Calif. Community Clinics Report 50% Increase in New Uninsured Patients
On average, California's 800 clinics and community health centers have seen a 50% increase in newly uninsured patients this year, according to the California Primary Care Association, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Officials say the recession and rising unemployment are leading more Californians to seek medical care from the state's safety net clinics and 19 public hospitals.
California's community health centers generally are run by public agencies or not-for-profit organizations. Some clinics are federally qualified to receive higher Medi-Cal reimbursements because they operate in underserved areas and offer services to all patients, regardless of ability to pay.
Although the federal economic stimulus law allocated $63 million to help California's community health centers treat newly uninsured patients, state budget cuts are expected to eliminate more than $100 million from such clinics.
In addition, many of the state's no-cost clinics have reported major declines in donations.
Four of California's community health clinics already have closed as a result of financial strain.Other clinics say they expect to remain open, but patients should anticipate longer wait times for appointments and services (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 9/9). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.