Case study: Minnesota clinics boosted by stimulus

Though nobody likes doing such things, Minnesota officials are planning cuts to public health programs. Luckily, it seems stimulus funding will help offset these cuts, by boosting the strength of the state's network of community health centers by expanding coverage to un- and under-insured there.

Minnesota legislators have thrown their support behind community health-center funding as of late, as they hope to cut down on high-cost emergency department trips by making primary care more readily accessible. The need is great, with the ranks of uninsured seen at community clinics increasing 10 percent annually since the 1990s. Making community clinics available to all seems to be working, as patients visiting the clinics have higher vaccination rates and lower infant mortality rates than the general population.

Still, community health clinics and other state providers face $1.1 billion in cuts to health programs over the next biennium, and it's still not clear how these cuts will impact the clinics. It's also not clear how much the stimulus can do to soften the impact of the cuts, which could include the elimination of the state's General Assistance Medical Care fund serving about 30,000 childless adults making up to 75 percent of federal poverty guidelines.

To learn more about community clinics in Minnesota:
- read this Kaiser Health News piece

Related Articles:
Community health centers get $851M for expansion, rehab
Community clinics cutting services to undocumented immigrants
Community clinics face doctor shortage