BayMark faces resistance over plans to open downtown methadone clinic Wednesday, Aug 17 2016 

BayMark is proposing a methadone clinic in downtown office space at 708 Magazine St., where Seven Counties Services currently houses an addiction treatment program | Photo via Google Maps

A proposed downtown methadone clinic continues to face heavy opposition, with most of the criticism coming from employees of regional behavioral health care provider Seven Counties Services, which already houses an opioid addiction treatment program in the same building. But despite concerns about the appropriateness of the clinic’s location and model of treatment, the Texas-based company behind the proposal intends […]

Jewish Hospital explains guiding principles, recent feats and new initiatives Wednesday, Aug 17 2016 

jewish-hospital

Jewish Hospital was founded in Louisville in 1903 under the guiding principle of tikkun olam, an ancient Hebrew phrase that means “healing of the world.” “According to the Bible, it refers to Jews as being charged to partner with God in mending this world that is not yet whole,” says Rabbi Dr. Nadia Siritsky, vice […]

Norton awards $1.5 million health services grant to Bellarmine University Monday, Aug 15 2016 

Bellarmine University

Norton Healthcare has awarded a $1.5 million grant to Bellarmine University to support existing and expanding health programs on campus. The five-year grant — distributed in five $300,000 increments — will help fund the Lansing School of Nursing and Health Sciences, as well as expansion of the school’s sports medicine program. As the university’s athletics program continues to grow, some of the […]

Norton to remove ‘Kosair’ name from children’s hospital within six months Thursday, Aug 11 2016 

Norton Healthcare owns Kosair Children’s Hospital, which is supported in part by Kosair Charities.

Kosair Charities and Norton Healthcare said they will remove the “Kosair” name from the children’s hospital within six months but are declining to release details about the settlement agreement that has ended their contentious legal battle. Kosair Children’s Hospital was created in 1981 when Kosair Crippled Children’s Hospital and Norton Children’s Hospital joined forces. In 2006, […]

Justice Department vs. Aetna-Humana trial set for Dec. 5 Wednesday, Aug 10 2016 

Humana horizontal

Humana and Aetna are scheduled to defend their merger in court beginning on Dec. 5, according to a report by Bloomberg. That puts the companies on a tight deadline to complete their deal. The companies plan to close the transaction before the end of the year. Health insurer Aetna, based in Hartford, Conn., wants to […]

Seven Counties plans to sell downtown HQ, relocate to East End Monday, Aug 8 2016 

Seven Counties

Citing a downtown real estate market boom and space limitations of their current office, Seven Counties Services CEO Tony Zipple told staff in an email last week that they are putting their headquarters up for sale and are close to signing a lease for new space east of St. Matthews. Zipple told staff of the […]

Study: More Kentuckians Sought Care After Medicaid Expansion Monday, Aug 8 2016 

After the state expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act in 2014, low-income Kentuckians made fewer trips to the emergency room, had less trouble paying medical bills, received a checkup and sought help for chronic conditions. That’s according to a new study released Monday from the Harvard Chan School of Public Health.

Researchers surveyed almost 3,000 low-income Kentuckians in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Participants were asked about their coverage and about their health habits, including if they skipped doses of medication, had a personal doctor or had any emergency room visits in the past year.

In 2013, prior to the Medicaid expansion, 46.3 percent of Kentuckians surveyed said they had a checkup in the past year. Of those surveyed in 2015, after the expansion, that number increased to almost 59.8 percent. There was also a big jump in the number of people who said they had a primary physician after the expansion – from 56.6 percent to 71.7 percent.

Susan Zepeda, president of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, said this is good news.

“When health issues are identified early, the treatment is not only likely to be less expansive, but the outcomes are likely to be better,” Zepeda said.

Other key findings from the studies:

  • More people with chronic conditions, like diabetes, sought help. Up from 69.4 percent in 2013 to 78.6 percent in 2015.
  • Annual out-of-pocket spending decreased from $423 in 2013 to $318 in 2015.
  • In 2013, 42.7 percent of people had trouble paying medical bills. That number dropped to 27.4 percent in 2015.
  • In 2013, 9.3 percent of Kentuckians surveyed said they went to the emergency room when they were sick. That number decreased to 7.9 percent in 2015.
  • In 2013, 37 percent put off getting medication due to cost. In 2015, only 26 percent did.

Of those Kentuckians surveyed, 84 percent were white, 11 percent were black, 2 percent were Latino and 3 percent were listed as “other.” Forty-three percent had a high school diploma and 37 percent earned between $5,940 and $11,880 a year (50 to 100 percent of the federal poverty limit).

“All the things we hoped would happen because of the coverage people got is starting to show up, even in the first couple years of coverage,” said Jason Bailey of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy.

The results of the new study come as the Bevin administration is still sorting through comments on its proposed Medicaid expansion waiver. If approved as-is, it would put in place monthly premiums for individuals earning more than $11,880, copays for people earning less than the federal poverty limit and eliminate default vision and dental coverage for able-bodied adults. Bevin is proposing a ‘rewards’ account that would let people earn points toward those benefits.

“Adding increased costs for a population that is generally struggling financially – we’re talking about people whose incomes are generally below $10,000 — will very likely make it harder to get the care they need,” said Ben Sommers, a lead author of the study. “A lot of what’s being proposed —  I would worry would keep people from getting the care that they need.”

Medicaid expansion chartAlexandra Kanik | wfpl.org

Click image to enlarge

Aetna to lose $300 million on Obamacare business, pulls back on exchanges Tuesday, Aug 2 2016 

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Aetna is changing its mind on Obamacare — now that it is projecting it will lose $300 million on health exchanges this year. The health insurer’s CEO, Mark Bertolini, said today that the company has canceled plans to offer health insurance policies in more states next year, including Indiana. He also said the company is […]

Aetna, Humana announce asset sale to quell feds’ antitrust concerns Tuesday, Aug 2 2016 

Humana horizontal

Health insurers Aetna and Humana plan to sell $117 million worth of assets to a small competitor to help quell federal regulators’ concerns that their proposed merger would severely reduce competition. The companies said in a joint statement today that they had reached agreements to sell Medicare Advantage assets, including 290,000 customers in 21 states, to […]

Humana sues to recover millions from drug testing company Monday, Aug 1 2016 

Humana horizontal

Updated at 2:37 p.m. with Ameritox comments. Humana alleges in a lawsuit that a drug testing company has received millions of dollars from the insurer through claims that were fraudulent. Humana said Baltimore-based Ameritox engaged in a “fraudulent scheme … to improperly maximize profits” by filing claims with Humana to get reimbursed for urine drug […]

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