LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Affordable Care Act has Louisville's health department exchanging patients for policy, cutting back on child immunizations and preventative care for women.

Stephanie Cape says before her son was born, she hadn't been to a doctor in five years. 

"His name is Chaotic Rage," Cape said. "He is eight months old."

She said she last saw a doctor right before she turned 18, when her insurance expired. But she was in the doctor's office on Tuesday.

Cape is the kind of patient who used to get care with Jefferson County Public Health and Wellness. She's one of the 66,000 in Louisville who are newly insured and moving away from discount care. 

"Ever since the beginning of the year, we've been having about 10-15 calls a day with new patients looking to get in," said Dr. Eli Pendleton, a physician.

It has the health department making some major cuts. As of July, the city's three health department clinics will start scaling back family planning and female services like breast exams and pap smears. Daily immunizations have also been cut to once-a-week at each clinic. 

"It has nothing to do with budget cuts," said Dave Langdon, spokesman for the Louisville Public Health and Wellness. "It has to do with redeploying resources in areas that nobody else does."

The health department is focusing more now on making policy, like the new non-smoking campaign unveiled last week in Louisville parks. 

"The health department has no desire at all the keep people from getting healthcare, but instead in a very forward-looking way, the Louisville Health Department has worked with us....to bring those patients in to us in all of the needs that they will have," said Dr. Diane Harper, the U of L chair of Family and Geriatric Medicine. 

Nonetheless, the change doesn't come at the greatest time, as parents seek back-to-school shots and physicals for their kids..

"Well, it means we're certainly going to have a increased number of patients," said Dr. Pendleton. "The health department takes care of a lot of the same patients we take care of."

And doctors are taking it one patient at a time

"[I've] started paying more attention to life and taking it more seriously...because I got this one, and somebody's got to be here for him," said Cape.

For more information, contact:
Louisville Metro Public Health & Wellness
400 East Gray Street
Louisville, KY. 40202
Phone: (502) 574-6520
Business Hours: 8:00a.m.-4:30p.m.

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