Every day, hundreds of sick and injured patients walk into free and charitable clinics around the Tampa Bay area in need of a doctor.Many are suffering from chronic conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Some patients were referred to the clinics by staff at hospitals where they landed after years of neglecting to care for treatable conditions.The clinics allow the patients to pay what they can, or nothing at all. They are staffed by doctors and nurses who volunteer their time. They survive off donations and small grants.Many of the patients have jobs but they are living paycheck to paycheck. None have health insurance, either because they do not qualify for Medicaid or can’t afford private coverage. For these patients, the clinics are often their only option for primary care.
Lawmakers Seek Changes To Mental Health Treatment
In the wake of the Newtown elementary school shooting, Florida lawmakers are looking at ways to better treat the mentally ill, according to the Palm Beach Post.
Experts say two-thirds of the mentally ill in Florida go without treatment. Meanwhile, the state ranks 49th in the nation on spending, with more funds going to hospitalization than prevention, the Palm Beach Post reports.
That is unsettling to the lawmakers on the Healthy Families Subcommittee who are calling for changes to how the $723 million mental health budget is spent, the Miami Herald reports.