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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.

For 2017, Prison Officials Look To Enhance Mental Health Treatment For Florida Inmates

Kim Banks, the Chief Financial Officer for the Florida Department of Corrections, speaking earlier this month during a meeting of the Public Safety Legislative Budget Review.
Kim Banks, the Chief Financial Officer for the Florida Department of Corrections, speaking earlier this month during a meeting of the Public Safety Legislative Budget Review.
Kim Banks, the Chief Financial Officer for the Florida Department of Corrections, speaking earlier this month during a meeting of the Public Safety Legislative Budget Review.
Credit Florida Channel
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Kim Banks, the Chief Financial Officer for the Florida Department of Corrections, speaking earlier this month during a meeting of the Public Safety Legislative Budget Review.

Florida prison officials say they’re looking to enhance the mental health treatment of inmates—particularly in the Panhandle. But, they need to hire more than 100 employees to meet that goal. Kim Banks is the Chief Financial Officer for the Florida Department of Corrections.

“The Department is requesting $16.3 million and 104 FTE [Full Time Employees] to begin stabilizing our mental health population through the creation of a residential mental health unit at Wakulla CI [Correctional Institution],” said Banks. “The augmented services offered by this unit will enhance mental health treatment and reduce the number of inmates referred to close management.”

Banks spoke during a recent meeting of the Public Safety Legislative Budget Review. That panel, led by the Governor’s Policy Coordinator for Public Safety, listens to law enforcement agencies’ legislative budget requests ahead of the 2017 legislative session.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner .

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