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 Bills Would Allow For-Profits
The 22 bills proposed in the Legislature this spring to reform Florida’s mental health care system would allow for-profit companies to compete for contracts for the first time, the Miami Herald reports.
Supporters say this would create needed competition for the $506 million in annual contracts, according to the Herald. Opponents question whether for-profits can provide quality care in a chronically underfunded system that also delivers $101 million in uncompensated care annually, according to the Herald.