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July 3, 2018

More than 3,000 Kentucky kids are estimated to be living with diabetes

Having a support system can help children with Type 1 diabetes feel like they aren’t alone. (Photo from PNS via Twenty20)Having a support system can help children with Type 1 diabetes feel like they aren’t alone. (Photo from PNS via Twenty20)

A diagnosis of diabetes can be overwhelming, especially for a child. And a Kentucky program is working to provide emotional support for kids with Type 1 diabetes and their families.

The “Family Link” program is a collaboration of the American Diabetes Association in Kentucky and the UK HealthCare’s Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center. Dr. Laura Hieronymous, associate director of education and quality services at the center, said patients have a lot to figure out when they’re first diagnosed, including how to use insulin and properly monitor blood-glucose levels.

And as its name implies, Family Link connects families who are on the same journey.

“It’s very much a support system,” Hieronymous said. “If they meet other children and adolescents who have diabetes, they see that there are other people with the disease and that they can live healthy with it.”

Paula Gearheart of Richmond said she was a bit frightened when her son was first diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes – but some of that fear dissipated after meeting with other families in the program. Her son has even become a Family Link youth ambassador.

“My son doesn’t like other kids to know at school that he’s got ‘Type 1,’ so the majority of them have no idea. But he enjoys our outings and things because he’s just like everyone else, not different at all,” Gearheart said. “And being a youth ambassador has really boosted his self-esteem and his self-confidence.”

Heironymous said the most important thing for people with diabetes is to stay informed, and Family Link offers educational programming and service referrals for pediatric patients.

“Things change on a regular basis – new technology comes out, new medications come out, new guidelines,” Heironymous said. “And you really want to stay abreast of all that new information and the things that can potentially make life with diabetes more manageable.”

Family Link members also attend special outings during the year, including baseball games, fairs and picnics. She added they’re working to spread the word across the state so more families can get involved.

More information on Family Link is available at

By Mary Kuhlman
Public News Service


June 27, 2018

Some recipients who are able will need to complete 80 hours of employment, education or training, volunteering or caregiving per month

Kentucky HEALTH, the Commonwealth’s new program for certain able-bodied adults receiving Medicaid, begins on July 1, and several state agencies are working to make the transition as smooth as possible for those recipients.

“We have numerous print and digital resources now available that will help the people of the Commonwealth understand and take advantage of Kentucky’s new Medicaid program,” said Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) Secretary Adam Meier. “The Kentucky HEALTH website features a new eligibility tool that will help citizens determine which components of the program will apply to them. We also have pamphlets, guides and booklets available in state offices everywhere and available for download.”

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) and the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet (EWDC) have collaborated with local Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) offices and Kentucky Career Centers (KCCs) to make sure that resources are in place and staff are prepared to support Medicaid beneficiaries through the transition to Kentucky HEALTH.

Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) – Anthem, Aetna, Humana, Passport and Wellcare – are also helping to prepare their members for this transition and have multiple print and digital materials available for their members as well.

Kentucky Career Centers, libraries, and adult education centers will also have Kentucky HEALTH resources on hand and staff members available to help recipients understand the new PATH Community Engagement requirement, which means some recipients who are able will need to complete 80 hours of employment, education or training, volunteering or caregiving per month.

“Kentucky Career Centers across the Commonwealth are excited to help customers find jobs, education and training opportunities in their area,” said EWDC Cabinet Secretary Derrick K. Ramsey. “The state has more than 163,000 current job openings and that number keeps increasing. Our goal is to strengthen Kentucky’s workforce by helping more Kentuckians gain the high-demand skills required to meet employers’ needs.”

As a first step, Kentuckians are encouraged to visit the Kentucky HEALTH website at to learn more about the program. This website, which will be updated regularly, includes information and materials for recipients, KCC and DCBS staff, MCOs, and business and community partners.

Some of the highlights include:

Kentucky HEALTH Eligibility Finder – This new Eligibility Finder tool can help people understand if they are eligible for Kentucky HEALTH. If they are, the tool will identify what eligibility group they fall into and what new requirements and benefits apply to them, based on their eligibility group. This tool is a great starting point for anyone who is wondering how they may be impacted by the transition to Kentucky HEALTH.
• PATH Community Engagement Magazine – The PATH Magazine is an essential overview for citizens who may have a PATH Community Engagement requirement. PATH stands for “Partnering to Advance Training and Health.” The Magazine explains who has a PATH requirement, how to meet the PATH requirement, and more.

• Kentucky HEALTH Getting Started Guide – The Getting Started Guide contains detailed information about each component of the Kentucky HEALTH program, as well as sections for each eligibility group. Individuals can refer to the sections of the Guide that are relevant to them, based on their unique situation, and use it to help satisfy the Kentucky HEALTH program requirements.

“The Kentucky HEALTH team has worked diligently since the Medicaid 1115 waiver was granted federal approval to create a library of high-quality information aimed at helping people understand the recent changes to Medicaid,” said CHFS Deputy Secretary Kristi Putnam. “We are excited to share this information and the wealth of resources offered, and as always, look forward to receiving feedback on this new content.”

While Kentucky HEALTH launches statewide on July 1, 2018, the PATH Community Engagement component of Kentucky HEALTH will be implemented on a regional or county-by-county basis. The only county that will have a PATH Community Engagement requirement on July 1, 2018, is Campbell County in Northern Kentucky. Details about future phases and the PATH Rollout schedule are available on the Kentucky HEALTH website Resources page.

Full-time employees, full-time students, or the primary caregivers of a dependent child are not required to complete the PATH requirement if they have reported their work or school status to a DCBS worker or updated their information at However, they are able to take advantage of the PATH assistance and resources to access additional job, training and volunteering opportunities and can earn valuable incentives when they do.

Medicaid recipients who have questions about Kentucky HEALTH are encouraged to go to or call 1-855-306-8959.

--From Cabiinet for Health and Family Services


June 26, 2018

In a region and state with many teen births, E. Ky. program helps young women teach sex ed outside the classroom

A group called All Access EKY is hiring young Eastern Kentucky women between 17 and 22 to create media campaigns for reproductive health, with a focus on increasing access to a full spectrum of birth-control options in Eastern Kentucky, Ivy Brashear reports for Yes! Magazine.

Barriers to getting birth control in Eastern Kentucky are "profound," Brashear reports, and extend way beyond the ordinary obstacles of cost All Access EKY trains young Eastern Kentucky women to make media campaigns for birth control. (Photo by Hero Images/Getty Images)All Access EKY trains young Eastern Kentucky women to make media campaigns for birth control. (Photo by Hero Images/Getty Images)and access to care, to things like having access to reliable transportation (there is no public transportation), knowing if the employees at the clinic go to the same church as your parents, or simply finding a doctor who is willing to prescribe it.

"This is all assuming she knows anything about her birth-control options in the first place," Brashear writes, adding that many young women in Eastern Kentucky "must battle abstinence-only sex education in their schools and a cultural veil of secrecy about their bodies in order to fully understand their options."

She reports that only six of the 19 health departments and federally qualified health clinics in All Access EKY's seven counties offer the full range of birth-control options, and have only four nurse practitioners at public health clinics who are qualified to insert intrauterine devices (IUDs). And the region has a high rate of teen births, Kentucky Health News reports.

All Access, which began in 2016, is working to overcome these barriers by offering young women from the region an eight-week paid fellowship to create educational films that focus on birth control, with interviews of local women about their reproductive health experiences.

The women have also produced social-media campaigns, set up tables at local festivals, and distributed printed materials through clinics and local businesses, Brashear reports in her story, titled "Where Birth Control is Scarce, Young Women Create Sex Education Outside the Classroom."

All Access is a collaboration between the Kentucky Health Justice Network, the national nonprofit Power to Decide, and Appalshop, the media and arts organization in Whitesburg, where the project is housed.

Written by Al Cross Posted