If the Affordable Care Act goes into effect we could see an expansion of community health clinics in Nevada.
The Health Access Washoe County clinic on Wells Avenue in Reno sees 30,000 uninsured and low income patients a year. In fact, on any business day you'll find the waiting room packed.
Director of Clinical Operations, Joe Mazzucotelli says if the Affordable Care Act is a go, it will broaden the umbrella of Medicaid and that will mean a need to expand services.
"We will definitely need more providers to keep up with the demand," he says. "I can't say that our clientele will double, but it will definitely increase and we'll need to have more doctors and physicians assistants on board to help."
Patients without health insurance avoid seeing a doctor until they absolutely have to and that adds to the stress as they see more complicated cases here than in private doctor's offices.
"These people come in with a boatload of problems," says Dr. Terri Wong with the HAWC clinic. "It's never just one thing, they wait until they are falling apart. Their diabetes is out of control they have been out of medications for months at a time. They are falling apart and they finally give in and go and see a doctor."
The other impact the healthcare initiative could have though is taking pressure off of the local Emergency Rooms.
"The ERs are inundated with indigent care right now," says Mazzucotelli. "So expanding the number of folks with Medicaid coverage will give people better access to care which should help keep them out of the ERs."