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Services cut by Health Department move to private group

By: Elizabeth Dorsett Email
By: Elizabeth Dorsett Email

Waiting rooms at the Fayette County Health Department on Newtown Pike are looking a little different. Health First Bluegrass has come in where cuts have been made; it's a private non-profit.

"We can act more like a private medical practice but provide services much like a health entity," explained William North, Health First Bluegrass Executive Director.

Due to lack of funding, the health department has cut services for breast and cervical cancer; physicals and immunizations for children and adults; and family planning.

"It's painful, I don't like it," Dr. Rice Leach of the Fayette County Health Department said. "But we're making the best of it."

Dr. Leach says the Health Department will still offer TB tests, STD and HIV Testing and counseling; as well as women and infants programs.
North says the cost difference from the Health Department to Health First is negligible.

"A number of programs are funded by state grants some federal grants. We do have minimal fees," North said.

Even though the Health Department has had an open door policy--patients needing services provided through health First will notice a few big changes.

"The one qualifier is they have to be one of his patients," Dr. Leach explained. "They can't just come running in and 'I need a shot so I can play football.'"

Health Department officials say they're still working with Health First Bluegrass on who will give flu shots and where those will be available.

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