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.

 

State launches new assistance application portal called ‘benefind’ where residents can apply for Medicaid, KCHIP, and more

Kentucky Unbridled Spirit logoThe Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) has launched a new self-service web portal where citizens can easily apply for Medicaid, along with other forms of assistance.

The online service, called “benefind,” is the access point for Kentuckians to apply for the Kentucky Children’s Health Insurance Program (KCHIP); the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food benefits; the Kentucky Transitional Assistance Program (KTAP), also known as cash assistance; Medicaid; and other programs.

“With a one-stop spot like benefind, families across the Commonwealth can create an account and access it 24/7,” CHFS Secretary Vickie Yates Brown Glisson said in a news release. “For customers and eligibility staff, benefind is truly modernizing the registration and data management process.”

Through benefind, residents can also renew benefits, check benefit amounts, report changes, upload verification documents, check claim status, make claim payments, and receive electronic notices.

The service launched Monday, Feb. 29, and is available at benefind.ky.gov.

Customers can still apply for services by phone (1-855-306-8959), by visiting their local DCBS office, or submitting paper applications by mail (DCBS Family Support, P.O. Box 2104, Frankfort, KY 40602) or fax (502-573-2007).

 

Carter County officials talk about need for suicide prevention during recent workshop

suicide prevention life line logoKentucky is one of the top 20 states for suicide, with nearly 700 Kentuckians taking their own lives each year, according to the latest confirmed figures available.

However, suicide is often considered a taboo subject, rarely addressed publicly by elected officials, other community leaders and the news media.

That changed recently in Carter County, when Sheriff Jeff May and state Rep. Jill York of Grayson collaborated with County Judge-Executive Mike Malone for a recent suicide-prevention workshop.

Rep. York told Kentucky Health News that officials need “to step forward and be able to pull the resources together and throw the push behind it … to say, we’re going to talk about this even if it’s uncomfortable because it’s important, because we’ve got lives we’ve got to save. Stop being polite, stop letting it be something that we don’t talk about. To say, if we are losing one person in our community to this, then that is too many.”

The workshop was led by local experts on mental health from nearby universities, Pathways Inc., and the Kentucky Suicide Prevention Group.

For 24/7 assistance and information about local resources or clinicians equipped to deal with suicidal patients, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at (800) 273-TALK (8255). To contact the Kentucky Suicide Prevention Group, call (859) 429-1930 or email kspginc@gmail.com. More information is also available on the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) Suicide Prevention Program website by clicking here.

 

Stephen Miller of Louisville named Commissioner of Department of Medicaid Services (DMS)

Kentucky capitolStephen P. Miller, CPA, has been named Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Medicaid Services (DMS).

“As we work to redesign the Medicaid program and transition it to a more affordable, sustainable model tailored to Kentucky’s needs, it is important to have someone with a deep understanding of the healthcare industry leading the Department of Medicaid,” Gov. Matt Bevin said in a release. “The Commonwealth is fortunate to have someone of Stephen Miller’s caliber, financial acumen, and business experience willing to serve in this role.”

“As a CPA with more than two decades of financial management experience in a healthcare environment, I believe Steve is an excellent choice to lead the Department for Medicaid Services,” said Vickie Yates Brown Glisson, Secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS). “Steve will be a tremendous asset to both the Governor and the Cabinet as we seek to address the financial unsustainability of the current Medicaid model in a way that will improve health outcomes for its members and save taxpayer dollars.”

Miller has spent the past 24 years as Vice President of Finance with the Kentucky Hospital Association (KHA), where he assisted in the development of KHA’s position on pending legislation and monitoring federal and state reimbursement issues. In his role, Miller interacted with Medicaid and Cabinet leadership on many issues related to hospital reimbursement and regulatory issues.

“I look forward to heading the agency that provides the safety net for the most vulnerable of Kentucky citizens,” said Miller.

Miller is a graduate of the University of Louisville, where he received a Bachelor’s degree in accounting. He and his wife Mary, along with their two married daughters live in Louisville.

 

State Announces Slate of 2015 Medicaid/MCO Provider Forums

KentuckyThe Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) has announced  the dates and locations for the five (5) Medicaid/Managed Care Provider Forums they will be hosting this year. They will be:

  • August 5 in Somerset
  • August 7 in Morehead
  • August 12 in Louisville
  • August 26 in Hopkinsville
  • September 2 in Erlanger

At each event, there will be an update on the Kentucky Medicaid system, information provided related to Behavioral Health and Public Health, and breakout sessions where attendees can speak directly with representatives of all Medicaid providers, MCOs, and Behavioral Health experts.

“These forums are designed to allow all health care providers, including behavioral health and substance use providers, with MCO contracts and serving Medicaid consumers to meet face to face and discuss concerns about proper billing, prior authorizations, prompt pay, appeals processes and other issues related to the continued implementation of managed care,” according to a statement on the CHFS website.

The Cabinet encourages pre-registration five days in advance of the forum you wish to attend, but people may register on-site on the day of the forum. Senior-level staff from each managed care organization (including Passport), DMS, and the Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities will attend.

To read the official announcement on the CHFS website, click here. To read the letter that Department for Medicaid Services (DMS) Commissioner Lisa Lee sent to all Medicaid providers, including Passport, click here.