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KentuckyCare clinic expands to Southside

BY DAVID ZOELLER dzoeller@paducahsun.com

KentuckyCare, a family health clinic providing medical services to patients with little or no insurance, marked the opening of its second Paducah location Monday.

The new clinic at 3240 Irvin Cobb Drive is a federally qualified rural health center providing a number of services from prenatal and primary care to education for chronic disease, nutrition, self-management and others, according to Chris Gibson, regional director of operations. The company also operates a clinic at 1901 Kentucky Ave., and a third Kentucky location in Carlisle County.

"We take patients with no insurance, or patients who may be on Medicare and Medicaid," Gibson said. "We treat the least, the last ... and the lost," he said, stressing no patients are turned away. He estimated the clinic will see an average of 20 patients a day.

According to Gibson, the clinic is not affiliated with the federal Affordable Care Act, although patients who qualify for ACA coverage can receive services.

Mario Carnes of Paducah was among those attending grand opening ceremonies Monday. Carnes, 64, said he has no insurance.

"It's comforting to know I can get some coverage," he said.

Greg Terry, Carlisle County judge-executive, participated in a regional leadership training where he came in contact with officials from ARcare, a private, nonprofit corporation that operates health clinics in Arkansas and is the parent company of KentuckyCare. That association led to the first KentuckyCare clinic, in Bardwell.

"This really fills a need in the community," Terry said.

Michael Muscarella, director of rehabilitation services at Baptist Health Paducah, said the new clinic is helping to address concerns identified in community health needs assessments by both Baptist Health and Lourdes hospitals.

Dr. John Brazzell serves as medical director for KentuckyCare. He previously operated a private practice in Clinton, and also served as an emergency room physician with Lourdes hospital for more than 20 years. The clinics provide a valuable, affordable service, he said.

"Our patients are grateful we're here," Brazzell said.

Contact David Zoeller, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8676.

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