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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.

State To Spend $58M More On Mental Health Care

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TAMPA BAY TIMES AND SARASOTA HERALD TRIBUNE
A patient at a state mental hospital died after a guard slammed him against a wall while breaking up a fight.

Florida will spend $58 million more next year on mental health care, with $16 million addressing staffing and safety deficits in the state’s mental hospitals, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports.

Most of the remaining money will go to two competitive grant programs that communities can apply for if they agree to provide matching funds, according to the Herald-Tribune.

One of the programs will divert the mentally ill from the criminal justice system and the other will help communities create central receiving facilities to ensure patients get the help they need when they enter the mental health system, the paper reports.