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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.

Ideas Bubble Up on Mental Health

A Manatee County mental health services organization says its team approach to helping emotionally disturbed children could be a model for the state, the Miami Herald reports.

The CEO of Manatee Glens’ Community Action Team told the House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee it’s much cheaper than residential treatment programs, which can be as expensive as $350 a day. The team can dispatch services as they’re needed, which lets families of troubled children keep them at home.

The panel also heard from the Palm Beach County Sheriff, who wants $3 million to fund a violence prevention unit that would include a 24-hour hotline to report individuals who could harm themselves or others. As the Palm Beach Post reports, the program would include a team of deputies, mental health professionals and caseworkers who could begin a “low-key” approach to providing help for that person before violence occurs.

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.