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Community health clinics challenged as poor increase

San Antonio Express-News, May 21, 2012

These were the poorest of the poor, accustomed to the folk remedies of the Mexican borderlands and suffering from horrific afflictions—leprosy, tuberculosis, measles and polio. Serving the poor and uninsured is the ever-present challenge to community healthcare workers. Their ranks continue to grow throughout the border region, including Brownsville, the Rio Grande Valley's largest city, where in 2010 almost 37 percent, or 62,833 people, were uninsured. Fifty-seven years later, Felipa Rodriguez, 78, is the communicable diseases clerk at what's evolved to become the Brownsville Community Health Center. The four-clinic network includes a new flagship, a $12 million, 47,000-square-foot primary care facility that's seen about 1,500 patients since opening in July.