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Health department seeing increase in first-time patients

The health department has seen a major increase in the last year with more residents qualifying for Medicaid and many losing their jobs.

Director of Geneva/Houston County Health Departments, Peggy Blakeney, said “We have seen an increase over the last several months especially in the past months and year."

From mid-2007 to mid-2008 the Houston County Health Department has seen an increase of more than 400 patients.

The influx of new patients comes at a time when the department is feeling the financial pinch themselves.

Blakeney said, "In the economic times we are in now, and all state agencies and businesses are having a hard time, we are not immune to that and we are seeing more patients and we are receiving less funding to provide that service."

The health department is helping bridge the gap for residents who may have lost their jobs or have fallen on hard financial times but still want basic, affordable healthcare.

"The important thing about family planning is that we work with the patients to help prevent unintended pregnancies, abortion through education and birth control."

The health department provides a wide-range of services to the public.

"They can come through the health department and get their pap smear, pelvic, breast exam and a method of birth control," said Eileen Rogers with the Houston County Health Department.

Blakeney said, "For other patients who may not qualify for plan first there is a sliding fee scale according to income."

The only requirement to use services at the health department: you be a state resident.

For more information on health department services you may contact your county health department or visit www.adph.org.


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