State budget includes $9.5M for free clinics
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The support comes after clinics provided substantially more care last year.

A year after access to clinics proved as critical as ever, a budget signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis includes millions for free clinics.

The Florida Association of Free and Charitable Clinics applauded the Florida budget and praised lawmakers who fought for the funding.

In total, the final budget included $9.5 million for free and charitable clinics in the state.

“These annual funds are critical to keeping us operating at full capacity, ensuring our most vulnerable Floridians get the care they need, especially as we try to come out of this pandemic,” said Rev. Michael Daily, Board Chair for FAFCC.

Also, the CEO of Good News Care Center free clinic in Homestead, Daily said the funding would ensure those patients facing the greatest financial strains could still receive care.

“We are grateful to the Florida House, the Florida Senate, and the Governor for recognizing and supporting the work of our hundreds of volunteer health care providers,” he said.

The FAFCC said that during the current fiscal year, free and charitable clinics provided more than $187 million in care through 98 clinics throughout the state. By comparison, the organization reported such institutions provided $179 million in care the prior year.

The jump in costs to run clinics came as the state battled a pandemic that continues. Clinics help uninsured, and underinsured Floridians maintain access to health services. Many clinics have been instrumental in providing care to COVID-19 patients and improving vaccine access in many underserved communities.

The clinics represented by the FAFCC frequently are staffed with volunteers and led by nonprofit, faith-based groups and community organizations.

Money budgeted by the state since 2016 has been divvied by a grant program managed by the FAFCC and is intended to expand the capacity of Florida’s clinic centers.

The FAFCC was founded in 2013 and the next year received its first appropriation for funding, then $4.5 million, to disperse to clinics.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


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