Kentucky DMS posts Medicaid Address Change Form online for members who need it

Kentucky Unbridled Spirit logoThe Kentucky Department for Medicaid Services (DMS) has posted a Medicaid Change of Address form online for any Kentucky Medicaid member who needs to update their home address. The form is available by clicking here.

If DMS receives any returned mail from an address that is not current, members could be dis-enrolled from Passport (and lose all of their Passport-specific benefits). However, if this happens, the member will NOT lose their overall Medicaid eligibility; instead, they will remain eligible for Kentucky Medicaid and will be in the fee-for-service (FFS) category until their address is updated.​

If an address appears incorrect, the member will have the remainder of that month plus another month to update the address.

To update their address, the Kentucky Medicaid member just needs to print out the form, fill it out, sign it and either fax it to 1-502-573-2005 or send it by regular mail to Centralized Mail, PO Box 2104, Frankfort, KY 40601.

 

National Foster Care Month shines spotlight on 400,000 youth who need assistance

May is National Foster Care Month, when we pay special attention to the more than 400,000 children and youth in foster care. There’s an overwhelming need for individuals, families, and communities to become involved as foster parents, respite providers, volunteers, or mentors of children who need an adult role model.

Passport works very closely with the Kentucky Department of Community Based Services (DCBS) to help increase the adoption or placement of children in DCBS custody. DCBS Commissioner Adria Johnson recently said that DCBS moved children 5,558 times last year.

The National Foster Care Month website is full of resources to help support children, youth, and their families, especially those involved in foster care. Some ways to help include the following:

  • Becoming a foster parent
  • Volunteering as a court appointed special advocate (CASA) for children
  • Being a mentor or “supportive adult” in a youth’s life
  • Joining or hosting a fundraising event
  • Donating services, goods, computers, etc. to older youth in foster care
  • Lending a hand to help current foster parents and caregivers with their day-to-day needs

Visit the section dedicated to communities and take the opportunity to learn more about how to become a foster parent or find other ways to contribute to the positive development of children and youth involved with foster care. You can also join Passport on the National Foster Care Month Campaign Facebook page, which is open to all individuals, organizations, groups, or agencies with an interest in foster care. The page is your place to share, learn, and promote events, resources, stories, and photos celebrating National Foster Care Month.

For more information, contact Child Welfare Information Gateway at NFCM@childwelfare.gov or call (800) 394-3366.

 

March of Dimes and others continue to help women reduce risk factors of premature births

HopeEvery expectant mother has an ideal vision of the birthing process, one that results in her holding her newborn in her hospital room with family gathered around.

But the reality is that premature births happen — and in Kentucky they happen at a rate 2 percent higher than the national average. When a baby is born prior to the 37th week of pregnancy, it is considered premature. There’s no official cause of premature birth, and the March of Dimes spends millions of dollars on research to determine ways to help mothers carry babies to full term births.

“The cause of premature birth is unknown,” Ryan Burt, Wellness Manager at Passport Health Plan, said in an Insider Louisville article. “There are certain risk factors that can lead to premature birth and we can tell women to be sure to lower their risk, but the actual reason is still unknown.”

To read more about this, please click here. To register for the March of Dimes’ biggest annual fund-raiser, the Greater Louisville March for Babies, on Saturday, May 13 on the Big Four Lawn at Waterfront Park, please click here.

 

Healthcare Leadership School Co-Founder Explains How Compassionate Program Was Formed

Insider Louisville LogoHanaâ Benjeddi is one of the founders of Healthcare Leadership School (HLS), an international organization that ignites the passions of the next generation of compassionate healthcare leaders.

Ahead of North America’s first HLS, which is cosponsored by Compassionate Louisville’s Healthcare Constellation and the University of Louisville School of Medicine and will be held June 10-18 in Leitchfield, Kentucky, Dr. Benjeddi looks back on how the organization came to be:

In 2011, a group of like-minded and ambitious medical students gathered and agreed that the current healthcare system was far from where they envisioned it. They realized that in order to change things, they, as a next generation of healthcare workers, must embody the change so that they can be living examples of our values. And so, HLS was born.

The first edition took place in The Netherlands and gathered 64 participants and 20 trainers, as well as speakers and volunteers. Through a public invitation in which hundreds of students were mobilized, they featured Dr. Patch Adams to the first edition as a doctor who truly walked his talk and served as an example of a different kind of working as a physician.

Two more editions followed in 2013 (The Netherlands again) and 2015 (South Africa), and now the organization is coming to the United States to meet in Kentucky in June. All in all, nearly five hundred students and young professionals from over 44 different countries have been a part of the Healthcare Leadership School community and now form a network of compassionate leaders poised to be the change they envision for the health of their own communities.

To read more, please click here. For more information on HLS-Louisville, please visit the Humans of Health website.

 

Passport and American Diabetes Association encourage all Kentuckians to take part in Diabetes Alert Day

ADA-passport-logoAre you at risk for developing diabetes? The American Diabetes Association and Passport Health Plan are asking all Kentuckians to take the Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test in honor of all the Association’s annual Alert Day set for Tuesday, March 28, 2017.

Alert Day is a day to sound the alarm about the prevalence of type 2 diabetes across Kentucky and our country.

Companies and/or organizations interested in participating in Alert Day can download the complete e-toolkit by visiting WellLivesHere.org.

The following locations in Lexington will have screenings on Alert Day, March 28, from 10 am to 2 pm:

  • Walmart – 4051 Nicholasville Road
  • Walmart North Park Marketplace – 500 New Circle Road

Paper type 2 diabetes risk tests and other diabetes materials will also be available on Alert Day from 10 am to 2 pm at the following locations:

  • Walmart- 112 Osbourne Way, Georgetown
  • Walmart- 2350 Grey Lag Way, Lexington

The following locations in Louisville will have screenings on Alert Day from 9 am to 2 pm:

  • Neighborhood Place Ujima – 3610 Bohne Ave.
  • Neighborhood Place Charmoli – 200 Juneau Drive, Suite 200
  • Neighborhood Place3 South Central – 4255 Hazelwood Ave.
  • Neighborhood Place South Jefferson/Fairdale – 1000 Neighborhood Place
  • Family Health Centers Portland – 2215 Portland Ave.

For more information, 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.

 

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.

 

Rural areas saw greatest increase in access to healthcare under Medicaid Expansion, according to Indiana University study

Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act greatly increased access to health care for Americans, especially in rural areas, says an Indiana University study published in The Journal of Rural Health.

Researchers, who used data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey from 2011-15, found that expansion “increased the probability of Medicaid coverage for targeted populations in rural and urban areas, with a significantly greater increase in rural areas, but some of these gains were offset by reductions in individual purchased insurance among rural populations,” according to a Kentucky Health News article.

Medicaid covered almost 636,000 adult Kentuckians in the second quarter of this year, with the great majority of enrollees covered under Medicaid expansion and almost half of them young adults, according to a report done for the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. The report found that 493,199, or 78 percent, of the 635,747 adults covered by Medicaid in Kentucky were covered by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s expansion of the program to those who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. The remaining 142,548 were covered by traditional Medicaid.

IU researchers found that Medicaid expansion increased the probability that low-income people would have health coverage, and it increased Medicaid coverage more in rural areas than in cities. There was some evidence that in rural areas, the expansion was accompanied by some shifting from individually purchased insurance to Medicaid.

 

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.

 

Kentucky ranks 49th in seniors’ well-being, new survey shows

WellBeingFor the seventh year in a row, Kentucky has been ranked as the second-lowest state when it comes to the well-being of people aged 55 and older, beating out only West Virginia.

The rankings  are part of the 2015 Gallup-Healthways State of American Well-Being series. Kentucky’s “well-being index score” was 61.2, ranking just ahead of West Virginia (59.9) and just below Oklahoma (62.0), Ohio (62.5), Indiana and Vermont (62.7 each). The score is calculated on a scale of 0 to 100, with 100 being the best. Hawaii ranked No. 1, with a score of 67.0.

The analysis ranks states according to five different measures of well-being for seniors and then ranks them based on the overall score. Those measures (with Kentucky’s ranks noted in parentheses) are:

  • Purpose: Liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals (48)
  • Social: Having supportive relationships and love in your life (46)
  • Financial: Managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security (41)
  • Community: Liking where you live, feeling safe and having pride in your community (40)
  • Physical: Having good health and enough energy to get things done daily (49)

James Kimbrough, president of AARP Kentucky, told Darla Carter of The Courier-Journal that he thought the problem was rooted in poor eating habits and a lack of physical activity and said he would like to see state’s legislative leaders be public role models in these areas.

“The healthiest states in the country have a culture of encouraging people to exercise, to be outdoors, to not sit in front of the TVs,” he said.