SACRAMENTO (AP) - As funding for public health clinics dries up, visits to hospital emergency rooms in Sacramento County are increasing.
The Sacramento Bee says ERs have become primary care clinics for many of the region's poor.
Since clinics began seeing budget cuts four years ago, the number of patients seeking emergency room treatment in Sacramento County grew by 80,000.
The Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development says the poor account for most of the rise. Visits to public health clinics fell by about the same amount during the same time period.
The Bee says county emergency rooms saw 132,000 Medi-Cal patients in 2011, up from 94,000 in 2008. ERs saw 69,000 patients with no insurance in 2011, up from 50,000 during 2008.
The Associated Press