September 3, 2009

More stuff, but fewer patients benefit, from stimulus health spending

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Here’s an irony. In Colorado, federal stimulus money is giving clinics for low-income patients bricks and mortar – new buildings, new solar panels,  new equipment and the like. But state budget cuts means fewer actual patients get inside the doors. The Denver Post reports it’s a case of  “good news, bad news,” that the clinics are facing cuts of $33 million from their budgets at the same time they are receiving nearly $17 million in federal stimulus bucks to expand and improve.

Example: Mountain Family Health Centers received half a million in federal money to build a new clinic, but the director may not be able to staff it. In fact, he’s going to have to cut the staff of the existing clinic.

Another clinic network will get $1.6 million in new solar panels and medical and dental equipment, but will have to close three clinics in the next two months.

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