September News in Brief

Annual Appalachian Research Day set for September in Hazard

The University of Kentucky Center of Excellence in Rural Health (CERH) has released the agenda for the fifth annual Appalachian Research Day: Come Sit on the Porch. The one-day event, which shares results of health research conducted with communities in Appalachia, will be held Wednesday, Sept. 18 at the First Federal Center in Hazard.

UK researchers work closely with communities throughout Appalachia to learn more about health issues and improve wellbeing. Appalachian Research Day is an opportunity to highlight community-based research that begins at the local level and builds upon relationships between people, neighborhoods and groups who have common interests and concerns.

Highlights of this year’s conference include:

  • Understanding and Improving Health: Lessons from Kentucky and America’s Poorest State, by Randy Wycoff, East Tennessee State University
  • Health Disparities in Hard to Reach Populations: A Community Health Worker Perspective, Kentucky Homeplace panel
  • A Regional Approach to Improving Health Outcomes in the Kentucky River Area Development District, Scott Lockard, Kentucky River District Health Department
  • Leveraging Strengths and Assets to Improve Health and Well-Being in Appalachia, Mike Meit, Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis
  • Operation Change Perry County, featuring an Operation Change Participant Panel moderated by Keisha Hudson, UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health

Family Health Centers, Inc. earn Quality Improvement Awards

Family Health Centers (FHC), a federally qualified community health center in Louisville, Kentucky, received $242,324 from the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) under its Quality Improvement Awards (QIA).

FHC, which serves more than 43,000 medically underserved patients annually through a network of eight primary care locations, received the highest quality award among Kentucky’s 22 community health center grantees.

Family Health Centers received recognition and funding in six out of eight QIA award areas, including awards in Health Center Quality Leaders, Access Enhancers and Patient Centered Medical Home recognitions.

Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) submit Uniform Data System, a universal set of demographic, quality, and cost data to HRSA each February. HRSA publishes this data each August and makes QIA decisions based upon the 15 quality of care indicators all FHQCs report.

Uniform System Data submitted by FHC for 2018 shows improvement nine out of 15 indicators year-over-year, and FHC meet or exceeded National results in 13 out of 15 health outcomes indicators.

Study to explore reasons rural communities are less healthy

A new study hopes to help researchers understand what causes high rates of heart, lung, blood and sleep disorders (HLBS) in rural Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

Dubbed the Risk Underlying Rural Areas Longitudinal (RURAL) study, Stephanie Boone, PhD, assistant professor, University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences, will lead the research in Kentucky.

The overall study is coordinated by Boston University School of Medicine and funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health. The six-year, $21.4 million multi-site prospective epidemiology cohort study includes 50 investigators from 15 other institutions.

Best Lawyers honors Stites & Harbison attorneys

The Best Lawyers in America 2020 has recognized 75 Stites & Harbison attorneys as selected by their peers in 49 areas of practice. Forty-three of those attorneys selected have been honored for 10 consecutive years or more.

The Best Lawyers in America is a nationally recognized referral guide to the legal profession that has been published since 1983. Attorneys selected for the publication are reviewed by professional peers through an extensive survey.

McBrayer attorneys receive Best Lawyers distinction

22 attorneys from McBrayer law offices in Lexington and Louisville have achieved a 2020 listing in U.S. News – Best Lawyers in America. The distinction is given based solely on peer review, and for the 2020 Edition, 8.3 million votes were analyzed. Founded in 1981, Best Lawyers highlights the extraordinary accomplishments of those in the legal industry.

UK HealthCare is No. 1 in Kentucky

UK HealthCare’s University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler Hospital remains the No. 1 hospital in Kentucky and the bluegrass region for the fourth consecutive year, according to the 2019-20 Best Hospitals rankings and ratings released by U.S. News & World Report.

In addition, University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center has been named in the Top 50 national rankings for cancer care at No. 33. UK HealthCare also has three adult specialties ranked as high-performing – geriatrics, nephrology and orthopedics.

TEG ranks 33rd largest Healthcare architectural firm

TEG Architects, a local architectural and interior design firm, was named 33rd largest healthcare architectural firm in the U.S. in the Giants 300 report by Building Design + Construction (BD+C).

Each year, BD+C ranks top architecture, engineering and construction firms across the nation by annual revenue across more than 20 building sectors and specialties.

During this reporting year, healthcare projects accounted for 90 percent of TEG’s work. The firm has consecutively ranked as one of the nation’s largest health care firms for seven years. In 2018, the firm ranked 37th in the nation.

KMA physician leadership program receives award

The Kentucky Physicians Leadership Institute (KPLI), a leadership training program offered by the Kentucky Medical Association and funded by its charitable arm, the Kentucky Foundation for Medical Care (KFMC) was honored last month by the American Association of Medical Society Executives (AAMSE) during its 2019 Annual Meeting.

The KPLI received the AAMSE Profiles of Excellence Award for Leadership, which honors the development and implementation of member leadership programs that create pathways for physician leadership at the county, state or national level and/or develop leadership competencies to meet the challenges of medicine.

Developed in 2016, the KPLI is the leadership training program for physicians in Kentucky. Each year, the program selects up to fifteen physicians to participate in a year-long series of learning events that seek to cultivate the next generation of physician leaders across the state. The four primary learning events help address many of the challenges facing the physician community.

Since its inception, nineteen physicians have completed the program, with eleven more currently enrolled in the 2019 class.

In 2018, the KPLI program was recognized as the recipient of MediStar’s A.O. Sullivan Excellence in Education Award for its creative approach to enhancing the level of knowledge, education and career opportunity in healthcare.

Saint Joseph Mount Sterling, London recognized

Saint Joseph Mount Sterling has been awarded Stroke-Ready Certification by HFAP, the nation’s original, independent accreditation program. This certification garnered through an independent, external evaluation illustrates the commitment of Saint Joseph Mount Sterling to providing prompt recognition and treatment of stroke patients.

Saint Joseph London earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for Total Hip and Knee Replacement Certification. The facility was recognized for demonstrating continuous compliance with performance standards.

New SUD curriculum for primary care providers

Michelle Lofwall, PhD, professor of behavioral science and psychiatry in the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, is one of three national addiction physician experts who led a team of healthcare professionals in developing a new core curriculum designed to educate primary care providers on the prevention, assessment and treatment of substance use disorders (SUD) throughout the continuum of care.

The new 22-module core curriculum was created by Providers Clinical Support System, a program funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The modules explore such topics as screening, stigma, motivational interviewing, alcohol, tobacco and opioid use disorder. The course provides a comprehensive introduction and overview of SUDs and co-occurring mental disorders for all health professionals.

While the field of medicine is making efforts to provide more training on addiction, many healthcare professionals have received few hours of education. This curriculum is meant to provide a foundation of clinically relevant information that will help clinicians better understand, identify and treat substance use disorders.

DPH holds Hepatitis C meeting

Kentucky’s Department for Public Health, in the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, hosted a statewide Hepatitis C (HCV) elimination meeting last month.

Staff from the state’s local health departments, universities, hospitals, corrections departments, behavioral health facilities, private providers and other groups attended the strategic planning meeting.

Kentucky leads the nation in both acute and chronic cases of Hepatitis C.

Over the past 10 years Kentucky’s incidence rate has been as high as five times the national average. Preliminary information from 2019 shows the rate of disease is higher in parts of eastern and northern Kentucky.

Specialty pharmacy firm opens River Ridge facility

Knipper and Co. Inc., a specialty pharmacy firm from Lakewood, N.J., has launched a new patient support center at the River Ridge Commerce Center.

The new KnippeRx patient center provides access to drugs that aren’t available through retail pharmacies. KnippeRx connects the patient, their doctor and pharmaceutical companies and ships specialty drugs to patients. These specialty drugs are rare and often require special handling and delivery.

Waystar majority stake soon to be sold

A deal has been reached in which a majority share in Louisville-based Waystar, a provider of cloud-based revenue management and financial software to healthcare providers, will be sold.

Sweden-based EQT Partners and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board have reached a definitive agreement with Waystar’s owner, Boston-based Bain Capital LP, to acquire the stake. Waystar is valued at $2.7 billion. Bain Capital will retain a minority stake in the company.

GLI named 2019 National Chamber of the Year

The Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives has named Greater Louisville Inc. (GLI) the 2019 Chamber of the Year for large chambers of commerce. The announcement was made at the ACCE conference last month.

The Chamber of the Year award is given by the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) and the organization only invites a limited number of the 7,000 chambers in the nation to apply.

KHA receives performance award

Kentucky Hospital Association (KHA) was honored with the American Hospital Association’s Center for Health Innovation Performance Improvement Award during the 2019 AHA Leadership Summit. The award recognized KHA’s Kentucky Hospital Innovation and Improvement Network (K-HIIN) team for their work assisting member hospitals with quality improvement.

UofL’s Leadership & Innovation program expanding

UofL’s School of Medicine’s Leadership & Innovation in Academic Medicine (LIAM) 2019 graduates were honored and the class of 2020 announced at a ceremony at the Novak Center for Children’s Health.

The mission of the LIAM program is to develop the next generation of leaders at the Health Sciences Center by investigating how best to apply leadership and innovation principles to influence a group or an organization to achieve a common goal. Faculty enroll in an 11-month training program that includes discussions and team projects.

During the program, the members of the class worked in teams to develop projects to improve some aspect of healthcare delivery and education at UofL. At the graduation ceremony, the teams presented their projects to incoming program members, program administrators and other graduates.

Beginning with the 2019-2020 year, LIAM will expand to include faculty members in other schools on the Health Sciences Center campus as well as Belknap campus. The third cohort will include three faculty members each from the Schools of Nursing and Dentistry and five faculty members from the School of Arts & Sciences.

Sts. Mary and Elizabeth Hospital offers bilingual program
Kentucky has the fifth-highest rate of obesity in the country, while the Hispanic population has the highest age-adjusted prevalence of obesity at 47 percent.

To help address these statistics, Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital, part of KentuckyOne Health, has created a bilingual weight loss support program for Spanish-speaking patients seeking bariatric surgery, specifically the Lap Band System. It is the first program of its kind in the country.

A key component of this effort is the addition of a Bilingual Bariatric Care Navigator. Paola Mott, LPN, a native of the Dominican Republic who speaks Spanish as her first language, has six years of nursing experience and earned a certificate as a medial interpreter from Catholic Charities.

CHI Saint Joseph Health Foundations awarded grants

Three CHI Saint Joseph Health Foundations have been awarded more than $30,000 total in grants from Susan G. Komen Kentucky to support women’s health initiatives. These funds help to expand breast health resources provided by the foundations, including breast cancer screenings and treatments, as well as financial assistance and other support for underserved women in Kentucky.

Baptist Health Lexington third best hospital

Baptist Health Lexington tied for third in Kentucky, in the 2019-20 U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals ranking. The hospital, along with sister hospital Baptist Health Louisville (which also tied for third in the state) is also listed as being “Recognized in the Bluegrass Region” which encompasses both cities.

Baptist Health as a system had three hospitals ranked by U.S. News & World Report for Kentucky as Baptist Health Paducah was ranked sixth. This is the first time for Baptist Health Paducah to be ranked in the Best Hospitals survey.

XLerateHealth selects healthcare startups

XLerateHealth (XLH), a healthcare accelerator based in Louisville, Kentucky, announced the selection of nine startup companies to join its 2019 Louisville accelerator cohort.

XLH was founded to help startup healthcare companies successfully commercialize their businesses. The 75 companies in XLH’s portfolio cover a broad range of healthcare domains including biomedical devices, diagnostics, drug therapies, digital health, telemedicine, healthcare services and aging care. Each company selected in the accelerator cohort will complete a 12-week bootcamp.

XLH Louisville is funded by the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development as part of the Regional Innovation for Startups and Entrepreneurs (RISE) grant and is part of the Louisville Entrepreneurship Acceleration Partnership (LEAP). XLerateHealth’s 2019 Louisville cohort includes:

  • Assay Me (New York) has developed an at-home test kit for monitoring diabetes.
  • Briocare (Frisco, Texas) has developed an AI-driven Senior Care platform that uses voice technology to eliminate caregiver anxiety while improving the quality of life for seniors.
  • Cellgorithmics (Chicago, Illinois) is developing a proprietary CRISPR/Cas9 based, genetic programming platform technology that converts cells into biological computers using DNA based instructions that read like lines of code.
  • Clinitraq (Irvine, California) helps capture and analyze radiation data for healthcare workers through The Smart Radiation Dosimeter device that uses real-time location-based radiation dosimetry IoT technology.
  • DSC Technologies (Louisville, Kentucky) is developing a point-of-care blood plasma assay to distinguish between Type I and Type II heart attacks.
  • Hardin Scientific (Los Angeles, California) designs and manufactures smart, modular laboratory equipment to aid research and diagnostic companies in the discovery of life-saving treatments and pharmaceuticals.
  • Kare Mobile (Louisville, Kentucky) is an innovative mobile platform and app for concierge style dental treatment on demand.
  • NohoMed (New York) has developed an intelligent monitoring system that detects COPD exacerbations early.
  • Prodigy Biosciences (Louisville, Kentucky) has developed a personalized, innovative approach to food testing and allergy management.

CHFS launches insurance program

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) has launched a new Medicaid program. The Kentucky Integrated Health Insurance Premium Payment (KI-HIPP) program helps eligible Medicaid members cover the cost of an employer-sponsored health insurance plan.

Kentuckians qualify for KI-HIPP if they or a member of their household are eligible for Medicaid and have access to comprehensive and cost-effective health insurance through their job. When a member enrolls, KI-HIPP pays them for their share of the cost of the insurance premium.

In addition to saving taxpayer dollars, KI-HIPP provides Medicaid members with access to an expanded network of healthcare providers and more affordable individual and family care without the loss of Medicaid benefits.

As an added benefit, the program may allow an entire family to be on the same plan and access the same doctors.

PharmaCord expands into Jeffersonville

PharmaCord, a Louisville-based company that provides customized patient support services, is investing more than $52 million to establish an operations center in Jeffersonville, Indiana. This expansion will create up to 850 new jobs by the end of 2023.

PharmaCord serves as a connector between pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers, doctors and payers. The company provides services to ensure patients receive specialty medications prescribed to them. The company was founded in 2017 with fewer than 20 employees and expects to reach 200 by the end of the year.

Norton Healthcare hospitals recognized

Norton Healthcare hospitals were recognized today during a presentation by the American Heart Association with Mission: Lifeline Gold Plus and Gold awards for the treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks.

Norton Hospital received the Mission: Lifeline Receiving Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award, the highest achievement given. Norton Audubon and Norton Brownsboro hospitals both received Mission: Lifeline Receiving Gold Quality Achievement Awards.

UofL to assume KentuckyOne Louisville assets

To prevent the closure of struggling Jewish Hospital and other vital Louisville-area medical facilities, the University of Louisville has reached an agreement to assume KentuckyOne Health’s Louisville-area assets.

UofL will pay $10 million to acquire the assets from KentuckyOne’s parent company, CommonSpirit Health. As part of the agreement, CommonSpirit will forgive $19.7 million in outstanding promissory notes from University Medical Center Inc. UofL will receive more than $76 million of working capital in the form of accounts receivable and cash to meet future operating expenses.

The purchase includes:

  • Jewish Hospital, including the Outpatient Center, Rudd Heart and Lung Center, offices and parking garages
  • Frazier Rehab Institute
  • Mary & Elizabeth Hospital
  • Our Lady of Peace hospital
  • Jewish Hospital Shelbyville
  • Jewish Medical Centers East, Northeast, South and Southwest
  • Physician groups affiliated with KentuckyOne

To help secure the purchase, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin and Economic Development Cabinet Secretary Vivek Sarin have pledged support for a $50 million, 20-year loan, half of which will be forgiven if the university meets certain criteria in areas of employment or service to currently underserved areas of the community and commonwealth. Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers and Speaker of the House

Two local foundations, the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence and the Jewish Hospital and St. Mary’s Healthcare Foundation, also are investing in the future of the facilities, contributing $10 million and $40 million, to be paid over four years, respectively.

Approved by the UofL Board of Trustees, the sale is expected to close Nov. 1, pending regulatory approvals and the consent of the Catholic Church, which must approve the sale of Sts. Mary & Elizabeth and Our Lady of Peace. As part of the agreement, the facilities will be branded under the UofL Health umbrella. UofL will assume management of the facilities upon closing.

The University of Louisville will remove the religious naming elements of the formerly Catholic hospitals it’s planning to acquire. It will not be changing the name of Jewish Hospital.

$9M in grants for Kentucky’s opioid crisis

Vice President Mike Pence traveled to the Eastern Kentucky University to talk about the Innovative Readiness Training program, which aims to provide medical care and infrastructure needs to rural and underprivileged communities.

He also announced $10 million in federal grants to help fight Kentucky’s opioid epidemic as a part of a total of $400 million that the Department of Health and Human Services awarded.

The funding includes more than $3.5 million in Integrated Behavioral Health Services awards which will support 21 health centers across the state. The Kentucky Rural Health Information Technology Network in Corbin and Northern Kentucky University will each receive $1 million in Rural Communities Opioid Response Program awards. St. Claire Medical Center in Morehead will receive $725,000 in medication-assisted treatment funding.

The University of Kentucky and the University of Pikeville are receiving $1.35 million and $750,000 respectively for Opioid Workforce Expansion Program training.

Community Healthcare employees rally

Community Healthcare employees rallied in August to raise awareness about the hospital’s financial problems and to try to avert its closure.

Pineville Community Healthcare will no longer receive city funding, partially due to auction company Tranzon’s decision to delay bidding in the auctioning of the hospital. As a result, the hospital is looking for potential buyers as it tries to stay afloat.

Pineville Community Healthcare, formerly called Southeastern Kentucky Medical Center, was owned and operated by the Pineville Community Hospital Association until 2017, when it entered into an agreement with Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Americore Health. The hospital association owns the hospital real estate, but other assets were sold to Americore.

The hospital has struggled to keep its doors open and lost Medicare and Medicaid funding, prompting the city to take control of it after it was seized in bankruptcy.

The city in July decided to bid on the hospital “to protect the current assets and to continue to ensure the availability of quality healthcare for the general public.”

But when the city found out it would not be the highest bidder and would not operate the hospital, it decided in August to cut off its funding.

UofL’s Envirome Institute to support community health

A new online data resource hosted by the Envirome Institute will allow citizen scientists and researchers to access and contribute to public knowledge about the health of the air, water and soil in Greater Louisville.

Louisville Data Commons is a new online data repository available to anyone interested in the state of our local environment or involved in citizen science or related data-gathering projects.

To provide credibility for the data, Louisville Data Commons is hosted by the Envirome Institute and governed by a volunteer board of community members. These community members will ensure the data sets maintained on the site are reliable, objective and useful to researchers. Members of the volunteer board will review data submitted by the public or non-profit organizations prior to making it available within the portal.

Appalachian Regional Healthcare acquires hospital

Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) has finalized the purchase of the Highlands Regional Medical Center in Prestonsburg, Kentucky, and its associated clinics and home health operations in Floyd, Johnson and Magoffin counties.

ARH assumed ownership and operations of the facilities in early August. The 192-bed Highlands will operate under the new name Highlands ARH Regional Medical Center and will become the 13th member of the ARH system.

Pathways offers youth mental health aid

Pathways, Inc. and the Tri-County Kentucky Agency for Substance Abuse Policy (KY- ASAP) Local Board partnered to offer Mental Health First Aid for Youth training in August.

Mental Health First Aid for Youth is an interactive curriculum focused on helping youth, ages 12-18, who may be experiencing a mental health challenge or crisis.

The training is a public education program which introduces participants to the unique risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems and how they differ from typical adolescent development and builds understanding of the importance of early intervention when warning signs are present.

Norton Healthcare earns LGBTQ designation

Norton Healthcare’s five hospitals and Norton Cancer Institute have been named LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leaders by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation for the second year in a row.

Norton Healthcare was one of 406 facilities nationwide to earn a top score of 100 points and receive the LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader designation.

The 12th edition of the HEI assesses participants on four criteria: non-discrimination and staff training, patient services and support, employee benefits and policies, and patient and community engagement. Facilities that receive the maximum score in each section earn the status as a 2019 LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader.

State launches health information exchange

The Kentucky Health Information Exchange has launched a new platform with enhanced functionality and features for health providers across the commonwealth.

The updated system was unveiled at the 2019 eHealth Summit in Lexington. KHIE is administered by the Division of Health Information, within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. The secure, statewide network allows providers to locate and share electronic medical records to improve care of the patient.

More than 100 hospitals and approximately 2,500 ambulatory healthcare sites are connected through KHIE. The system is designed to improve the quality, safety and efficiency of care.



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