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OCTOBER 30, 2015

Louisa, Kentucky, (October 30, 2015) – Three Rivers Medical Center takes pride in Three Rivers ENT. Seeing patients on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Drs. Brian Helton and Mark Veronneau are readily available to help get you back to normal during allergy season. 

Dr. Brian Helton earned his medical degree at the University of Louisville and completed his residency at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Mark Veronneau received his medical degree at the University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Athens, Ohio, and completed his residency at Midwestern University in Olympia Fields, Illinois. Dr. Veronneau went on to complete a fellowship at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois.

Drs. Helton and Veronneau, otolaryngologists, ENT specialists, “diagnose and manage diseases of the ears, nose, sinuses, larynx (voice box), mouth, and throat, as well as structures of the neck and face,” according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. “About 35 million people develop chronic sinusitis each year, making it one of the most common health complaints in America.”

With Drs. Helton and Veronneau available right in Louisa, Kentucky, they are here for you. “In my practice each patient is treated with care and compassion. I view each patient as if they are a member of my immediate family,” said Dr. Brian Helton. 

To make an appointment, please call (606) 638-7488 or visit www.threeriversmedicalcenter.com to learn more about Three Rivers ENT located at TRMC Plaza, Suite 102.

Dr. Mark Veronneau        Dr. Brian Helton      

 

OCTOBER 25, 2015

Fate of health coverage through Medicaid expansion and Kynect could rest on the outcome of the election

By Cheyene Miller and Anthony Pendleton

University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

The fate of health coverage for about half-a-million Kentuckians could rest on the outcome of the Nov. 3 election for governor. Democrat Jack Conway wants to stick with the state’s embrace of federal health reform while Republican Matt Bevin does not.

Gov. Steve Beshear expanded the Medicaid program and created an online insurance market known as Kynect. Between the 400,000 in the expansion and 100,000 private insurance plans purchased on Kynect, the percentage of people without health insurance dropped more in Kentucky than any state in the nation, from more than 20 percent to just over 9 percent, according to the Gallup Poll.

            Kentucky was the only Southern state to create its own insurance exchange, and one of only two Southern states to expand Medicaid, along with Arkansas.

Beshear is on his way out of the governor’s mansion, however, and his possible successors have two drastically different stances on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Conway’s stance throughout the race has been to keep what is arguably one of the greatest accomplishments of his fellow Democrat, while Bevin has promised to dismantle Obamacare in Kentucky, albeit with an inconsistent stance on the Medicaid expansion.

Bevin told reporters in February that he would immediately end the expansion, but in July he denied saying that and started talking about seeking a federal waiver to receive Medicaid money in a grant and create a system resembling Indiana’s, in which Medicaid beneficiaries pay premiums to get better benefits.

“We can’t afford the current structure as it exists,” Bevin said in September. Beshear questioned Bevin’s knowledge of the system, and said the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office found that such waiver plans “will likely cost more than the expansion as we have implemented it in Kentucky.”

Bevin has said a waiver might allow Medicaid to offer some help to people with incomes above 138 percent of the federal poverty level, perhaps by helping them with health savings accounts.

Before the expansion, only Kentuckians with household incomes at or below 69 percent of the federal poverty level qualified for Medicaid. The expansion doubled that to 138 percent of poverty.

The federal government is paying the full cost of the expansion through 2016, at which point Kentucky would start paying 5 percent of the cost, rising in yearly steps to the law’s limit of 10 percent in 2020. By the 2020-21 fiscal year, the expansion is expected to cost the state $363 million a year.

A state-funded study by Deloitte Consulting predicted in February that the expansion will generate enough jobs and tax revenue to pay for itself through 2020, but Bevin has called the study “nonsense.” Conway has cited the study in saying he supports the expansion but would monitor its costs.

In his speech at the Fancy Farm Picnic in August, Conway said Kentuckians should vote for a candidate who “understands that the truly Christian thing to do is to say that we are our brother’s keeper and health care for our people makes us a healthier and better society.”

The candidates are playing to their bases Bevin by taking a stance against Kynect and the Medicaid expansion, and Conway by following the footsteps of Beshear in supporting it, University of Kentucky political science professor Stephen Voss said.

“They’ve already managed, without saying very much, to give that basic signaling that each side wanted to hear from them,” said Voss, adding that both candidates are also doing their best to remain vague when discussing health care: “For both candidates, delving more deeply into the specifics is fraught with risk.”

Bevin has been more consistent with his stance on Kynect, saying he would "facilitate the transition of enrollees" onto the federal exchange as he dismantles Kynect. In September, Bevin said he would consider a suggestion from Republican state Sen. Ralph Alvarado to keep Kynect operating and finance it by expanding it to other states, but he was skeptical of the idea.

Lexington-based litigation attorney Douglas McSwain, who specializes in constitutional and health-care law, said Kynect is one of the reform law’s biggest success stories nationwide.

“The main issue is that health-care reform has been a very good success under the Beshear administration,” McSwain said.

Kynect is funded by a 1 percent assessment on all Kentucky health-insurance policies, while the federal fee is 3.5 percent on policies sold on the exchange.

Independent candidate Drew Curtis has said the state can probably afford the first round of expenses from the Medicaid expansion, and should leave it and Kynect “alone as it is” until the state sees the long-term effects. “You can’t drop a massive system change on people, and (then) do it again in two years,” he said.

Kynect Director Carrie Banahan has said that Kynect would cost at least $23 million to dismantle and that most of the seven insurance companies using it would probably not go to the federal exchange.

Whoever is elected governor will likely have many obstacles on his plate regarding health care, since Kentucky is one of the least healthy states. According to America’s Health Rankings, Kentucky is 47th in overall health, with major issues facing the state including a high prevalence of smoking, high rate of children living in poverty and a high rate of preventable hospitalizations. Kentucky also ranks first in the nation for lung cancer deaths, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

Cheyene Miller and Anthony Pendleton are journalism seniors at the University of Kentucky. They wrote this story for the course, Covering the Governor’s Race, taught by Associate Professor Al Cross and Journalist in Residence John Winn Miller.

OCTOBER 21, 2015

 

Screenings Critical to Diabetes Prevention

Louisa, Kentucky, (October 20, 2015) – Each year, more than a million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes. And though the condition can largely be managed through proper diet, exercise and medication, many individuals with diabetes will develop serious health complications during their lives.

That’s why diabetes screenings are so important. With early detection, most individuals can make the lifestyle changes necessary to avoid developing the disease.

“Often patients who have prediabetes aren’t even experiencing symptoms,” said Dr. Spencer Harris, D.O. at Three Rivers Family Practice - Riverview. “If we can test at-risk patients and catch the condition early, we can often help them avoid diabetes and associated health problems, such as glaucoma, kidney disease and heart disease.”

Diabetes is a metabolic disease in which the body’s inability to produce any or enough insulin causes elevated levels of glucose, or sugar, in the blood. Individuals with pre-diabetes have blood sugar levels that are higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as full-blown diabetes. 

According to the American Diabetes Association, 86 million Americans aged 20 and older had prediabetes in 2012 and more than 29 million Americans had diabetes.

In the past, physicians tested for diabetes and prediabetes by administering a glucose tolerance test, which required patients to fast for several hours before having blood drawn for a lab test. The test would give patients a score, with those scoring higher than 100 considered prediabetic and those scoring 126 or higher considered diabetic.

Recently, physicians have begun favoring a different method of diabetes testing, called the A1C test. This test can provide a more accurate assessment by measuring the average level of glucose in the blood over the previous two to three months. An A1C level of 5.6 or is considered normal, 5.7 is considered pre-diabetes and 6.5 or higher is considered diabetic.

“We recommend individuals who are at elevated risk for diabetes, particularly those with a family history, be tested annually,” said Dr. Harris.

Although genetics can contribute to the risk of developing diabetes, individuals who are overweight, physically inactive, have high blood pressure, certain racial heritage (African-American, Latino, Native American, Asian-American and Pacific Islander) and a history of gestational diabetes are among those at increased risk.

Individuals who are concerned about their diabetes risk, or who have been diagnosed with the disease, should see their primary care physician, Dr. Harris recommends. By working closely with their physician, the condition can be managed or even prevented.

If you need assistance finding a doctor, call 606-638-9451 or visit www.threeriversmedicalcenter.com.

 

About Three Rivers Medical Center

Three Rivers Medical Center is your community healthcare provider; a 90-bed acute care facility accredited by The Joint Commission. We believe in the power of people to create great care. We provide essential hospital essential hospital services and are proud to house an accredited Chest Pain Center and a Sleep Disorders Center. And we work hard every day to be a place of healing, caring and connection for patients and families in the community we call home.

About Dr. Spencer Harris, D.O.

Dr. Spencer Harris

 

Dr. Spencer Harris is a board certified physician trained in treating illnesses and injuries, providing preventative care to help keep you and your family healthy. Dr. Harris treats people of all ages at Three Rivers Family Practice – Riverview, located at 203 South Water Street in downtown Louisa. 

Call 606-638-4505 for a same- or next-day appointment.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2015

 

World Health Organization agency report expected to label red meat as cancer-causing agent.

Red and processed meats pose cancer risks to consumers, according to a report expected to be released Monday by the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), Spencer Chase reports for Agri-Pulse. The North American Meat Institute (NAMI) "said the organization's conclusion on meat defies 'both common sense and dozens of studies showing no correlation between meat and cancer and other studies showing the many health benefits of balanced diets that include meat.'"

Barry Carpenter, NAMI's president and CEO, said in a statement: “Red and processed meat are among 940 substances reviewed by IARC found to pose some level of theoretical ‘hazard.' Only one substance, a chemical in yoga pants, has been declared by IARC not to cause cancer. Scientific evidence shows cancer is a complex disease not caused by single foods and that a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle choices are essential to good health.” He listed the numerous items IARC says can cause cancer, such as aloe vera, grilled food, sunlight and air. "He said IARC reviews fail to consider the health benefits derived from meat consumption, so it fails to address the bigger picture."

"If the report does indeed label red and processed meats as carcinogens, it wouldn't be the first time an IARC ruling had an impact on agriculture," Chase writes. "In March, the panel ruled that glyphosate, one of the most widely-used herbicides in agriculture, was 'probably carcinogenic to humans.' Monsanto strongly rejected IARC's conclusion. On its website, Monsanto says 'all labeled uses for glyphosate are safe for human health and supported by one of the most extensive worldwide human health databases.' In addition, it says IARC's finding on glyphosate 'is not supported by scientific data.'" (Read more)

Written by Tim Mandell Posted at 10/23/2015

OCTOBER 9, 2015

Preparedness has a New Champion

Debbie Miller, Lawrence County Health Department Director, presenting Shirley DeLong, left, RN with 2015 Preparedness Award

Shirley DeLong, RN is the River Run Regional Medical Reserve Corps winner of the Be Ready Preparedness Challenge for 2015.

The challenge was part of our September preparedness month activities. Each MRC volunteer was asked to speak to, and collect signatures from, non MRC members who would pledge to make a home readiness kit.

Shirley obtained 60 signatures and brought in five potential new members to our MRC community. Shirley DeLong has been an active member of our unit since its founding in 2005. In addition to her work as the Nurse Supervisor at the Lawrence County Health Department, Shirley DeLong has volunteered her time as medical mission’s worker in Latin America and with numerous other local charities. Her energy is electric and her attitude towards helping others stellar.

When asked once why she did so much for others, her reply was straight to the point, “We should think about helping others as naturally as we do eating and sleeping. It’s what keeps us human.” 

Shirley’s humanity certainly shines bright and we are proud to have her as a member of our River Run Regional Medical Reserve Corps family and as the Nurse Supervisor at the Lawrence County Health Department.