No Doctors, No Nurses: Rural Kentucky county lacking medical services

Published: Apr. 28, 2021 at 1:05 AM EDT
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ROBERTSON COUNTY, Ky. (FOX19) - No doctors, no pediatricians, no nurse practitioners, nothing - that is the circumstances Robertson County residents have dealt with for years.

Robertson County is about as rural as rural gets in Kentucky. The 2,200 resident county is nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Trail.

“No doctor here, oh no. No doctor, no dentist,” said resident Kelvin Gray. “You know you have to travel 30 miles to get to the doctor.”

The closest physician is in Maysville a half an hour away.

Gray said this is just something people deal with if they live in the area.

“Well, that’s just the way it’s been all their lives,” Gray said. “We’re used to it. You just have to get in your car and go.”

According to the U.S Health Resources and Services Administration and the Appalachian Regional Commission, Robertson County is in a distressed economic situation. Ranking it in the bottom 10% of all counties in the country.

But help may soon be on the way.

The taxpayers of Mason and Robertson County purchased a $300,000 mobile examination vehicle.

Residents will have the ability to consult with nurses or doctors and be examined in the vehicle.

Robertson County does not have a fire department or local police force either.

“We don’t even have an ambulance service in the county to take them [patients],” explained Alison Alexander, an RN serving Mason and Robertson County. “We contract with Nicholas County for an ambulance service.

And that is no short ride for the patient.

“Typically, 30, 45 minutes - 45 minutes for an ambulance,” said Alexander.

So, what can be done?

Well, that is up to local and state lawmakers to figure out.

One suggestion is to offer any primary care doctor, who wants to move here, a chance to wipe out any student loans he or she may have as an incentive to call Robertson County home.

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