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Pasco County, FL's specialty healthcare fund for the insured is empty

St. Petersburg Times, February 27, 2009

A Pasco County, FL, fund that helped pay for speciality healthcare for uninsured patients is $4,000 in the red, leaving a clinic that refers them with no options. When Premier Community HealthCare Group, a nonprofit primary care clinic, saw uninsured patients who needed serious surgeries or tests, they referred them to the county's Human Services Department. The clinic typically refers about 25 patients a month, but is seeing more as people hit hard by the recession lose jobs and health benefits. About 60% of Premier's patients have no insurance. But this month, county officials told them the money for this fiscal year had all been spent. Because the county's fiscal year begins Oct. 1, that could force some patients to wait seven months for the tests or procedures they need.