Federal government reapproves Kentucky HEALTH program for 2019

The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) has announced that the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has approved the Commonwealth’s Section 1115 Medicaid waiver known as Kentucky HEALTH (Helping to Engage and Achieve Long Term Health).

CMS provided guidance that the newly approved program can begin as soon April 1, 2019. Accordingly, the PATH (Partnering to Advance Training and Health) Community Engagement component will be rolled out regionally over several months beginning no sooner than April 1, 2019.

“Kentucky HEALTH offers a customized path based on individual needs that will help beneficiaries gain better health, engagement in their communities, improved
employability, and success through long-term independence,” CHFS Secretary Adam Meier said in a news release. “This individualized approach affords flexibility and procedural protections that will ensure Medicaid is able to provide beneficiaries access to services and opportunities, while utilizing a holistic approach to addressing barriers and challenges that affect overall health.”

Stay tuned to Inside Passport and be sure to check the official Kentucky HEALTH website for updates.

 

Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services continues to post updated resources on Kentucky HEALTH website

In an ongoing effort to keep all beneficiaries, stakeholders, and various partners up-to-date on the status of Medicaid and the Kentucky HEALTH program, the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) is continuing to post updated guidance and resources on the Kentucky HEALTH website.

All interested parties are encouraged to check out the Kentucky HEALTH Legal Decision Guide (for beneficiaries, providers, and partners), which was recently published on the Kentucky HEALTH website. This guide includes information about reinstated dental & vision benefits and non-emergency medical transportation, premium payments and reimbursements for Kentucky HEALTH, information about the impact of the legal decision on Medically Frail individuals, and more.

There has been a great deal of confusion and misinformation related to Kentucky HEALTH and coverage for Medicaid recipients. CHFS continues to remind people that benefits have not changed for pregnant women and children. Passport is collaborating with CHFS and working with providers and other community partners to address ongoing questions.

For other information related to Kentucky HEALTH, please visit KentuckyHEALTH.ky.gov and connect with CHFS on Twitter or Facebook.

 

Kentucky HEALTH kicks off on July 1 – Are you ready?

As you are likely aware, Kentucky has changed the way Medicaid works for some people. The state’s new program is called Kentucky HEALTH, which stands for “Helping to Engage and Achieve Long Term Health,” and it officially begins on July 1.

Kentucky HEALTH offers health insurance for certain low-income adults and their families, encouraging them to do things that lead to better health and well-being.

There are five main parts of the Kentucky HEALTH program – Cost Sharing, Community Engagement/PATH (“Partnering to Advance Training and Health), My Rewards Account, Deductible Account, and Education & Training – and not everyone on Medicaid will be affected by all of the changes.

Thankfully, Passport and the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) have created a number of resources to help you navigate these changes:

  • Passport has created “Your Guide to Kentucky HEALTH,” a guidebook that helps explain who is eligible for the different parts of Kentucky HEALTH and what their obligations will be. This information is available online at passporthealthplan.com/together.
  • Passport is also hosting a number of Member Education sessions all across Kentucky to help members understand how Kentucky HEALTH will affect them. The list of dates, times, and locations is available online at http://passporthealthplan.com/member-education-and-outreach.
  • Passport has also created educational information for the healthcare providers in our network, including a “Quick Reference Guide” book that details the changes and a series of eNews This information is available online by clicking here.
  • CHFS has produced an extensive website at kentuckyhealth.ky.gov that is filled with resources for individuals, providers, business, and community partners. These include toolkits, FAQs, pamphlets, videos, and more.

Passport members with questions should call the Passport Member Services department at 1-800-578-0603, and providers can call Passport at (502) 585-7900. More information is also available through social media, so be sure to follow both Passport and Kentucky HEALTH on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Medicaid Members Should Check the Mailbox for Important Information About Kentucky HEALTH

KY Health NoticeThe Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) Department for Medicaid Services (DMS) has produced a postcard and is distributing it to households around Kentucky via mail and email that contain a current Medicaid member who may potentially be eligible for Kentucky HEALTH, the new health and well-being program for certain low-income adults and their families.

The announcement says:

You may have heard that Kentucky is changing the way Medicaid works. Kentucky HEALTH encourages and supports activities that lead to better health and well-being.
Please visit kentuckyhealth.ky.gov to see if you’re eligible for this new program that starts in 2018. If you are eligible, you can customize your own path to better health and success.
Also, you can start earning rewards as of January 2018!
Watch your mailbox! You will get more information in the mail before anything changes.

For more information, please go online to the kentuckyhealth.ky.gov  website, or you can call 1-855-459-6328 to find an in-person assister trained on Kentucky HEALTH in your area.

Also, any Kentucky Medicaid member who has recently moved should log in Benefind at benefind.ky.gov or call 1-855-306-8959 to update their mailing address so they do not miss any important information.

 

Public Health Department Says More Than 100 People Have Died During the Current Flu Epidemic

The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH), within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), says that the state just topped 100 flu-related deaths from the flu epidemic, with at least four of those being pediatric cases.

“Tragically, the influenza virus has claimed the lives of 100 Kentuckians so far this season,” said Dr. Jeffrey D. Howard, Acting DPH commissioner. “During this time of widespread flu activity, we want to remind people to avoid contact with others if you have influenza or an influenza-like illness.  If you are sick, seek care from your healthcare provider early. Lastly, take appropriate measures to protect yourself such as washing your hands with soap and water.”

This season’s H3N2 strain of the flu virus can be extremely serious, even deadly, not just for those in higher risk categories but to generally healthy Kentuckians as well.

For more information, please click here. Also, Kentucky reports weekly to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s national flu surveillance system. That report is online and is updated each Friday before noon.

 

Kentucky Health Officials Say that Flu Activity is an ‘Epidemic’ Around the State

The Kentucky Department for Public Health, within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), is now saying that influenza activity in Kentucky is an “epidemic,” meaning that this season’s strain of the flu virus can be extremely serious, even deadly, not just for those in higher risk categories but to generally healthy Kentuckians as well.

Kentucky is in its sixth consecutive week of widespread flu activity which is the highest level of flu activity and indicates increased flu-like activity or flu outbreaks in at least half of the regions in the state, according to a news release.

“Widespread influenza activity means that Kentuckians are likely to encounter one or more persons shedding influenza virus at work, at school, while shopping, while traveling, at athletic or entertainment events, and in places of worship,” said the Acting Department for Public Health Commissioner Dr. Jeffrey D. Howard. “A person who will develop influenza illness actually can transmit the virus to other persons beginning one day before their illness begins.”

Health officials are inviting the public to participate in a Facebook Live discussion about the flu on the CHFS Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/kychfs/) at 6 p.m. Eastern, 5 p.m. Central on Thursday, January 25. People can submit flu-related questions beforehand to chfs.communications@ky.gov or post their question in the comments section during the event.

For more information, including tips to help prevent the spread of the flu, please click here.

 

Kentucky Cabinet provides updated information about KY HEALTH program

KY Health NoticeWe are still waiting for official word from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) about Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin’s Section 1115 waiver application proposal, known as KY HEALTH (Helping to Engage and Achieve Long Term Health).

In the meantime, the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) Department for Medicaid Services (DMS) has produced a “Kentucky HEALTH Quick Facts”one-pager for all Kentuckians. It is available online on the Kentucky HEALTH website under “additional information.” Also available online is the updated Kentucky HEALTH Overview Presentation and a quick reference Kentucky HEALTH Eligibility Summary.

 

 

Kentucky officials raise flu level to ‘widespread’ for the state

Kentucky Unbridled Spirit logoThe Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH), which is part of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), has raised the flu level in the state from “regional” to “widespread,” which is the highest level of flu activity, indicating increased flu-like activity or flu outbreaks in at least half of the regions in the state.

“With widespread flu activity reported in Kentucky, now is a good time to protect yourself and your family by getting a flu shot”, DPH Commissioner Hiram C. Polk, Jr., M.D., said in a news release. “We urge anyone who hasn’t received a flu vaccine, particularly those at high risk for complications related to the flu, to check with local health departments or other providers.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends flu vaccine for all individuals six months of age and older. However, the nasal spray flu vaccine should not be used because it has been shown to be ineffective.

People who are strongly encouraged to receive the flu vaccine because they may be at higher risk for complications or negative consequences include:

  • Children age 6 months through 59 months
  • Women who are or will be pregnant during the influenza season
  • People age 50 or older
  • People with extreme obesity (Body Mass Index of 40 or greater)
  • People age 6 months and older with chronic health problems
  • Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  • Household contacts (including children) and caregivers of children younger than age 5
  • Household contacts and caregivers or people who live with a person at high-risk for complications from the flu
  • Health care workers, including physicians, nurses, and other workers in inpatient and outpatient-care settings, medical emergency-response workers (e.g., paramedics and emergency medical technicians), employees of nursing home and long-term care facilities who have contact with patients or residents, and students in these professions who will have contact with patients

“You should also follow the advice your parents gave you to prevent flu and other illnesses that tend to circulate at this time of year – wash your hands frequently, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze and stay home when you’re sick,” concluded CHFS Secretary Vickie Yates Brown Gilsson.

For more information on influenza or the availability of flu vaccine, please contact your local health department or visit http://healthalerts.ky.gov.

 

Governor Bevin officially submits Kentucky HEALTH 1115 waiver proposal to federal government

kyhealthGovernor Matt Bevin has officially submitted the comprehensive “Kentucky HEALTH” proposal – which would transform Kentucky’s Medicaid program – to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

According to a news release, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) announced a comprehensive Section 1115 waiver application proposal for Kentucky that is Helping to Engage and Achieve Long Term Health (HEALTH) as a first step towards the implementation of the plan.

The full Kentucky HEALTH Waiver is available for review by clicking here, and the official federal comment period is expected to begin in early September.

Yes, the Kentucky State Fair really can be a healthy place, if you know where to look

Insider Louisville LogoThe Kentucky State Fair is famous for its world championship horse show, its Midway rides, and, of course, a menu that includes a donut cheeseburger and deep-fried Derby Pie.

It’s also become one of the healthiest places for Kentuckians, thanks to the Health Horizons section of the South Wing. In a single visit to Health Horizons, fair-goers can get a number of free health screenings, checks on key health indicators, and even pick up some great tips about ways to stay healthy, according to the latest Passport-sponsored article on Insider Louisville.

The Kentucky State Fair continues through Sunday, Aug. 28. The Health Horizons exhibits are open nightly until 9 p.m. (and until 10 p.m. this Friday and Saturday).

The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) is a key sponsor of Health Horizons, and encourages fair-goers to spend some time on their health while at the Fair. CHFS Secretary Vicky Yates Brown Glisson said the 10-day event proves to be a great opportunity for Kentuckians to get checked out and learn some important health tips.

For more information, please click here.