The Times West Virginian

September 9, 2013

Officials prepare for health care law

Affordable Care Act creates new territory for health department

By Mary Wade Burnside
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — Like other health care facilities, the Marion County Health Department has been gearing up for the upcoming implementation of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Affordable Care Act in 2014.

For the health department, which offers services such as immunizations, family health planning and disease testing for uninsured patients, this will be new territory as one of the primary goals of the Affordable Care Act will be to make sure all Americans have some type of health coverage.

“What is new to public health is doing billable services,” said Lloyd White, the health department’s administrator. “One of the things that we have to start doing is billable services, such as for our immunizations.”

Uninsured customers have been able to come to the Marion County Health Department for vaccines such as flu and pneumonia shots as well as back-to-school immunizations. In the case of senior citizens, Medicare can be billed, but for the school children whose families do not have insurance, those vaccines have been free.

Now, White said, some or many of those patients most likely will be signing up with Medicaid or a Medicaid HMO offered in the state such as Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Highmark or UniCare.

 

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