Clinic prepares for healthcare changes
BARDWELL, Ky. - The director of a local, free healthcare clinic fears patients who need the most help might not be able to get it after parts of the Affordable Care Act go into effect.
Next year, the new law will force those families to buy into a state-administered health insurance plan. That creates a double-edged scalpel. Even with the insurance plan, some doctors may refuse it and turn patients away. And because they have insurance, those patients might not qualify for free clinics.
An Arkansas healthcare provider says they have the answer for those patients and they've set up shop in our area.
KentuckyCare's first clinic opened 13 months ago in Bardwell. They've served over 3,000 patients. Now, they're expanding their operation.
Scott Hayden's son missed school Monday because of illness. That meant a trip to the clinic.
"I got insurance and I could go to Paducah but I'd rather come right here," Hayden said.
Most of KentuckyCare's patients don't have health insurance. KentuckyCare corporate development officer Chris Gibson said he fears the federally mandated insurance exchange program will make things harder on people who are currently uninsured and qualify for free care.
At this time it's still unclear which doctors will accept the state insurance exchange patients. Lennis Thompson with the St. Nicholas Free Clinic in Paducah tells WPSD Local 6 his clinic is currently unable to accept people with health insurance. However, they're working on partnering with KentuckyCare so they'll be able to accept the Kentucky health insurance exchange patients in January.