The CommonHealth of Kentucky

A 13-part KET production aimed at improving the health of all Kentuckians by sharing health and wellness projects from across the state that are succeeding in making their communities healthier.

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a project of KET’s Be Well Kentucky initiative

Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky
The CommonHealth of Kentucky is a 2005 KET production. Produced in partnership with the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Kentucky Homeplace

Perry County

Kentucky Homeplace, Center for Rural Health, 750 Morton Blvd., Hazard, KY 41701, (606) 439-3557

Kentucky Homeplace, a program of the University of Kentucky’s Center for Rural Health, does not directly provide health care. Instead, its purpose is to help people who believe they have no access to health care find and use the services they are entitled to. Since 1994, its lay workers, known as Family Health Care Advisors, have been fanning out across 58 counties in eastern, western, and southern Kentucky to help people navigate the often bewildering health care system.

Given the high levels of asthma, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and other chronic conditions in the area it serves, Kentucky Homeplace places particular emphasis on preventive services. Homeplace workers often connect people with services that will help them better manage a condition so that it doesn’t become life-threatening. They also gather data for long-term studies of health conditions in the area in order to help define the most urgent needs.

Homeplace staff members are hired from within the communities they serve, making it easier for people to open up to them about health problems. The advisors visit people at home to assess health needs, then serve as advocates for their clients by providing information about available care, helping to fill out paperwork or obtain medications, or even arranging transportation to medical appointments.

Paul Vance, a Homeplace worker from Pine Top, explains that the people he serves are not necessarily poor or needy—just isolated from the information they need.

“They are people who have worked their whole lives. They’ve saved and made a good life,” he says. “And now they’ve gotten older, they’ve gotten sick.... [And] the cost of medicines is just eroding all their savings away.”

In many cases, people caught in such a financial bind will elect to do without medical care as long as they can. By intervening earlier, Homeplace can not only improve the quality of life for the client, but also save money in the long run. An internal audit of the program’s first nine months estimated that it had saved approximately $1.2 million in health care costs by averting institutionalization and hospitalization and finding free care for people who would have done without until their condition required extensive and costly treatment.

600 Cooper Drive, Lexington, KY 40502 (859) 258-7000 (800) 432-0951