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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.

University Of Florida Researcher Finds New Ways To Determine Whether A Patient Will Suffer From Chro

Flickr Creative Commons
The Florida Channel
Doctors can use a new tool to predict whether a patient will have chronic pain.

A University of Florida researcher and his team have developed a new tool to help doctors predict whether their patients are at risk of chronic pain. 

UF’s Jason Beneciuk says the screening tool asks a simple question about the patient’s overall health, including their mental health and other symptoms they might be experiencing.

“Physical therapy is a non-pharmacological treatment approach it’s associated with a very low degree of risk and harm, some of the other interventions out there, opioids in particular are associated with a higher level of risk.”

Beneciuk says his team found more than a quarter of patients who had poorer overall health, including depression and anxiety, experienced persistent pain and would benefit from more long-term management instead of opioids.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says sales of opioids have quadrupled in the United States, with some states writing prescriptions at a rate three times that of others.