Wednesday December 7, 2022
News Sections

Photo: Cabinet for Health and Family Services

A new tool launched by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ (CHFS) KASPER program–Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting – allows healthcare providers to gauge how their prescribing patterns compare with their peers.  The Prescriber Report Card feature is the latest enhancement to the nationally recognized prescription drug monitoring program.

“The new KASPER Prescriber Report Card is intended to increase the usefulness of KASPER as a tool for our healthcare providers to improve patient treatment and outcomes,” said CHFS Acting Secretary Scott Brinkman.  “We are very pleased with the initial response and welcome additional prescriber suggestions on the Prescriber Report Card and other ways we can make KASPER a more effective tool to help address the opioid epidemic.”

Data from the controlled substance prescribing tool can be used to compare prescribing patterns with other prescribers in a respective specialty area as well as identify the number of patients who may be at higher risk of a problem due to inappropriate controlled substance usage or potential interactions among controlled substances.

KASPER can also be used as a licensure and enforcement tool. Prescriber professional licensure boards may obtain copies of prescriber report cards to support their licensee reviews.

“The Board has looked at the KASPER Prescriber Report Card and could not be more excited about its availability to physicians and other prescribers in Kentucky,” said Mike Rodman, Executive Director of the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure.  “It is a wonderful tool for physicians to compare their own prescribing habits with peers within their specialty and throughout the state.  The Board encourages all physicians to take a moment and review this important data, which allows them to self-reflect on their own prescribing practices and decide whether they need to make any adjustments.  The Board recognizes the Cabinet for all their hard work on this special project and knows that physicians throughout the state will find this information helpful as they care for their patients.”

The new tool received similar accolades from the Kentucky Medical Association (KMA).

“We believe the new KASPER Prescriber Report Card will be a useful tool for physicians to record and compare their prescribing patterns, which could ultimately improve patient safety and overall public health,” said KMA Executive Vice President Pat Padgett.

The KASPER system tracks controlled substance prescriptions dispensed within the state. A KASPER report lists all scheduled prescriptions for an individual for a specified time period, along with the prescriber and the dispenser information. Use of KASPER by practitioners and pharmacists is vital to improving public health and patient safety in Kentucky.

“The prescriber report card has enlightened (me) about the amount of opioids prescribed by, not only myself, but also my fellow Orthopedic Surgeons,” concluded Dr. Joshua Owens, an Orthopedic Surgeon in Maysville. “We as surgeons have a responsibility to our patients and communities to utilize all the resources available to help curb prescribing medications that are very addictive.

For more information on KASPER or to view the Prescriber Report Card User Guide, please visit: http://www.chfs.ky.gov/os/oig/KASPER.htm.

Photo: Cabinet for Health and Family Services

Racial disproportionality and disparities for youth and families of color in the area of child welfare services will be the topic of statewide meeting this week.

The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ (CHFS) Department for Community Based Services (DCBS), Hardin County Family Court Judge Brent Hall, and community leader and juvenile justice advocate Pastor Edward Palmer will host the annual meeting of the Race Community and Child Welfare (RCCW) Initiative on Thursday, Nov. 9, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Elizabethtown Tourism Center, 1030 North Mulberry St., Elizabethtown, Ky.

DCBS Commissioner Adria Johnson said the forum lets child welfare partners discuss strategies to remove barriers for children and families of color.

“Racial disproportionality is prevalent in Kentucky’s child welfare program, but by focusing attention to solutions that are specific to the problem, we can preserve families and achieve good outcomes for all children,” Johnson said.

In Kentucky, racial disproportionality and disparate outcomes for children of color occur across all public systems. Nationally, children of color are overrepresented in child serving agencies such as education, child welfare and juvenile justice in comparison to their percentage of the population.

Disparate outcomes include children of color removed from their homes and entering out of home care at a rate one and a half times to that of white children. Data shows that children of color are:

  • less likely to achieve permanency when exiting out of home care
  • less likely to graduate from high school
  • more likely to be suspended from school
  • are more likely to be committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice for offenses and
  • more likely to be referred to criminal court as a youthful offender.

The RCCW Initiative engages public system and community partners in developing and evaluating local collaborations and strategies aimed at eliminating disparities for children of color in the child welfare system. In the last year, Hardin County collaborative efforts have eliminated the overrepresentation of African-American children entering foster care in that county. The percentage of children of African-American heritage entering foster care in Hardin County is lower than their representational percentage of all children in the county.

Johnson said the state’s RCCW program sponsors workshops for DCBS staff, childcare agency providers and other partners to reduce racial bias; provides diversity information for foster parent training and distributes a quarterly newsletter.

Pastor Palmer, of the Sign of the Dove Church in Radcliff, said that racial disparity is a community issue and will take all stakeholders working toward a solution.

“With the number of children in care growing, the state needs support to meet their psychological and biological needs,” Palmer said. “It really takes the village to assist those families in crisis, to facilitate better outcome for families and children.”

Palmer provides a visitation center at his church for parents and children removed and in foster care to visit frequently thereby increasing the chances of reunifying the family.

Judge Hall said that Family Court judges like himself play an important role in listening to families and encouraging the development of community supports to meet the needs of vulnerable families.

“Judicial leadership is critical to setting expectations for family engagement for all involved with families dealing with child maltreatment,” Hall said.

Judge Hall helps facilitate Hardin County’s Minority Advisory Council, which focuses on improving child protection and court processes, resources and family engagement. Hall recently led a training session of 25 participants, which included court personnel, Foster Care Review Board members, Family Resource Center Coordinators, CASA advocates and community members.

Judge Karen Howze, a national expert on cultural competency and Judge in Residency with the National Council for Juvenile and Family Court Judges, will also speak at the annual meeting.

For more information about DCBS programs and Kentucky child welfare, log on to http://chfs.ky.gov/dcbs/.

For more information about how you can become a foster or adoptive parent, or to get more general information about supporting families in the child welfare system, email: openhearts@ky.gov, visit the state adoption website adopt.ky.gov, which helps families more easily navigate the foster care and adoption process or call 1-800-232-KIDS (5437).

As part of the 52 Weeks of Public Health campaign, the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), is celebrating Newborn Screening Awareness Month by promoting awareness about the importance of early screening for Kentucky babies.

“Early intervention with the new mother and baby is critical to provide care and support for the best outcome,” said CHFS Secretary Vickie Yates Brown Glisson. “The Cabinet is working hard across disciplines to develop these systems.”

The Newborn Screening Program is a population-based service, provided by DPH that provides testing for developmental, genetic and metabolic disorders in newborn babies, allowing steps to be taken before symptoms develop.

“The importance of these metabolic screenings for newborns in Kentucky cannot be overstated,” said Connie Gayle White, M.D., senior deputy commissioner at DPH. “For many children, early screening can literally mean the difference between a full, healthy life and one spent battling a debilitating condition. It can even mean the difference between life and death in some cases.”

Newborn screening detects conditions not visible at birth and ensures life-saving treatment can begin as soon as possible. Most of these illnesses are very rare, but can be treated if caught early. The types of newborn screening tests done vary from state to state, but all 50 states have reported screening for at least 26 disorders on an expanded and standardized uniform panel.

In Kentucky, newborn screening is required by law. A blood specimen is obtained by heel stick from the newborn at the birthing facility between 24-48 hours after birth. The specimen is sent to the Kentucky Division of Laboratory Services for processing and abnormal findings are reported to the Newborn Screening Program.

Kentucky’s Newborn Screening Program uses a metabolic panel screening for 53 disorders which includes: congenital, hypothyroidism, cystic fibrosis, abnormalities in hemoglobin i.e. sickle cell, and disorders in the metabolism of carbohydrates, amino acid, organic acids, fatty acids, and lysosomes. When a diagnosis is confirmed, treatment is initiated through the administration of drugs, hormones or dietary adjustments.

Even if a baby is not born in a hospital, it is critical that they be tested within the first 24-48 hours after birth.  Over 50,000 newborn screenings are conducted annually in the state of Kentucky. In 2016, 141 newborns tested were positively diagnosed as a result of the initial newborn screening. In addition to blood tests, screening for hearing loss and critical congenital heart disease (CCHD) are highly recommended for all Kentucky babies.

To learn more about the benefits of the Kentucky Newborn Screening Program, please visit the Kentucky Department for Public Health or the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention website.

Gov. Matt Bevin last night welcomed a new class of Kentucky AmeriCorps members pledging to “get things done” as they embark upon a year of service to the Commonwealth.

The swearing-in ceremony was part of the Service for Peace “9/11 Salute to Our Heroes” event at Fourth Street Live! in downtown Louisville, which also recognized Kentucky’s first responders and military heroes on the September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance.

“Tonight is an amazing evening of reflection and celebration of the American spirit,” said Gov. Bevin, a U.S. Army veteran. “We are truly grateful to all of our servant leaders who are gathered here—military personnel, first responders and AmeriCorps volunteers.”

Gov. Bevin praised Kentucky AmeriCorps members for committing to work to improve the lives of citizens across the Commonwealth.

“Thank you to each one of you who have stepped up and are willing to serve,” he said. “You have taken in the greatness of America and chosen not to keep it to yourselves, but to give it back to others. You will leave these communities that you are a part of different—you will leave them better.”

Kentucky AmeriCorps members address critical issues across the state—like teaching and tutoring students, combatting the effects of opioid abuse, providing drug resistance education, serving veterans and military families, empowering victims of domestic violence and assisting low-income senior citizens. During their service, AmeriCorps members will expand opportunity for themselves, gain skills and experience to jump-start their careers and earn education scholarships for their service.

The Kentucky Commission on Community Volunteerism and Service (KCCVS), part of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), administers the Kentucky AmeriCorps program and coordinated last night’s celebration in Louisville.

“Kentucky AmeriCorps lives up to its mission of ‘getting things done,’ and I salute new, returning and alumni members for their service,” said CHFS Secretary Vickie Yates Brown Glisson. “You have shown a focus on helping communities build a better future for all of Kentucky.”

KCCVS executive director Joe Bringardner administered the AmeriCorps pledge to the more than 400 members from 96 of Kentucky’s 120 counties. In total, there are 804 new and returning AmeriCorps members serving the Commonwealth this year. Kentucky AmeriCorps currently receives more than $6.5 million in federal funding for 23 programs.

“AmeriCorps is so effective because it helps nurture the skills and talents of civic-minded Kentuckians, giving them more educational and economic opportunities. Our members learn that service is vital to a community’s growth, and they realize this is an investment in their future,” said Bringardner. “Serving can mean the difference between getting a degree and becoming a local leader. It’s an investment in community stability and yields higher earnings for the members along with a ready network of volunteers for the community.”

Since 1994, more than 1 million men and women have served in AmeriCorps, providing more than 1.4 billion hours of service addressing critical challenges from poverty and hunger to disasters and the dropout crisis. AmeriCorps members have earned more than $3.3 billion in education scholarships to pay for college or pay back student loans.

In the Kentucky, more than 11,000 Kentuckians have served more than 17 million hours and have received education awards totaling more than $40.8 million.

For more information about Kentucky’s AmeriCorps programs, call KCCVS at 502-564-7420 or visit www.chfs.ky.gov/ServeKY. You can also connect with Kentucky AmeriCorps on both Facebook and Twitter.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly 75 percent of the new diseases that have affected humans over the past 10 years originated from an animal or an animal product.

As the new state public health veterinarian, Dr. Kelly Giesbrecht, DVM, will provide leadership and supervision regarding issues related to the identification and evaluation of human health hazards of animal origin that could potentially impact the health of Kentuckians.

“We are very pleased to have Dr. Giesbrecht join our staff at the Cabinet for Health and Family Services,” said CHFS Cabinet Secretary Vickie Yates Brown Glisson. “Her wealth of experience in public health and veterinary science is a perfect fit for this extremely important role and will be a tremendous asset to our work to improve the public health of Kentucky.”

Among other things, the state public health veterinarian is tasked with;

  • Identifying and evaluating hazards to human health of animal origin.
  • Developing policies, guidelines, and strategies for the control of zoonotic and foodborne diseases.
  • Disseminating relevant information to experts in public health, veterinary science and other scientific disciplines, as well as to consumer groups and the public.
  • Contributing to field and laboratory investigations of zoonotic and foodborne diseases.

As state veterinarian, Dr. Giesbrecht will be a part of the Division of Epidemiology and Health Planning in DPH. She comes to the department with over 22 years of combined experience in veterinary medicine and public health.  She has a doctorate in veterinarian medicine from the University of Florida and a masters of public health from the University of Texas.

After clinical practice, she spent 11 years in the Air Force as a public health officer and most recently worked at the Northern Kentucky Health Department where she served as a regional epidemiologist.

Additional information is available at http://chfs.ky.gov/.

Visitors to the 2017 Kentucky State Fair can help children in foster care by donating a new duffle bag or backpack at the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) exhibit. CHFS is collecting the bags at its display in the Health Horizons area of South Wing B at the Kentucky Exposition Center. Children coming into foster care will receive the bags to carry their belongings.

“Often times, when children are removed from their home and placed into state care, all their belongings are literally stuffed into a black garbage bag,” Secretary Vickie Yates Brown Glisson said. “Can you image how that makes them feel? No child deserves to be given a trash bag for their belongings. This effort changes that. Donating a duffle bag or backpack is a small but meaningful way to help foster children and give them the dignity of carrying their possessions in a new bag that is all their own.”

Glisson said she has invited her employees to bring along duffle bags to drop into the donation bin at the CHFS exhibit space. The Secretary has also asked other Executive Cabinet secretaries and leadership of CHFS community partners and their employees to contribute.

Department for Community Based Services Commissioner Adria Johnson said she was touched by the efforts to help children in foster care, a program administered by her staff across the state.

“This luggage collection is tremendous,” she said. “Our staff is so grateful that we can give children a dignified way to carry their belongings. We have been spreading the word to the public that even if you cannot become a foster parent, there is some smaller thing you can do for our children in out of home care. And if people visiting the fair make the time and effort to donate, what a wonderful gift to these youth.”

A number of organizations have sponsored duffle bag and backpack drives over the past few months. Specifically, Children’s Home of Northern Kentucky launched a “Duffle Shuffle” campaign to ensure children entering out-of-home care would not have to use trash bags to carry their belongings. More information is available at http://www.duffleshuffle.org/ or by searching #DuffleShuffle on social media. Duffle Shuffle details will be available at our state fair exhibit area.

Others, including Girl Scout Troops and office groups, have sponsored duffle bag drives. Earlier this summer, the “Foster Care Pack Drive”, coordinated by employees at Disability Determination Services (DDS), which is part of CHFS, raised $4,200 to purchase new bags and collected nearly 900 donated bags. Donating duffle bags and backpacks is just one way to help children in foster care.

For more information about how you can become a foster or adoptive parent, or to get more general information, email: openhearts@ky.gov, go to the state adoption website adopt.ky.gov, which helps families more easily navigate the foster care and adoption process or call 1-800-232-KIDS (5437).

Cabinet for Health and Family Services 2017 State Fair Calendar

Featured Daily (Aug. 17-27)

  • Free Children’s Dental Screenings (10 a.m. -2 p.m. for children enrolling in public school with signed adult consent) and Oral Health Education
  • Kentucky HEALTH Update and Medicaid/Kentucky Children’s Health Insurance Program (KCHIP) Information
  • Substance Use Disorder Strategies and Services
  • Zika Education and Mosquito Control
  • Foster Care and Adoption – Duffel Bag/Backpack Drive
  • Tobacco Cessation – The Lung Challenge:  Test your lung strength
  • Free Blood Pressure Screenings and Education

Thursday, Aug. 17

  • Focus on Dental Health – Ask the Experts/Media Availability (10 a.m. to noon)

Monday, Aug. 21

  • Healthy Babies, Healthy Children – Prenatal Care, Safe Sleep for Babies, Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention, Kentucky Children’s Health Insurance Program (KCHIP)

Tuesday, Aug. 22

  • Services for Seniors – Adult Protective Services, Aging and Independent Living/Long-Term Care Ombudsman, Kentucky Prescription Assistance Program

Wednesday, Aug. 23

  • Focus on Foster Care and Adoption – Ask the Experts/Media Availability (10 a.m. to noon)

Thursday, Aug. 24

  • Focus on Zika Education and Mosquito Control – Ask the Experts/Media Availability (10 a.m. to noon)

Friday, Aug. 25

  • Focus on Substance Use Disorder Strategies and Services – Ask the Experts/Media Availability (10 a.m. to noon)

Fair Admission and Hours

Exhibit buildings at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center are open daily at 9 a.m. and close at 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Advance tickets are $7 for adults, seniors and children; free for children 5 years and under. Parking in advance is $5 per vehicle (car and bus). Advance discount prices are available through 10 p.m., Aug. 16, at Kroger and online at http://www.kystatefair.org/ and on the Kentucky State Fair app.

Admission at the gate is $10 for adults, seniors and children; free for children 5 years and under.

Parking after Aug. 16 and at the gate is $10 per car.

For more information about the fair, visit kystatefair.org.

Photo: CHFS

As part of the 52 Weeks of Public Health campaign, the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH), within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), along with local health departments across the state, is reminding the public about the potential for rabies exposure from contact with infected wildlife.

Wildlife rabies cases, primarily in bats, raccoons, skunks and foxes, have been identified in the U.S., and these result in human and animal exposures requiring thousands of human rabies post-exposure treatments and animal euthanasia or quarantines.

“Rabies is relatively rare in the U.S., but a dangerous, and often life-threatening condition, if contracted,” said Kelly Giesbrecht, state veterinarian with DPH. “We want to highlight the importance of rabies prevention and control efforts in our communities, while also reminding Kentuckians of the existing dangers of coming into contact with rabid wildlife. They should not be handled or treated as pets to avoid possible rabies exposure.”

Rabies, a viral disease of humans, pets and wild animals, is transmitted from animals to humans by the saliva of a rabid animal, usually from a bite. State law requires that all dogs, cats and ferrets maintain a current rabies vaccination. In Kentucky, there have been no human rabies cases from exposure to a rabid dog since dog vaccination became required by law in 1954. For more information about rabies, visit the DPH website at http://www.chfs.ky.gov/dph/epi/rabies.htm.

“We want the public to understand that rabies is still a serious public health concern, and we need to do everything we can to prevent it,” said Dr. Giesbrecht. “It is extremely important that we vaccinate all dogs, cats and ferrets in order to maintain this invisible barrier between rabid wildlife and humans.”

Contact bites from bats are the most common source of rabies exposure to humans in the United States. To minimize the risk for contracting rabies, it is best never to handle any bat. To prevent bats from entering your home, carefully examine your home for holes that might allow bats to enter the residence. Any openings larger than a quarter-inch by a half-inch could allow for bat entry. These openings should be blocked either with stainless steel wool or caulking in the fall or winter so you do not unintentionally trap bats within your home. Common ways for bats to enter homes include down the chimney, through openings around the chimney, through vents, through openings behind shutters, under doors, under siding, under eaves and under shingles.

There is no known medical cure for rabies once clinical symptoms are present. Symptoms include strange sensations at the site of the bite from a rabid animal, hallucinations and fear of water, all of which are quickly followed by death.

It is estimated that more than 59,000 people around the world die from rabies each year. Worldwide, more people die from rabies than from polio, diphtheria and yellow fever combined.

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