Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Feds tell Bevin basics of dismantling Kynect; former policy chief says using federal exchange could limit choice, raise costs

The federal government has told Republican Gov. Matt Bevin what he will need to do to shut down Kynect, the health-insurance exchange started by his Democratic predecessor, Gov. Steve Beshear, and the letter from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services makes clear that it will be a complicated task.

Bevin has said Kynect performs no functions that can't be handled by the federal insurance exchange, but Emily Parento, who ran the state Office of Health Policy for Beshear, says in an op-ed published in Kentucky newspapers the change might lead to "higher costs and less choice" for those who buy exchange policies.

In a Dec. 30 letter, Bevin gave formal notice to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that he plans to dismantle Kynect “as soon as is practicable.” Joe Sonka reports for Insider Louisville that the agency replied to Bevin in a letter dated Jan. 28 "outlining the steps that must be taken to do so before the enrollment period for next year begins." A copy of the letter accompanies Sonka's story.

Andrew Slavitt, acting administrator of HHS's Medicare-Medicaid center, told Bevin, “Ceasing Kynect will create a number of challenges that must be addressed to ensure that access to affordable health coverage continues for Kentucky’s consumers.”

To “ensure a smooth transition,” Slavitt wrote, the state needs “a detailed plan for how Kentucky will continue to meet its obligations” to serve Kynect customers for the rest of 2016. While enrollment has closed, except for former customers of the failed Kentucky Health Cooperative, Medicaid enrollment is open year-round, and Slavitt said Kynect will still need to “process changes in circumstances or special enrollment periods for 2016 current and new enrollees.”

Bevin spokeswoman Jessica Ditto told Sonka, “The letter from HHS is a fair representation of the expectations that were communicated to us regarding the process moving forward. We are in active and ongoing communications with CMS and are working collaboratively to ensure a smooth transition to the federal exchange.”

The letter from CMS notes that if insurance companies plan to offer Kentucky policies on the federal exchange, they must apply to that exchange this spring, probably from April 11 to May 11, Sonka reports.

Kynect Director Carrie Banahan said in August that fewer companies might participate if they had to offer plans through the federal exchange, and Parento made a similar argument in her newspaper op-ed, noting that insurers offered 60 plans through Kynect in the latest enrollment period, half again as many as the 40 offered in the previous year. She said that was "a direct result of the effective work of the team at Kynect, in working with insurers."

Parento also argued that Kynect has saved customers money, because it has "the lowest median premiums among surrounding states (plus Arkansas) for silver-level family plans, the most widely selected level of plan. The average premium in those states was nearly 10 percent higher — approximately $642 per month compared to Kentucky’s rate of $585 per month. . . . Among all of those states, Kentucky is the only one with a state-based exchange."

The federal government gave Kentucky $289 million to create Kynect, but the state has almost $58 million of the grants remaining. Slavitt told Bevin that the state will have to return the money — and "will have to cover the costs of setting up its own system to enroll" people in Medicaid, Sonka reports.

Emily Beauregard, executive director of Kentucky Voices for Health, a coalition of health-reform advocates, told Sonka that the loss of “kynectors” assisting consumers on the state exchange “could limit access to coverage for those who need it the most” because 430,000 Kentuckians enrolled in Medicaid through Kynect.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Kentuckians split on policy changes to deter teen tobacco use; split on increasing cigarette tax by $1, OK with raising legal age

When it comes to state policies to discourage smoking, Kentuckians are evenly divided on whether to increase the state's tax on a pack of cigarettes by $1, but support raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21, according to a recent Kentucky Health Issues Poll.

The poll, taken Sept. 17-Oct. 7, found that 60 percent of Kentucky adults favor raising the legal age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21, while 37 percent oppose this change. This support was the same among Republicans and Democrats at 61 percent, and only slightly less popular among independents, at 55 percent. The poll's error margin is plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.

"Raising the minimum legal age to buy tobacco serves as a deterrent to keep teenagers from starting tobacco use," Susan Zepeda, CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, said in a news release. "While KHIP shows mixed opinions about increasing cigarette taxes, the data clearly indicates the majority of Kentucky adults recognize the need to try and keep young people from starting tobacco use by raising the minimum legal age to purchase tobacco products."

Only one state, Hawaii, has increased the minimum legal age for buying tobacco products to 21, but 115 local jurisdictions in nine states have done so, the foundation said.

Sixty-four percent of Kentuckians who had never smoked favored raising the legal age to 21. Among current and former smokers, 57 percent endorsed the change.

But when it comes to raising taxes to discourage smoking, Kentuckians are split.

CLICK ON IMAGE FOR LARGER VERSION
A slight majority, 51 percent, oppose a policy change that would increase the 60-cent tax on a pack of cigarettes to $1, with 45 percent supporting it. Again, Republicans and Democrats showed equal support, at 50 percent; and 53 percent of independents opposed the idea.

Kentucky is one of 11 states with a cigarette tax of 60 cents or less, the foundation noted. Raising the tax by $1 would bring the tax nearly to the $1.61 overall national average. according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

Kentucky already has a higher cigarette tax than most of tobacco states: Virginia (30 cents), North Carolina (45 cents), South Carolina (57 cents), Georgia (37 cents) and Tennessee (62 cents). The average for these states is 48.5 cents per pack. The average tax in non-tobacco states is $1.76 per pack, says the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

Not surprisingly, 85 percent of current smokers oppose an increase in the cigarette tax to $1. Supporting the tax are 59 percent of those who have never smoked and 51 percent of former smokers.

Kentucky has the second highest rate of adult smoking in the nation, 26.5 percent. The national average is 18.1 percent, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

About 18 percent of high-school students smoke traditional cigarettes, and 24 percent use e-cigarettes, Elizabeth Hoagland, youth tobacco-policy specialist with the state health department, said in October on Kentucky Educational Television. She added that 30 percent of youth who experiment with smoking will go on to become daily smokers.

The poll was conducted by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati for the foundation and Interact for Health, formerly the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati. It surveyed a random sample of 1,608 Kentucky adults via landlines and cell phones.

Nation sees increase in Obamacare enrollment, while Kynect numbers drop, but members of failed co-op can still enroll

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

While the nation saw an increase of 4 million people sign up for private health insurance during the 2015-16 open enrollment period that ended Jan. 31, Kentucky saw a decline of 12,247. But the gap could decrease as people who were members of the failed Kentucky Health Cooperative get more time to sign up.

In Kentucky, 93,687 people signed up for private health insurance on Kynect, the state's online health insurance marketplace, during the enrollment period, Jill MidKiff, spokeswoman for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, said in an e-mail.

During the 2014-15 enrollment, she said a total of 105,877 Kentuckians signed up for private health insurance plans through Kynect: 102,830 of them during the regular 2015 open enrollment period and an additional 3,047 during a special, later period.

"There are many reasons this number may vary from last year," Midkiff said. "Some who enrolled last year may now have a job that offers health insurance benefits so they no longer need to buy an individual plan. Others may have lost their jobs and their income has now dropped low enough for them to qualify for Medicaid. Others may now have reached age 65 and have transitioned to Medicare. Some others may have purchased a private insurance plan outside of the exchange."

She also said another factor that likely affected enrollment is that about half of those with Kynect plan had to find new coverage for 2016 because the Kentucky Health Cooperative went out of business.

"Of the 102,830 individuals who enrolled in a private insurance plan through Kynect in 2015, 51,000 were in the KYHC," Midkiff said. "Of those, 36,003 have now enrolled in another plan through Kynect this year. Of that number, 33,626 have enrolled in another private insurance plan and 2,377 now meet income eligibility requirements for Medicaid."

That leaves 15,000 co-op members unaccounted for. Those who lost their co-op insurance still have until Feb. 29 to sign up for coverage under a provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that allows up to 60 days from the loss of coverage to enroll through a special enrollment period, Midkiff said.

Nationwide, federal health officials reported Feb. 4 that nearly 13 million people signed up for health insurance for 2016 on the state and federal exchanges, an increase of 4 million new people on the federal exchanges alone, Jayne O'Donnell reports for USA Today. Health officials also noted that of the 9.6 million consumers who got coverage through the federal exchange for 2016, about 42 percent of them were new to it.

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said on a news-media call that many of the newly insured were 18 to 34, which includes more new, young enrollees than last year, O'Donnell reports.

Andrew Slavitt, acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told O'Donnell that the agency's marketing that emphasized the penalties increased enrollment, coupled with "deadline-consumers, suggests a greater number of healthy new enrollees."

The penalty for not having health insurance this year is 2.5 percent of your income, or $695 per adult and $347 per child, with a maximum of $2,085 per family, whichever is higher.

The success of health reform depends on young, healthy people to enroll and pool the risk with older, sicker policyholders whose healthcare cost will likely exceed their premiums. This has been a challenge for participating insurance companies, along with funding restrictions that Republicans added to the 2015 omnibus spending bill that decreased funds to the "risk corridor" program that helps insurance companies deal with losses from such policyholders.

Health economist John Goodman, who opposes the ACA, told O'Donnell that this "social experiment" was an "overall failure" because "for every person insured in the exchanges there are almost three others who have elected to remain uninsured." Goodman also said that the ACA enrollees tend to be those who get the highest subsidies or are the sickest and suggested that people find ways to "game the system" by signing up for health care, but drop it after they get treatment. Others, he noted, will drop their coverage by September, "if last year is a guide."

Critics complained last year that the ACA enrollment numbers didn't reflect plans that were cancelled until much later, but this year CMS enrollment numbers will reflect people whose plans are canceled in real-time, O'Donnell reports.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Clinton County Healthy Hometown Coalition publishes testimonials from local residents who turned their health around

Part of the reason for news coverage of health topics is to help readers, listeners and viewers live healthier lives. That usually requires a change in their behavior, which doesn't come easy. One of the better motivators can be personal testimonies from people in similar situations. That approach is being taken by the Clinton County Healthy Hometown Coalition, a project funded by the Healthy Hometowns program of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

The coalition has a column in the weekly Clinton County News, where coordinator April Speck often shares the stories of people who adopted healthier lifestyles: losing weight, increasing physical activity, eating more fruits and vegetables and so on. Right: most recent example; click on it for larger version.

"We started highlighting folks mainly because it's more personal to show success rather than talk about it," Speck told Kentucky Health News. She said the series is also "a personal tribute my brother, who helped inspire [us] saluting folks." Derek Beaty began "making healthy choices, eating right and exercising daily," decreased his body-mass index and lost 53 pounds, she said.

Speck said she has had no trouble finding examples after the first one. "Once I highlighted the first person then I was getting emails, calls and ideas of other folks, so basically the community helped me recruit folks," she said. So far, there have been eight columns with personal examples, and "We will continue to highlight folks who have made healthy lifestyle changes," she said.

Of course, a community doesn't need a a foundation-funded coalition to learn about local lifestyle changes that make a difference and set an example. All it needs is a newspaper or other media outlet that seeks out these uplifting stories.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Pineville Community Hospital restructures debt and creates a geriatric psychiatric unit; 326 jobs saved and 12 new ones created

A combination of local, state and federal efforts have saved more than 300 Pineville Community Hospital jobs and created 12 new ones, according to a Kentucky Highlands Investment Corp. news release.

KHIC worked with First State Financial and the hospital to restructure the hospital's existing debt into a $3.1 million Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which allowed the bank to provide private working capital through a $3 million line of credit from First State, according to the release.

“The $3.1 million USDA loan guarantee is important to the Pineville community in many ways: It provides residents access to quality health care, supports the employment of 326 employees and allowed for the creation of 12 additional jobs,” Tom Fern, Kentucky director for USDA Rural Development, said in the release. “In a time when the region has seen a significant loss of employment, these existing and new jobs being created by Pineville Community Hospital are critical.”

In addition to restructuring its existing debt, the hospital used some of the funds to convert an unused labor-and-deliver wing into a 12-bed geriatric psychiatric unit and used other funds for repairs.

“Research showed this type of service was not being offered within 30-mile radius, which affects more than 38,000 residents," hospital CEO Stace Holland said in the release.

U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers said in the release. “I commend the board of directors for not only diligently working to protect the jobs at this facility, but for having the vision to expand health care in an area under-served for mental-health concerns.”

Parent firm of Medical Center at Bowling Green takes over bankrupt Albany hospital, adding to its regional network

"Commonwealth Health Corp. has assumed management of Clinton County Hospital effective immediately," Alyssa Harvey reports for the Bowling Green Daily News. The parent firm of The Medical Center at Bowling Green plans to complete its acquisition of the Albany hospital, which has been in bankruptcy, in March. After that it will be called The Medical Center at Albany.

The company also has acquired and given similar names to the old Caverna Memorial Hospital in Horse Cave and similar facilities in Franklin and Scottsville. The Albany hospital is the greatest distance from Bowling Green, 88 miles. It is in a county of 10,000 on the Tennessee border south of Lake Cumberland.

CHC Vice President Doris Thomas said, "We know how important community hospitals are and how important it is to have good quality health care close to home, so we're happy to provide this to the residents of Clinton County. Acquiring the Clinton County Hospital will help us further our mission."

J.D. Mullins, former administrator of the 42-bed hospital, told Harvey that it has been housing 13 to 17 patients a day and treating about 16 per day in its emergency department. It recently converted one floor to a skilled nursing facility.

The hospital has blamed its problems on federal budget cuts and changes in Medicare and Medicaid, which provide more than 80 percent of the hospital's revenue -- particularly the managed-care companies that oversee Medicaid. It was also burdened by a nearly $18 million debt on a federal loan it used to expand and modernize in 2008. The Department of Agriculture forgave just over half the debt last summer.

The move continues a round of consolidations involving rural hospitals in Southern Kentucky. TJ Samson Community Hospital of Glasgow is buying the bankrupt Westlake Regional Hospital in Columbia. A study by the state auditor's office last year said as many as one-third of Kentucky's rural hospitals are in financial trouble.

Health cabinet offers no budget-cut details at committee meeting; legislators say they need this information to draft budget

Democrats on the state House Budget Subcommittee on Human Services pressed the Cabinet for Health and Family Services for more details on how it planned to implement Republican Gov. Matt Bevin's proposed budget cuts of 4.5 percent in the fiscal year that ends June 30 and 9 percent in the upcoming biennium, Kevin Wheatley reports for cn|2's "Pure Politics."

"The CHFS budget includes proposals to raise wages for social workers, assist community mental health centers and local health departments with rising retirement cost and increase funding for child advocacy centers, among others," Wheatley notes.

The budget will not cut Medicaid funding, Bevin said at his Jan. 26 budget speech, although his administration is negotiating with federal officials for changes to the program to make it less costly. In the same speech, he also promised to end the Medicaid expansion if this is not accomplished.

Former Gov. Steve Beshear, under federal health reform, expanded Medicaid to include those with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level to join the program. Since then, Medicaid has added about 425,000 Kentuckians to its rolls.

Secretary Vickie Yates Brown Glisson
CHFS Secretary Vickie Yates Brown Glisson told the committee Feb. 3 that her staff was "still considering what to cut within social services, public health, aging services, mental health and other key areas that fall within her cabinet," Deborah Yetter reports for The Courier-Journal.

Glisson said it would be early March before she would have more answers about the cuts, although she believed they would not impact the cabinet's essential services, Wheatley reported.

The lack of detail didn't set well with the lawmakers, Wheatley noted. Committee member Rep. Jim Wayne, D-Louisville, told Glisson that they needed this information sooner than that so the House, which originates the budget legislation, could have time to get it drafted and sent to the Senate for action.

“The process here is that we need to review this budget and we need to know its impact as soon as possible because we’ve started this process now, and essentially you’re saying, ‘I don’t have the information to give you to do the work that you as the committee members need to do,’” Wayne said. “So two weeks is really, in this process, I think is long.”

Rep. George Brown, D-Lexington, asked exactly how much it was going to cost the state to dismantle Kynect, the health-insurance exchange Beshear created, and move to the federal exchange. Beshear’s administration said moving to the federal exchange would cost the state $23 million, but Bevin has disputed that amount, apparently expecting the federal government to pay most of the bill.

Andrew McNeill, a senior adviser to Bevin, told the committee the administration had some "preliminary quotes" that weren't "anywhere close" to the previously cited $23 million, but couldn't share them because they weren't final. He also said the 1 percent assessment on insurers to pay for Kynect would be used to dismantle it.

Rep. David Watkins, a Henderson Democrat and retired physician, expressed his disappointment in losing Kynect, saying the exchange helped Kentuckians get coverage and often helped people discover they were eligible for Medicaid: "It is going to be much harder for them to sign up for the programs available to them."

Wheatley reports, "Glisson said the cabinet will have a new computer system available at its local offices for residents to enroll in health coverage through the federal exchange or in Medicaid. She also suggested that some 'Kynectors', or workers hired to help residents navigate the state exchange, could remain during the transition."

Rep. Addia Wuchner from Burlington was the only Republican lawmaker who spoke during Wednesday’s meeting, "praising Bevin’s budget proposal and saying that access to health care doesn’t necessarily improve health outcomes," Wheatley reports.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Kentucky leads the nation in percentage reduction of citizens without health insurance, according to Gallup polling

Kentucky and Arkansas continue to lead the nation in reduction of the percentage of their people without health insurance, according to polling by Gallup Inc.

They were the only Southern states to expand Medicaid and have a state health-insurance marketplace under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

In both states the uninsured rate was cut by well over half. Kentucky's dropped to 7.5 percent from 20.4 percent; Arkansas' dropped to 9.6 percent from 22.5 percent.


Both states registered a decline of 12.9 percentage points, but in percentage terms, Kentucky's was larger, 63.2 percent, to Arkansas' 57.3 percent. Oregon's rate declined 62.3 percent, for second place.

With 7.5 percent still uninsured, Kentucky still trails several states in the percentage of population that does have health insurance, as illustrated by this map from Gallup:

"Americans' attitudes about the health law known as 'Obamacare' have shown little change since 2013," Dan Witters reports for Gallup. "More Americans continue to disapprove of the law than approve of it, even as uninsured rates for nearly all states have declined since that time. Political identity is closely related to approval or disapproval of the ACA, so entrenched attitudes toward the Obama presidency are likely driving the stability in Americans' views of the ACA."

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Share of Kentuckians without health coverage dropped to 7% in third quarter, lower than all neighboring states except W. Va.

Illustrations are from the report; click on images for larger versions
An ongoing study of federal health reform's impact in Kentucky has found that Medicaid expansion continues to help lower the number of Kentuckians without health coverage, which dropped to 7 percent in the third quarter of 2015. The uninsured rate was 9.8 percent in 2014, the first year of the expansion and federally subsidized health insurance. In 2013, it was 20.4 percent.

This rate is lower than the U.S. uninsured rate of 10.6 percent and "significantly lower" than four of the seven adjoining states plus Arkansas, said the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. The foundation is paying the State Health Access Data Assistance Center at the University of Minnesota more than $280,000 to study how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is affecting Kentuckians. Data from this third-quarter report covers the July-September period.

Under health reform, then-Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, allowed those with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level to enroll in Medicaid. Republican Gov. Matt Bevin's administration is negotiating with federal officials for changes to the program that would make it less costly. The federal government is paying for the expansion through this year; next year states will start paying 5 percent, rising in annual steps to the law's limit of 10 percent in 2020.

Bevin has said that Kentucky can't afford to pay for the expansion. During his Jan. 26 budget speech said of the negotiations with federal officials, "If we cannot get it done we will not have the ability to have expanded Medicaid in the state of Kentucky."

One of the essential health benefits of the reform law is free preventive health care, a benefit that thousands of newly insured Kentuckians have used.

The study found that during from July to September, Medicaid funded 1,180 diabetes screenings; 9,806 breast cancer screenings; 6,227 colon cancer screenings, with 5,561 of those for Medicaid expansion participants; and 82,056 dental services. In addition, Medicaid paid for 7,797 deliveries.

Treatment for substance abuse increased to 7,993 people during this quarter, up from 6,660 in the last quarter. The total included 5,758 Medicaid expansion participants.

This year, Kentuckians shopping for health insurance had more plans than ever to choose from on the state's online health insurance marketplace, Kynect. The report noted that the exchange offered 60 plans in the enrollment period that ended Jan. 31, compared to 40 the year before.

And compared to Kentucky's neighboring states, the study found that Kynect had the lowest median premiums for the "silver" level plan at $585.01. This was based on premiums for a 30-year-old couple with two children.

Bevin says he will abolish Kynect and have Kentuckians use the federal exchange; it remains to be seen whether insurers will put as many, more or fewer Kentucky plans on that exchange.

The study found that Medicaid enrollment remains concentrated in Eastern Kentucky, with 31 percent of the total; followed by Western Kentucky with 26 percent.

Apollo 8 and 13 astronaut Jim Lovell to speak at UK Center on Aging Foundation's annual fund-raising dinner April 7

Capt. Jim Lovell
Apollo 8 and 13 astronaut Jim Lovell will be the keynote speaker at the University of Kentucky Center on Aging Foundation annual dinner at the Lexington Center's Bluegrass Ballroom April 7. Proceeds from the event will support Alzheimer's disease research, education and clinical programs at the center.

Lovell, 87, is best known for his calm, careful command of his final space flight to the moon on Apollo 13 in 1970 when he reiterated those famous words, "Houston, we've had a problem." This happened after an explosion two days into the flight caused the mission to be aborted and Lovell and his crew had to convert their lunar module "Aquarius" into a lifeboat to get home safely.

Lovell was the pilot on Gemini 7, which involved the first manned spacecraft rendezvous; commander of Gemini 12; and command module pilot of Apollo 8, the first manned mission to orbit the moon. Lovell and his two crewmates gave humans their first long-range view of our planet and read a passage from the creation story in Genesis on Christmas Eve.

Individual tickets to the event are $175 and table sponsorships start at $1,500. For more information contact the foundation office at 859-323-5374 or click here for more information.

KentuckyOne Health promoting whole-food, plant-based diet, named No. 1 for heart health by U.S. news panel of experts

One in every eight Kentuckians suffers from diabetes, and the state ranks 12th in adult obesity, with 31.6 percent of its adults obese and 39 percent suffering high blood pressure, according to the State of Obesity report. These diagnosis generally results in recommendations for exercise and changes in diet, but what kind of diet?

KentuckyOne Health is promoting the Ornish Diet, a whole-food, plant-based diet that is naturally low in both fat and refined carbohydrates. The hospital chain says it is the only health-care provider in the state to offer the diet, starting in Louisville in July 2015 and in Lexington in October.

The diet was named the No. 1 Best Heart-Healthy Diet for the sixth year in a row by U.S. News & World Report. The magazine ranked it fourth Best Diabetes Diet, 11th Best Diet for Healthy Eating and 11th best overall diet. Nutrition and health experts determined the U.S. News rankings after reviewing information on 38 diet plans.

The first group of KentuckyOne patients using the diet averaged a loss of 7.5 pounds; three patients lowered their blood-pressure medication; and one patient who had diabetes came off his insulin and another is discussing coming off cholesterol medication after 25 years, according to a KentuckyOne news release.

The diet is part of the Ornish Reversal Program, which also includes exercise, meditation and cardiac rehabilitation strategies that include group support, the release said.

“It’s been amazing to see the interest we’ve had in the program from people across the state,” said Alice Bridges, vice president of healthy communities for KentuckyOne. “So much so, that even we’ve been surprised by it. I think we’re at a tipping point culturally where there is more openness to this kind of lifestyle change.”

In Kentucky, the Ornish Reversal Program is reimbursed for qualified and eligible members of Medicare and Anthem and Aetna insurance plans, and there is a discount for self-paying patients, says the release.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Stephanie Mayfield Gibson, former state health commissioner, assumes new role at KentuckyOne Health

Stephanie Mayfield Gibson
Former state health commissioner Stephanie Mayfield Gibson has joined the leadership team of KentuckyOne Health to coordinate its population health initiatives, according to a KentuckyOne Health news release.

Mayfield Gibson will serve as vice president of population health for KentuckyOne and chief medical officer for KentuckyOne Health Partners, its Medicare-approved accountable care organization.

Mayfield Gibson is a board-certified anatomic and clinical pathologist with 10 years of management experience in public health. She served as the commissioner for the state Department of Public Health from 2012 until the end of the Beshear administration in December 2015.

“From expanding Kentucky’s newborn screening to introducing new tuberculosis and heart disease testing technology, Dr. Mayfield Gibson has proven herself to be a warrior for the health of the people of the Commonwealth,” Don Lovasz, president of KentuckyOne Health Partners, said in the release. “We are thrilled to have a population health veteran like her join our team so we can make even greater strides improving the quality and value of Kentucky health care.”