Poor Health: A frayed safety net

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Today's health care options for uninsured or underinsured patients in the Pittsburgh region have shrunk dramatically with the closure of 11 hospitals over the last decade. Most of those provided more free care to the poor than the hospitals that remain. As a result, patients and health advocates say, the region's poor have been left behind.

These stories are part of an occasional series that shows how closely poverty and poor health are linked, explores the failure of the U.S. health care system to address this and tells the stories of people grappling with the issue.

Included in this report:

• A look at the region’s closed hospitals, and the people who’ve been left behind

• A year after UPMC closed Braddock Hospital, Cleveland Clinic closed Huron Hospital. What happened next in each of the communities was very different.

• Wilford Payne, executive director of Primary Care Network, has expanded from 11 to 37 federally qualified health centers. The clinics have struggled in recent years as the region went through the recession.

• Dr. Bill Markle runs a free clinic in McKeesport that provides care to the community’s uninsured patients.

• A lack of transportation often means poor patients don't get the health care they need.

Read the full story at www.post-gazette.com/poorhealth

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