"We were not prepared for a hit like this"; Dental and Vision Medicaid cuts hurting local businesses

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PIKE COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT)- More than one week since Governor Matt Bevin cut dental and vision care to people on Medicaid and now businesses in Eastern Kentucky are seeing the impact.

Wednesday afternoon Dentist Misty Clark found herself at odds because things were drastically slower around the office.

"I've been twiddling my thumbs," said Clark. "We've had a lot of people have to reschedule."

Clark owns Healthy Smiles Dentistry in Prestonsburg.

Looking around her office rooms are empty, in fact, Clark said business is at an all-time low.

"But we were not prepared for a hit like this," said Clark.

Wednesday 15 patients rescheduled appointments because they lost their benefits and countless others were turned away since Governor Matt Bevin cut Medicaid benefits July first.

"You know, I've got patients that I've had on antibiotics maybe for a toothache and we were going to take a tooth out that I've had to turn away because they don't have the money to pay because they don't have the benefits anymore," said Clark.

Bevin cut dental and vision care to 460,000 Kentuckians on Medicaid following a judge's ruling to block his Medicaid overhaul.

"I'd say 70-75 percent is Medicaid here at this office," said Office Manager, Jessica Clark-Boyd.

Clark-Boyd said the cuts hurt their businesses and their patients.

"Business-wise, you know, it takes away a lot of our funds," said Clark-Boyd. "Patient-wise it hurts their health, I mean, you know, if you've got something going on you need to get it fixed."

Clark said since July first her work days have had two, three, even four-hour gaps seeing only one or two patients.

"I employ seven girls if they start cutting funds I've got to start cutting hours and I, you know, I don't want to do that," said Clark.

Right now Clark and her staff believe their business and their patient's health seem uncertain.

"It's broke a lot of their hearts cause they are like, you know, 'What are we supposed to do' and I really don't know what to tell them, you know," said Clark-Boyd.

They fear the impact of these cuts will only get worse.

WYMT reached out to officials at the Cabinet for Health and Family Services for comment, but they have not returned our call.

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