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Kentucky's Mental, Behavioral Health Centers Prepare for Influx of Newly-Insured Patients


As Kentucky officials continue to implement the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, doctors are preparing for a rush of new patients in every sector of the health care industry.

Seven Counties Services CEO Tony Zipple says at least 25 percent of uninsured Americans have behavioral issues that need attention. And once the Affordable Care Act takes effect, he's expecting to see a flood of newly-insured patients seeking treatments.

More patients means a higher demand for doctors. And Zipple says the state needs to act to recruit enough professionals before the flood begins.

?[We're] probably in pretty good shape in most areas, although there are some focus places where there are shortages, even in the urban areas of the right kinds of professionals. And as you get out into rural areas it?s going to be even tougher," he says. ?I think that this is maybe the most important opportunity to reinforce safety net services in the Commonwealth of Kentucky in 50 years. And there is so much riding on this as a state, that we really want to make sure we get it right.?

Zipple says he's working with lawmakers to make sure the plans offered in the state's health insurance exchange properly cover mental health care.

Kenny Colston is the Frankfort Bureau Chief for Kentucky Public Radio (a collaborative effort of public radio stations in Kentucky). Colston has covered Kentucky's Capitol and state government since 2010. He is a Louisville native, and a graduate of the University of Kentucky. When he's not tracking down stories about Kentucky politics, you can often find him watching college sports, particularly football.
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