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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.

Mental-Health Crisis System Overloaded

Palm Beach Post

In the wake of the Newtown, CT, mass shooting of children by a troubled adolescent late last year, many states are trying to improve monitoring and require treatment for those who are deemed a danger to themselves or others.

But in Florida, which already spends much less than the national average on mental-health services, there has been no move by the governor or Legislature to increase that spending, the Palm Beach Post's Dara Kam reports. In fact, she writes, there has been talk of trying to cut spending by outsourcing the oversight of private contractors to another private contractor.

Meanwhile in Delray Beach, reporter Stacey Singer writes about life inside an overcrowded crisis stabilization center. Singer and  photographer Gary Coronado spent 50 hours over several weeks in the locked units, talking to those who have severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, the many patients of all ages who are suicidal, and the patients who have to go through withdrawal before their mental illness can even be addressed.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.