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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.

New Psychiatric Hospital Approved

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CentralFloridaBehavioral.com

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration on Tuesday approved a 48-bed expansion for an Central Florida hospital.

Central Florida Behavioral Hospital’s $11.8 million expansion will be used for adult psychiatric patients, and brings the hospital’s total bed count to 174.

The expansion of the facility located in Orlando near Sea World, would add 37,000 square feet of new construction. Company officials expect the beds to open in January 2017 and will create 70 jobs.

It comes at a time when the lack of funding for mental health services in Florida is being questioned.

Company officials expect the beds to open in January of 2017 and create 70 jobs.

Abe Aboraya is a reporter with WMFE in Orlando. WMFE is a partner with Health News Florida, which receives support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.