Passport Works with Federal and State Officials, Along with Military Reserves and Kentucky Air National Guard, to Provide Free Health Clinics in Eastern Kentucky

Passport is joining the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Military’s reserve forces, along with the Kentucky Department for Local Government and the Kentucky Air National Guard, to present a series of health clinics in Eastern Kentucky that are open to all.

The program, dubbed “Operation Bobcat Medical IRT,” features clinics that will provide medical screenings, dental exams, and optical exams at no cost. IRT stands for Innovative Readiness Training.

The clinics will take place from June 15 to June 24 and be located at four Eastern Kentucky high schools – Breathitt County High, Estill County High, Lee County High, and Owsley County High. The clinics will take place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

The clinics are for people ages 2 and up, and operate on a first-come-first-served basis. No proof of insurance or identification is needed to be seen.

A Passport representative will be in attendance at every clinic (except for the Sunday clinics) to answer questions about Passport, the Kentucky HEALTH program, or anything else that is needed.

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 brings Health and Resource Fair to Eastern Kentucky on October 24

Rural Health Fair graphicPassport Health Plan is co-sponsoring a Health and Resource Fair on Monday, October 24, in Eastern Kentucky.

The event, which will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., will take place at the UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health, 750 Morton Blvd., in Hazard. It is free of charge and no registration is required. You do not need to be a Passport member to attend.

There will be a number of different vendors at the event, offering health screenings and educational information about resources that are available in the community to help people live healthier lives.

There will also be entertainment, refreshments, and much more!


Passport co-sponsors SOAR Hackathon for teams to find solutions to health problems in Appalachia

Soar logoHigh school students in Eastern Kentucky will have the opportunity to work alongside researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, thanks to Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR), Passport Health Plan, and the Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative (KVEC).

Students from Pikeville, Paintsville and Whitesburg will participate virtually in the first-ever Appalachian Health Hackathon, scheduled in Somerset at The Center for Rural Development from October 6-8.

Students will work with their teachers, KVEC staff and local subject-matter experts – alongside more than 150 medical professionals, engineers, social workers and entrepreneurs gathered in Somerset – to solve healthcare challenges in Appalachia.

“The Hackathon is part of a larger health initiative that fits with SOAR’s mission of bringing experts together to find solutions to larger problems facing Kentucky’s Appalachia,” said Jared Arnett, executive director of SOAR. “Engaging students in this mission is critical. We not only will be opening up the world to these students, but we will be bringing the world to them.”

Passport will provide two prizes to the team that can best answer these challenges:

  • How can we improve pain management among the Medicaid population – both before and after people receive prescriptions for medicine that could potentially lead to inappropriate use and/or abuse?
  • How can we improve the A1c screening rates for diabetes (and other diabetes-related screening rates) among the Medicaid population?

“Passport Health Plan is pleased to be a founding partner of the SOAR initiative,” said Passport CEO Mark B. Carter. “We are dedicated to working together for a healthier Kentucky, and we have a special commitment to Eastern Kentucky. Through innovation and combined expertise found from events like this hackathon, we will build a healthier future for all Kentuckians. Thanks to all who are participating in this exciting event.”

The event, sponsored by SOAR and facilitated by MIT, is free.  Those wanting to participant should register as soon as possible at because space is limited. For more information, please click here.


Kentucky Oral Health Coalition hosts meeting in Hazard to increase dental awareness

KOHC logoThe Kentucky Oral Health Coalition and its members – including Passport Health Plan – will host a regional oral health meeting on July 29 in Hazard to increase dental awareness and develop strategies to address the widespread dental-access issues in Eastern Kentucky, says the Kentucky Rural Health Association.

This is the third of four regional meetings this year, welcoming local policymakers, health advocates, health professionals, educators and students.

Dr. Daria “Nikki” Stone, associate professor at the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry and director of the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile program in Hazard, will speak at the convening about the dental status of the Eastern Kentucky region, according to Kentucky Health News.

The meeting will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, July 29, at the University of Kentucky Center for Excellence in Rural Health in Hazard. It is free and open to the public, but registration is suggested. Click here to register.

For more information about KOHC, go online to


Big Sandy Diabetes Coalition works to stem disease in Eastern Kentucky

BSDC LogoThe Big Sandy Diabetes Coalition (BSDC) in Eastern Kentucky works to help the communities it serves take responsibility for ensuring quality systems of diabetes prevention and care are accessible and utilized by its citizens.

Passport is a proud sponsor and supporter of this coalition, which serves the Big Sandy Area Development District, which includes Floyd, Johnson, Magoffin, Martin, and Pike counties in Eastern Kentucky. Its goal is to decrease the incidence, morbidity, and mortality of diabetes in these counties.

Toward these goals, the coalition held health fairs throughout the fall that offered diabetes screening and outreach programs. The fairs were a community effort, involving local hospitals, health departments, universities, colleges, and Medicaid managed-care organizations (MCOs) such as Passport.

Diabetes is more prevalent in Eastern Kentucky than in any other area of the state – the area served by the BSDC has a diabetes rate of 15.2 percent, compared to 10.6 percent statewide. Diabetes is the leading cause of amputations, blindness, and kidney failure, which often leads to dialysis.

Overall, Kentucky’s Appalachian diabetes rate is 13.6 percent, according to the 2015 Kentucky Diabetes Report. And the total cost of diabetes in Kentucky for 2015 is estimated to be $5.6 billion, according to the Kentucky Diabetes Data and Forecasts.

The BSDC meets bi-monthly on the last Thursday of the month and is open to anyone interested in joining the group. For meeting information, please contact Brittany Martin at 606 886-8546 ext. 1109 or by sending an email to


Eastern Kentucky communities can apply for grants of up to $250,000 through new SOAR fund

SOAR logoThe executive board of the Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) organization has created the  Kentucky Appalachian Regional Development (KARD) fund to support work being done by Eastern Kentucky communities on job creation and retention, health and wellness, entrepreneurship, broadband deployment, workforce training, leadership development, economic diversity, and much more.

“We’re excited to see what our communities are doing to impact important community challenges like job growth and leadership training,” Jared Arnett, executive director of SOAR, said in a news release.  “Successful local initiatives can be replicated, and KARD grants are a good chance for the region to see what’s working.”

The state established KARD through a $2 million appropriation during the 2015 legislative session. SOAR is a homegrown movement in Eastern Kentucky that was created by Gov. Steve Beshear and Congressman Hal Rogers in 2013 to build on the strengths of the region and shore up its weaknesses. Passport Health Plan is a proud sponsor and partner in the SOAR initiative

“SOAR is designed to support locally-driven efforts to advance job development, workforce training, health access and other markers that enhance quality of life,” Governor Beshear said in the release.  “These KARD grants will give local programs a jump start toward making important community improvements.”

“The KARD fund gives SOAR the opportunity to support and invest in local projects that will create jobs and increase economic opportunities,” added Congressman Rogers. “This is a way for SOAR to help advance the vision of projects that will benefit the people of eastern Kentucky the most.”

Organizations can apply online at The first round of applications are due Dec. 18. The maximum grant amount is $250,000.


Passport Works with Hospitals to Bring GoNoodle Plus into More Elementary Schools Around Kentucky

Go Noodle LogoPassport is partnering with a pair of hospital systems to co-sponsor a new educational health program called GoNoodle Plus in elementary schools and homes throughout Kentucky, and will have a pair of events to officially kick off this partnership.

First, in Eastern Kentucky, Passport is joining with St. Claire Regional Medical Center to bring GoNoodle Plus into 10 counties: Bath, Carter, Elliott, Fleming, Lewis, Menifee, Montgomery, Morgan, Rowan, and Wolfe counties. The program has been used in the schools since the start of this school year, and the official kickoff and demonstration will be held on Tuesday, September 22, at McBrayer Elementary School in Morehead. Click here for more information.

And in Western Kentucky, Passport is expanding the partnership that it begun last year with Owensboro Health, growing beyond Daviess County and bringing GoNoodle into Hancock, Henderson, Hopkins, McLean, and Muhlenberg counties. A kickoff demonstration will be held on Wednesday, September 23, at Jesse Stuart Elementary School in Madisonville. Click here for more information.

GoNoodle Plus is an interactive resource used in classrooms to increase students’ physical activity and improve their academic performance and is being made available for use in public and private elementary schools, as well as in students’ homes. GoNoodle’s online physical activity breaks make it easy for teachers and parents to get kids moving, which helps improve their behavior, focus, and engagement. For more information, go online to