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Why Finding a Doctor in Merced Will Get Worse Before It Gets Better for Most People

Aimee Sharp
Author | Shield HealthCare
09/29/17  3:04 PM PST
Finding a Doctor in Merced

Why Finding a Doctor in Merced Will Get Worse Before It Gets Better for Most People – by Monica Velez for the MERCED SUN-STAR

Cierra Shelton suffers from hypertension and can’t find a doctor in Merced.

Frequently the 30-year-old mother of two takes only half the prescribed dose of her blood-pressure medication to make the medicine “stretch” until she can get an appointment to refill the prescription.

“I’m told to go to urgent care if symptoms are serious enough that I need to be seen during the week,” Shelton said in a recent interview.

Shelton says for people like her, who depend on Medi-Cal, preventative care in Merced County is “nonexistent.”

More than half of Merced County residents – about 51 percent – are on Medi-Cal. That’s about 127,000 people in Merced County.

Merced County for years has struggled to convince doctors to come live and work in the rural, impoverished Central Valley community, resulting in a ratio of about 45 doctors for every 100,000 residents. The doctor-resident ratio statewide is about 77 doctors per 100,000, according to a recent study by the Merced County Department of Public Health.

But despite efforts to provide incentives to doctors to live and work in Merced County things have gotten much worse in recent months for low-income families in need of local healthcare.

Low-income healthcare provider goes bankrupt

Horisons Unlimited Health Care served thousands of patients in the Central Valley before it filed for bankruptcy and closed all eight of its clinics, including five in Merced County.

About 80 percent of Horisons patients were on Medi-Cal, according to documents filed in federal Bankruptcy Court in Fresno.

Horisons left countless patients in the dark, as they began to shut down certain services and locations, physicians left and patients were refused service.

Several patients said nobody would tell them why the clinics suddenly were gone.

The clinic in Los Banos left a note on its closed door saying the shut down was due to its “current financial condition.”

Read the Full Article at the MERCED SUN-STAR.

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