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Health News Florida
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.

Bill Seeks Medicaid Money for Mental Health

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The Florida Senate is working on bills that would increase the amount of federal Medicaid money used to fund mental health and substance abuse problems, Florida Politics reports. The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services will discuss the bill drafts Monday at its meeting.

The first bill, among other things, requires the Department of Children and Families and the Agency for Health Care Administration to submit a plan to the Legislature no later than Nov. 1 to increase federal Medicaid dollars for mental health and substance abuse.

The second bill will add substance abuse as an issue DCF hopes to reduce and update the state’s laws on voluntary and involuntary admissions to treatment receiving facilities and detoxification centers, according to Florida Politics.