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Will be legal in every other state starting Jan. 1

State Rep. Daniel Elliott, a Republican recently elected to the state House, has filed legislation that would allow physician assistants to prescribe controlled substances, something they can do in every other state beginning in January.

Elliott, R-Gravel Switch, says the bill would help relieve the doctor shortages in some rural areas of the state.

“If we can give these professionals the ability to care for sick people then I can’t see why we wouldn’t do that in a state that tends to be at the bottom of some categories of health,” Elliott told Insider Louisville’s Joe Sonka. “I don’t see the rationale in prohibiting very well educated and trained medical professionals from practicing medicine, and that’s what we’re saying they can’t do in Kentucky, to a certain extent.”

State Rep. Daniel Elliott (Photo Provided)State Rep. Daniel Elliott (Photo Provided)

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“Ben Swartz, the executive director for the Kentucky Academy of Physician Assistants, tells IL that this difference makes it harder to hire physician assistants, and changing the law would ‘bring parity in line with the two professions’ and ‘level the job market’ in Kentucky,” Sonka reports. “He adds that because Kentucky lags behind the rest of the country on this law, physician assistants in Kentucky often leave to find work in other states where they have full prescription authority, even though their training is more thorough than that of nurse practitioners.”

Swartz acknowledges that the General Assembly has been reluctant to give PAs prescription authority “due to the state’s problem of prescription painkillers being over-prescribed and leading to opioid addiction and overdoses,” Sonka writes. “However, he says this change would provide more accurate and responsible tracking of prescriptions by the state, as the supervising physicians’ prescriptions are often inflated when their assistant refers patients to them.”

Elliott won a special election in March to fill the seat vacated by state Auditor Mike Harmon. Republicans are in the minority in the House but appear to have a good chance of winning a majority in the Nov. 8 elections.

From Kentucky Health News

 

 

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, with an estimated 12 percent developing invasive breast cancer in their lifetime. The American Cancer Society estimates that over 246,000 women will be diagnosed with new cases of invasive breast cancer this year. Several risk factors of the disease are beyond control, but there are some lifestyle changes that can be made to help reduce risk of developing the disease. Additionally, understanding early detection methods and when to get screened can be critical in the survival rates of women who are diagnosed.

Women have a much higher likelihood of being diagnosed with breast cancer than men, however men can develop the disease too. White women are the most likely to develop breast cancer, yet African-American women who develop it have higher mortality rates. Age is another contributing risk factor of the disease, with most invasive breast cancers detected in women 55 and older. A small percentage of breast cancer cases are considered hereditary and result when certain gene mutations are present, which greatly increase the risk of diagnosis. Genetic testing can be done in some cases to identify whether or not the mutated genes are present. These are just some of the uncontrollable risk factors of developing the disease.

Some breast cancer risk factors are linked to lifestyle behaviors that can be changed. Drinking more than one alcoholic beverage per day has been shown to increase the risk by almost double. Being overweight, especially after menopause, raises estrogen levels and can also increase risk. Additionally, more evidence is showing that exercising regularly can help to lower risk. 

While there is very little known to directly prevent breast cancer, most doctors feel that early detection and regular screenings are the best way to help increase survival rates. Some symptoms of breast cancer are easy to detect, while others may only be found during screenings. You should contact your physician immediately if you experience any of the following:

  • Discharge from nipples, especially blood and/or puss;
  • A new lump, particularly if it is painful and doesn’t leave after a menstrual cycle;
  • Unceasing breast pain;
  • Breast infection, which include centralized redness, puss or fever;
  • Nipple changes such as pulling inward, enlargement or itching;
  • An asymmetrical breast;
  • Skin changes on breast or swelling; and/or
  • Lump in the underarm

In general, starting at age 45 women of average risk of developing breast cancer should get mammograms every year until they reach 55. After age 55, women should switch to mammograms every 2 years, unless instructed differently by their doctor. Mammograms are the most common tests of breast cancer, but there are other tools that can be used depending on a woman’s medical history. It is important for women to begin discussing risk factors with their doctor early on so the best screening and testing plan can be developed.

 *All data provided by the American Cancer Society.

For more information about scheduling a screening test, please call any of our locations listed below:

  • Three Rivers Immediate Care – Louisa  606 638-7400

306 Commerce Drive, Suite 700

Louisa, KY  41230

  • Three Rivers Immediate Care – Inez 606 298-2660

94 Boardwalk

Inez, KY  41224

  • Three Rivers Immediate Care – Crum 304 393-6901

47460 US Route 52

Kermit, WV  25674

  • Three Rivers Medical Center – Louisa 606 638-9451

2485 Hwy 644

Louisa, KY  41230

Study Finds E-cigarette Use Hurts Quit Attempts


A recent study published in Nicotine and Tobacco Research evaluated e-cigarette use and quit attempts at 3 and 6 month follow ups. The researchers sampled 6,526 people from 187 primary care clinics in Ontario, Canada.

They found that, after three months, smokers who also used e-cigarettes were approximately 30% less likely to have successfully quit smoking compared to smokers who did not use e-cigarettes.  

At the 6 month follow up, smokers who also used e-cigarettes were about 50% less likely to successfully quit than smokers who only used traditional cigarettes.  

Further, e-cig users did not significantly reduce the number of cigarettes smoked per day. No difference was found between smokers who used e-cigs to quit and smokers who used e-cigs for other reasons.

Findings from this study are consistent with other similar research showing that dual users (traditional smokers who also use e-cigs) are less likely to quit.

Everything You Need to Know About the Flu Vaccine

As summer ends and fall approaches, we begin to hear a lot about the seasonal flu and the importance of getting vaccinated. Influenza, also known as “the flu,” is a contagious respiratory disease caused by the influenza virus, which affects the nose, throat and lungs. Every year in the United States more than 200,000 people are hospitalized because of the flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Several important steps can be taken to help prevent contracting and spreading the virus.

Individuals who are at high risk for developing flu-related complications should exercise particular caution during flu season. Children under age five, adults 65 and older, pregnant women, people with chronic medical conditions and people who live in nursing homes or long-term care facilities are especially susceptible to complications related to flu. 

The best way to prevent getting the flu and spreading it to others is to get a vaccine. It’s best to get vaccinated as early as possible in the season as it takes about two weeks for antibodies to develop after vaccination. For the 2016-2017 season, the CDC recommend using an injectable influenza vaccine. Two types of injectable vaccines will be available this flu season:

  • Trivalent flu vaccine: A three-component vaccination injected into the muscle of the arm. There are several trivalent shots that are appropriate for people 18 and older. High-dose trivalent shots are recommended for people over 65. 
  • Quadrivalent flu vaccine: A four-component vaccination approved for use in different age groups. The intradermal quadrivalent flu shot uses a smaller needle and is injected into the skin instead of the muscle.

Besides vaccination, there are several other things you can do to minimize the risk of catching the virus and spreading it to others. Most viruses spread through direct contact, so it is extremely important to wash your hands regularly in warm, soapy water and avoid contact with face, mouth and eyes. When sneezing, always use a clean tissue and discard used ones, and if a tissue is not available, sneeze away from others.

Using natural methods to help prevent to the flu can also be effective. Staying hydrated and drinking plenty of fluids can help flush out the body. Getting fresh air can also help keep the body hydrated, especially during the cold months when central heat tends to dry out the skin. Exercising regularly and eating a diet high in vegetables and fruits can help increase blood flow and stimulate the body’s natural virus-killing cells. 

The seasonal flu virus changes every season, so it is important to stay current with your vaccinations each year. Practicing good cleanliness habits and healthy routines can also help keep you and your loved ones healthy throughout flu season and all year long.

Flu vaccines will be available beginning October 6, 2016 For information about scheduling a vaccine, please call one of our convenient locations listed below:

  • Three Rivers Immediate Care – Louisa  606 638-7400

306 Commerce Drive, Suite 700

Louisa, KY  41230

  • Three Rivers Immediate Care – Inez 606 298-2660

94 Boardwalk

Inez, KY  41224

  • Three Rivers Immediate Care – Crum 304 393-6901

47460 US Route 52

Kermit, WV  25674

  • Three Rivers Medical Center – Louisa 606 638-9451

2485 Hwy 644

Louisa, KY  41230

 

September 14, 2016

New Census data released Tuesday shows Kentucky’s historic progress in reducing the share of Kentuckians without health insurance coverage has continued to grow.

The new American Community Survey (ACS) data shows Kentucky’s rate dropped 8.3 percentage points between 2013 and 2015, thanks to our state’s decision to expand Medicaid and set up the successful Kynect marketplace.

Kentucky is one of only four states with at least an eight percentage point drop in the uninsured since 2013, along with California, West Virginia and Nevada.

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According to the Census, 355,000 more Kentuckians had health insurance in 2015 than prior to Medicaid expansion and the creation of Kynect. While 14.3 percent were uninsured in 2013 and 8.5 percent in 2014, only 6 percent were uninsured in 2015.

“Affordable, reliable healthcare is essential to any thriving community,” Jason Bailey, Executive Director of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, said. “These numbers are another piece of evidence that Kentucky is a national leader in health coverage, which isn’t just a ranking, it’s changing people’s lives.”

The expansion has meant more Kentuckians have been able to get needed care for chronic conditions, make and keep primary care appointments, use the emergency room less and be more likely to report having excellent health according to a Harvard School of Public Health study published in August.

Not only has the decision to expand Medicaid in many states resulted in a greater number of people covered, but it has meant private health insurance premiums are seven percent lower on average in expansion states when compared to states that did not expand, according to a report from the Department for Health and Human Services (HHS).

There are significant economic benefits as well. Hospitals have seen a $2 billion reduction in charges for uncompensated care thanks to Medicaid expansion and the state is projected to save a net of $53.6 million during the next two fiscal years due to expansion paying for health services state agencies would otherwise be responsible for covering, according to analysis from the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

And as of July of this year Kentucky has added 11,500 health care and hospital jobs in the last two years as coverage from Medicaid expansion has grown.

“Because Kentucky has seen the greatest gains, we also have the most to lose if harmful changes to Medicaid are approved,” Bailey said of the proposed waiver that was recently submitted to federal officials. The plan introduces barriers to coverage like premiums, lockouts and work requirements that would reduce the number of Kentuckians covered. “Our hope is that the Bevin administration will negotiate in earnest with the federal government to find a way to build on our successes and not move backward on our health progress.”

You can view the data here.

The Kentucky Center for Economic Policy is a non-profit, non-partisan initiative that conducts research, analysis and education on important policy issues facing the Commonwealth. Launched in 2011, the Center is a project of the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED). For more information, please visit KCEP’s website atwww.kypolicy.org.