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2 St. Paul health clinics that treat low-income, underinsured patients at risk of closing

Updated: December 09, 2019 10:13 PM

Nearly 10,000 low-income, uninsured or underinsured people in St. Paul could lose access to the only healthcare they have ever known. 

Monday, the CEO of Open Cities Health Center, which runs clinics on Dunlap and Rice streets in St. Paul, announced the organization is running out of money and ceasing operation.

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Dr. Ritesh Patel emphasized there is only enough money to cover the rest of this month. Come Jan. 1, the doors of the clinics are expected to close.

"They're always welcoming to everybody and give us the care we need," one patient said. 

Patel described the clinics as "community healthcare with a heart." 

He said everyone is treated regardless of who they are, where they came from or their legal status. 

"No one gets turned away," Patel said.

Patel said that's the mandate for the clinic to get nearly $3 million in grants every April. However, he says Open Cities is at risk because there is not enough money to cover costs from January through April.

Patel took to the clinic's website and posted an open letter explaining the problems current management inherited.

Patel made the unprecedented move of publicly asking for $2 million to keep the clinics running.

"It's important to help people in need, especially other community members when they fall and need that assistance," he said.

Dr. Patel said a quarter of the clinic's funding comes from the government. The rest is from insurance and Medicaid reimbursements.  

Donations can be made to the clinics here and here.

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Beth McDonough

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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