Smoking, obesity top Okaloosa County health concerns

Published: Friday, April 26, 2013 at 06:02 PM.

While the Crestview office of the county health department offers services including basic dental and pediatric care, one of the service's practitioners said the biggest problem is people failing to show up for their appointments.

It's a concern that State Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fort Walton Beach) says can easily be remedied by a modest co-pay, even if it's refundable.

"Folks don’t value things that are free," Gaetz said during a September 2012 visit to Crestview.

While visiting the local free clinic, he met with a 28-year-old dental hygienist.

“He said, ‘Matt, the hardest part is folks who don’t show up,'" Gaetz related.

“He said, 'the best thing we could do is require a $5 co-pay so people have some skin in the game.' When people show up, it’s an investment in their own healthcare."

County health department support technician Adrienne Ferguson said patients shrugging off appointments is a problem.

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