said Jill Bell, Passport Health Plan Vice President and Chief Communications Officer. “That’s why we’re so proud to be working together with Louisville Grows to sponsor this Food Forest in Beechmont. Hopefully, the food produced here will help all community members improve their health and quality of life.”

The South Points Food Forest will be a community orchard that includes dwarf fruit trees (such as apple, pear, peach, apricot, nectarine, and plum), thornless berry bushes, pollinator-friendly plants, and clover cover crop. In order to address the need for easily accessible quality food, specifically fruits and vegetables high in nutrients, the South Points Food Forest will provide community members, gardeners, families, children, and anyone that walks by with fresh and organically grown fruit. Additionally, the South Points Food Forest is conveniently located next to Hazelwood Elementary School so children can walk to grab fruit during breaks or after school.

Community orchards, complete with educational signage detailing the type of tree and when to harvest, require minimal maintenance after installation and provide high yields of efficient and free harvests. Louisville Grows estimates an average of 2 bushels of fruit per tree and shrub at the South Points Food Forest, for a total of 200 bushels, or 8,000 pounds of free fruit per year, going into the hands and mouths of community members.

The Louisville metropolitan area ranks 12th nationwide among cities facing the most hardship. About one in four local households with children say they lacked money in the last 12 months to buy food, according to a Gallup poll of 176,000 households across the United States.

For more information about this event, please click here. For more information about Louisville Grows, please click here.

Compassionate Louisville Healthcare Constellation is Hosting the First U.S. Healthcare Leadership School

Louisville’s commitment to compassion in healthcare extends beyond the region.

One example of the reach of this commitment is Compassionate Louisville Healthcare Constellation’s announcement that it will be hosting North America’s very first Healthcare Leadership School (HLS) for emerging health care leaders from around the globe in June 2017.

HLS is a weeklong immersion that mobilizes the next generation of healthcare leaders to catalyze compassionate change for the health of the communities they’re called to serve. Started four years ago by a group of international medical students, HLS has already reached hundreds of young professionals through programs sponsored in the Netherlands, South Africa and Portugal.

The HLS experience is filled with interactive lectures, group collaborations and exercises that boost personal and professional growth, leadership skills and connections that allow participants to emerge as the inspired, courageous and resilient leaders that are needed to transform health in our communities and the world. The rich curriculum is delivered by peers, seasoned teachers and wisdom practitioners.

The HLS-Louisville Organizing Team has reserved 20 participant slots for students and emerging health care leaders from Louisville to join international participants from more than a dozen countries. The team’s vision is for the HLS experience to inspire ongoing collaboration, so our future leaders are even better prepared to work together to make compassion the driving force of every Louisvillian’s experience with our health care system.

For more information, please click here.


Passport collaborates with other Safety Net Health Plans to help lower risk for Substance Use Disorders among youth

Passport Health Plan is one of seven Safety Net Health Plans from around the country that have committed to a joint three-year learning project that will help increase the identification of youth who are at risk for substance use disorders.

The project, led by the Center for Health Care Strategies in partnership with the Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP), will make extensive use of the SBIRT model, which stands for Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment.

SBIRT is an evidence-based approach for identifying patients who are at risk for abuse of alcohol and other drugs, and it is intended to identify not only patients who have substance use disorders but also those who are at high risk for developing such a disorder and reducing their level of risk.

The collaborative, made possible by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, consists of seven health plans, each of which will pilot an SBIRT training project aimed at raising the awareness of substance use disorders among youth, and fortify these providers’ abilities to screen, intervene, and refer to treatment as needed.

The project that Passport has developed for the effort involves expanding the number of adolescents screened annually for substance use disorder, since many teens begin experimenting with substances during adolescence. Passport will develop regional trainings for providers to teach them how to implement SBIRT, and will also develop webinars for providers to complete training in their home communities, complete with continuing education for providers who participate in the training. Passport will also work with our providers to break down any barriers to coordinating care for our members who endorse positive symptoms.

“Passport recognizes that substance use disorders are a huge public health crisis in the Commonwealth,” said Elizabeth W. McKune, Ed.D., Director of Behavioral Health for Passport Health Plan. “We are working closely with our providers and the Kentucky Department of Medicaid Services to increase the number of adolescents screened for potential problems with substances and teach them where they can go should they begin having problems with substances in the future.”

For more information, please click here.


Finding a ‘medical home’ is an important step toward better health

Insider Louisville LogoThere are thousands of Kentuckians who have benefited from changes in health care policy, with the result being that many who never had a primary care physician now have the ability to see a doctor on a routine basis. They can also avoid a rush to the emergency room every time they’re sick.

However, the benefit of having access to health care is only valuable if people know how to put it to use. The reality for some people is that they don’t know what steps to take once they get health insurance. For many, one of the first steps is to choose a primary care physician and establish a “medical home” — which is a doctor who knows you, your family history and your lifestyle habits. Building this relationship can help keep people out of the emergency room and on a path of prevention from major illness.

“The way medicine should work is that patients should have a medical home, a place where people know them and they go to with some regularity,” says Dr. Steve Roszell, a family practice physician with Norton Healthcare, in a Passport-sponsored article in Insider Louisville. “I spend most of my day developing a good relationship and trust with patients so that when they come to me with a problem I can reassure them that I’m not worried about this, this is going to be fine, and because we know each other, why don’t we talk again next week.”

To read more, and to see a video highlighting this issue, please click here.


U.S. uninsured rate hits another record low, at just 8.8 percent without health insurance

NHIS LogoThe nation’s uninsured rate dipped slightly to 8.8 percent between January and September 2016, down from 9.1 percent the year before, according to the latest National Health Interview Survey data.

According to the report, in the first 9 months of 2016, 28.2 million people of all ages were uninsured at the time of interview, 20.4 million fewer than in 2010. Also, Hispanic adults saw the greatest gains, but remain biggest opportunity – only 24.7 percent of Hispanics were uninsured in the first nine months of 2016, down from more than 40 percent in 2013.

In Kentucky, just 6.5 person of people were uninsured at the time they were interviewed, while 46.7 percent said that they had public health plan coverage (such as Medicaid or Medicare) during the nine-month period and 57.1 percent said they had private health insurance coverage during that timeframe.

This report from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) presents selected estimates of health insurance coverage for the civilian noninstitutionalized U.S. population based on data from the January-September 2016 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), along with comparable estimates from previous calendar years. This report is updated quarterly and is part of the NHIS Early Release (ER) Program, which releases updated selected estimates that are available from the NHIS website.


“A Commitment to Compassion” luncheon sponsored by Passport honors six Louisville health care professionals

Insider Louisville LogoThe second annual “A Commitment to Compassion” luncheon was held on Tuesday, Feb. 7, to recognize and honor dedicated health care professionals who exemplify true compassion in the workplace.

The event, at the Muhammad Ali Center in downtown Louisville, was co-sponsored by Passport Health Plan, Compassionate Louisville and Insider Louisville.

Jean West, Executive Director of Communications for the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, served as emcee for the event, which honored six people who go above and beyond their job duties to extend needed consideration, kindness and compassion to patients, their colleagues and the broader community. They are:

  • Betty J. Adkins, Community Resource Development Manager at Louisville Metro Department of Health and Public Wellness
  • Lisa Benner, Transformation Coach at ChooseWell Communities
  • Sarah Daniel, Nurse Practitioner with MD2U
  • Mary Haynes, President and CEO of Nazareth Home
  • Diane Riff, Assistant Professor and Family Nurse Practitioner, UofL School of Nursing
  • Jonathan Sayat, M.D., Pediatrician and Associate Professor with UofL Physicians

In addition to recognizing these outstanding individuals, the luncheon honored one organization — Cedar Lake — for their active celebration of compassion. Cedar Lake is a private not-for-profit organization that serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

For more information, please click here.


Passport names Dr. Christian Furman and Douglas Winkelhake to Board of Directors

Passport has announced the appointments of Christian Furman, M.D., and Douglas A. Winkelhake to its Board of Directors, effective Feb. 2, 2017.

Dr. Furman has been a professor in the University of Louisville’s Department of Family and Geriatric Medicine since July 2013. She has served as Medical Director for the University’s Institute for Sustainable Health and Optimal Aging since 2016, as well as Administrative Director for the University’s Geriatric Evaluation & Treatment (GET) Program since 2010. She also holds the Margaret Dorward Smock Endowed Chair in Geriatric Medicine. She received a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Miami, and her M.D. from the University of Louisville.

Mr. Winkelhake is President of the Hospital Division for Norton Healthcare. Since joining Norton Healthcare in 1997, he served in numerous roles, most recently as President of Norton Brownsboro Hospital and interim Executive Director of Norton Neuroscience Institute. He is a native of Palatine, Ill., near Chicago. He earned a B.A. in political science and history from the University of Iowa, and a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Kentucky.

The Board includes membership from a variety of organizations and community leaders in both rural and urban areas. The Board is responsible for pursuing Passport’s goals and is accountable to the community for all the actions of and accountable to various regulatory agencies, including the Kentucky Department for Medicaid Services (DMS), the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and others.

For more information, please click here.


Kentuckians with lower incomes are much more likely to try e-cigarettes, new poll shows

foundation for a healthy KYDespite warnings that e-cigarettes can be harmful, nearly 40 percent of Kentuckians age 18-45 have tried an e-cig, according to the latest Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP). In fact, Kentuckians with lower incomes also were about 74 percent more likely to have tried vaping than those with higher incomes.

“Research suggests that e-cigs may be a gateway to using other forms of tobacco, and they can be just as harmful,” Ben Chandler, president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, said in a news release. “They expose users to toxic chemicals, including nicotine, which long has been proven to be addictive and responsible for a wide range of health issues. E-cigs are simply not a safe alternative to smoking, especially for young adults and nonsmokers.”

KHIP also asked opinions about the safety of e-cigarettes. About three in 10 Kentucky adults thought e-cigs were safer than tobacco cigarettes, and 19 percent thought they were less safe. A much larger proportion – 45 percent – thought there was no difference in safety between the two.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a report in December 2016 stating that the use of e-cigarettes by youth and young adults often leads to cigarette smoking, other tobacco use and nicotine addiction, with all the health dangers associated with nicotine addiction. The agency raised concerns that e-cig marketers have been using tactics that attract youth and young adults and said that the incidence of this age group trying e-cigs doubled from 2013 to 2014, the latest date for which data was available. The U.S. Surgeon General has called the rising use of e-cigarettes among young adults a “major public health problem.”

To see the full KHIP report on e-smoking, please click here.