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BULLITT COUNTY, Ky. (WDRB) -- Some local health departments will have to start refusing some patients care.
Because of recent state budget cuts to local health departments across Kentucky, some patients at certain health departments will no longer be served. Across the state, funding to all 59 health departments is being trimmed. Each health department may handle the cuts differently to balance things out.
One solution for the Bullitt County Health Department is to stop serving patients that live outside of the county.
"Years past we always served people from various counties. We didn't care necessarily that they lived in the county or not, but because allocations changed based upon our population size then we really want to give those funds towards the people in Bullitt County," Dr. Swannie Jett, Director of the Bullitt County Health Department explained. The other policy change -- the department will not see patients with private insurance because it often does not get reimbursed. That leaves one group of people the Bullitt County Health Department will see: "We'll still see patients that don't have insurance if they reside in the county," Dr. Jett explained.
The programs most affected by the cuts are Family Planning, Breast and Cervical Cancer, Diabetes, and Tuberculosis.
So if you live in Bullitt County and do not have private insurance, you are welcome to come to the health department for care. But it still could affect this group of people in the future. If money keeps dwindling, some programs will see cutbacks. For instance if you come in for a breast screening or family planning help, you may be put on a waiting list. But by eliminating patients from out of the county, and referring patients with insurance to other clinics, Jett hopes it will not come to that. "We hope with the modifications and our changes that it won't occur. But if it does it'll be close to the end of the fiscal year," added Jett.
Because there are different levels of cuts in each county, you will need to check with your local health department to see what changes may affect you.