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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.

Broward County To Devote Over $2 Million For Mental Health, Substance Abuse Programs

U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch on Tuesday presented to the Broward County Commission a $1 million federal grant to help fund the county's mental health and substance abuse programs.
U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch on Tuesday presented to the Broward County Commission a $1 million federal grant to help fund the county's mental health and substance abuse programs.

Broward County is devoting just over $2 million to help fund mental health and substance abuse programs.

The initiative is meant to help young people and families. About half the money is from a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services $1 million grant. The rest of the funding will come from the county and contributions from the private sector.

During a presentation on the federal grant before the Broward commission Tuesday, South Florida Democratic Congressman Ted Deutch said the initiative will help guarantee support for people who have suffered trauma in the past. 

“Those who are struggling deserve a chance at recovery. They deserve a chance to succeed in school. They deserve a fulfilling career. But too often, those things that we all deserve are kept away from young people,” Deutch said.

The funding will go toward Broward’s One Community Partnership Initiative, a collaboration between non-profit organizations, government services and Broward County Public Schools.

Commissioner Steve Geller said the grant is in response to the Parkland school shooting in February 2018. State investigators of the shooting, including the Marjory Stoneman High School Public Safety Commission, have said improved mental health services are necessary to help school children deal with stresses and prevent more school shootings.

Geller added the funding will also address other drug abuse and mental health problems in the county. Broward, which has suffered from the national opioid epidemic, has already received millions in federal funding to combat addiction.

“Whether you’re dealing with drug abuse, whether you’re dealing with depression — which untreated can lead to suicide — there are so many mental health and drug issues that we need to deal with in Broward County,” Geller said.

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