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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.

Help Sought Before Baseball-Bat Murders

The bludgeoning deaths of a Tavares woman, her brother and mother by a man with schizophrenia is renewing criticism of how the state handles the mentally ill in crisis, the Orlando Sentinel reports.


James Earl Jones, 32, is suspected of killing his girlfriend and her family members with a baseball bat before taking his own life on Monday. The Sentinel reports that in the week before the slayings, Jones’ parents twice tried to have him admitted at a psychiatric hospital, but he only was given medications for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Jones’ family told the Sentinel the tragedy could have been avoided, especially since Jones was willing to be treated.  Lifestream Behavioral Center official Rick Hankey says the hospital treats everyone who comes to the hospital, and about 90 percent of the beds where Jones sought help are occupied, the Sentinel reports.

Advocates from the Florida Coalition for Community Mental Health and the University of Florida say the state lacks enough funding to adequately provide the treatment needed to avert these tragedies, the Sentinel reports.

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.