Health care alliance created to provide services for all

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Reporter - Briana Conner
Photographer - Mike Spissinger

PADUCAH, Ky. — A local community staple is making a change. St. Nicholas Family Clinic is becoming a foundation. The current location is set to become a KentuckyCare community health clinic.

Former St. Nicholas patients will have their services paid for by the new foundation. Unemployed people will pay an adjusted amount based on whatever income they have. People with health care insurance and good paying jobs can also come to the clinic, which gives virtually everyone a place to come in and see a doctor or nurse practitioner.

The KentuckyCare clinic is the result of the affordable care act and an Impact Poverty goal set two years ago. At the time, they thought it would take ten years to open a community health center in McCracken County, but the alliance between St. Nicholas and KentuckyCare made it happen in two.

There's fresh paint on the walls, the floors are clean, and there are brand new supplies being stocked. The KentuckyCare clinic will be up and running September 3. It has a new name and is designed to meet a critical need. KentuckyCare Medical Director John Brazzel said, "There's people dying right here in the area because they have no access to health care."

Brazzel said the new clinic is the remedy. "We don't turn down anyone," he said. The signs of change are evident outside what used to be St. Nicholas Family Clinic. The sign is down, but they say the services provided inside will stay the same, or maybe be better. Interim Director Brandi Harless said, "KentuckyCare is going to hopefully offer more efficient services and expand the services to our patients."

Harless said the Paducah location is part of a trend. "Hopefully as this proves to be a need, KentuckyCare itself will be able to expand," she said.

The first KentuckyCare clinic in Western Kentucky opened in Bardwell about a year and a half ago. Jami Williams is a patient and said, "It's a great place to go for your health care all year round." Her daughter, Abagail Lanier, said the convenience and the care keep them coming back. "They're really nice over here, and they give me the treatment that I think is good," she said.

KentuckyCare provides health care that, like disease, doesn't discriminate. The Paducah KentuckyCare clinic will have a doctor and nurse practitioner on staff for routine services. They will refers patients out to specialists, but usually at a discounted cost when there's a financial issue.

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