Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas to consider opening health clinics in county's poorest areas

Pinellas health officials want to expand medical care for the poor, including the possibility of setting up clinics in the county's most impoverished neighborhoods.

Within the five poorest areas of the county, more than 68,000 residents who are living at or below the poverty line don't have access to primary health care, according to a county report. Those areas include: South St. Petersburg, North Greenwood, Highpoint, Lealman and East Tarpon Springs.

To alleviate the burden on emergency rooms and lower the county's own costs, Health and Community Services Director Gwendolyn Warren has proposed opening clinics in each of those areas, staffed by doctors and nurses from partnering hospitals. Most of the funding would come from federal grants, Medicaid reimbursements and Warren's current budget, she told commissioners, adding that she was not asking for additional money.

Exactly how much each clinic would cost was unclear. The commission gave Warren permission on Tuesday to hire a consultant to study the costs and possible locations of the clinics, which, if they are eventually approved, would be opened in a five- to 10-year period. The first site would likely open in Lealman.

"I do not envision that we're ever going to come back here and say here are five clinics, let's go," Warren said. "I think we're going to do them one at a time."

Pinellas currently has five health care clinics operated by the Florida Department of Health, a point raised by several commissioners at the meeting.

"I just don't want to see us build more new stuff when there are things out there that could be better utilized to meet the need," said Commissioner Susan Latvala.

But Warren said the numbers of poor people flocking to emergency rooms suggests that existing clinics aren't enough. Nor are the health clinics easily reached by people who don't own cars.

"I believe it's to our advantage to have a medical clinic that's in walking distance to these communities," she said.

Pinellas to consider opening health clinics in county's poorest areas 10/29/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 11:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Lost Highway: As FHP struggles to recruit, speeding tickets plummet

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The number of speeding tickets written by Florida state troopers has plunged three straight years as the agency grapples with a personnel shortage and high turnover.

    A Florida Highway Patrol Academy class in the late 1980s. Typically, graduating classes had about 80 recruits. But the most recent class has less than half that as the agency continues to struggle to fill vacancies. [

Florida: Highway Patrol]
  2. Kidpreneurs — and adults — capitalize on gooey, squishy Slime craze

    Retail

    First it was Play-Doh. Then Gak. There have been dozens of variations for sale of the oozy, gooey, squishable, stretchable kids' toy through the generations.

    Aletheia Venator and Berlyn Perdomo demonstrate the stretchiness of their slime. - Berlyn Perdomo and her friend, Aletheia Venator, both 13, make and sell slime which can be seen on their instagram site @the.real.slimeshadyy [JIM DAMASKE   |   Times]
  3. After last year's drug-related deaths, Tampa's Sunset Music Festival says it's stepping up safety, security

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Alex Haynes worked three jobs. He had a fiance and an infant son. He owned his own home in Melbourne. Last summer, the 22-year-old attended the Sunset Musical Festival at Raymond James Stadium.

    He left in an ambulance.

    Last year’s Sunset Music Festival was marked by dozens of medical emergencies.
  4. What you need to know for Friday, May 26

    News

    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    Read this morning why Florida's most prized sweet corn is nearly extinct. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. The last farmer of Florida's prized Zellwood corn is thinking of packing it in

    Consumer

    MOUNT DORA — Hank Scott steps out of his pickup between the long rows and snaps off an ear that grows about bellybutton-high on the forehead-high stalks.

    Hank Scott, co-owner of Long and Scott Farms, shucks an ear of corn on the farm in Mount Dora, Fla., on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. The farm specializes in Scott's Zellwood Triple-Sweet Gourmet Corn. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times