The health care environment in Kentucky continues to be challenging and dynamic as we see the benefits of the Medicaid expansion, but also the rising incidence of drug abuse across the commonwealth. We are working to hold our gains and address new challenges with innovative programs and partnerships.
America’s Health Rankings released its annual survey in December 2016. Unfortunately, Kentucky dropped from 44th to 45th in the nation in overall health, mostly because of the challenge of increasing opioid abuse. While this result is disappointing, it does not diminish our resolve to do our part to reverse this and other negative trends.
High incidences of cancer, diabetes and obesity continue to characterize Kentucky compared to other states. We are working hard to improve our prevention efforts for each of these diseases. The Medicaid expansion has made these preventive services more accessible. Our aggressive outreach efforts have raised awareness about prevention, and allowed us to expand our screening services for cancer and educational efforts to address diabetes.
We continue to address risk factors faced by young people in our communities. Violence prevention programs such as Pivot to Peace, PACT in Action and Safe Prom promote healthy relationships and enable young people to make better choices for more productive lives.
Our support for needle exchange programs in Lexington and Louisville helps reduce the spread of a potentially deadly disease, while offering the opportunity for those suffering from addiction to seek the help they need. We will move further “upstream” to address the terrible effects of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, which is a growing threat to future generations of our young people.
In the past, many of these efforts have been initiated in isolation to address problems that are often related to each other. UofL Health has taken a bold step to adopt a “health in all” approach to the care we deliver. We have begun to adopt and integrate key principles of population health management into our delivery system. This means expanding our scope beyond the walls of our hospitals and doctors’ offices into the communities and homes of the people we serve through programs such as Health Connections. It means that we are now in a long-term relationship with the people who seek care with us, walking with them and strengthening their capacity to make healthier choices for themselves.
Through these efforts and with the help of our community partners, we can look to a brighter future of wellness, healing and hope for all, including the underserved.
View the 2016 Community Benefit Report. To view by facility, please select a location below:
Ruth W. Brinkley
President and CEO
Richard A. Schultz