Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson spoke to the Kentucky Chamber’s Health and Wellness Council last Wednesday on the new statewide initiative, kyhealthnow, which aims to improve the state’s collective health. Kyhealthnow targets seven major health goals to be met within five years, by 2019:
- Health insurance – Reduce Kentucky’s rate of uninsured individuals to less than 5 percent
- Smoking – Reduce Kentucky’s smoking rate by 10 percent
- Obesity – Reduce the rate of obesity among Kentuckians by 10 percent
- Cancer – Reduce Kentucky cancer deaths by 10 percent
- Cardiovascular Disease – Reduce cardiovascular deaths by 10 percent
- Dental Decay – Reduce the percentage of children with untreated dental decay by 25 percent, and the percentage of adults with 6 or more teeth missing by 10 percent
- Drug Addiction – Reduce deaths from drug overdose by 25 percent, and reduce the average number of poor mental health days of Kentuckians by 25 percent.
The next day, numerous health minded groups were asked to present in front of the kyhealthnow advisory council, which is co-chaired by the Lt. Gov. and the Commissioner of Public Health, Dr. Stephanie Mayfield, and membership is made up of the Cabinet Secretaries. Chamber Manager of Public Affairs, Ashli Watts, presented on behalf of the Chamber on the need for a smoke free workplace law.
The Chamber commends the Governor and Lt. Governor for acknowledging that Kentucky’s poor health status has a significant impact on the business community by increasing employers’ health care costs, contributing to higher costs for public health programs and hindering our ability to hire a healthy and productive workforce.