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Gaston, Caldwell clinics get stimulus money

Two health centers in Gaston and Caldwell Counties will receive a combined $2.6 million to expand services for uninsured patients. They are Gaston Family Health Services and the West Caldwell Health Council, where administrator Valerie McRary says the recession is putting new pressure on the clinic. "In last two months we've added over a hundred new patients to the clinic, and of those only four came in with any type of insurance. We normally add about 40 new patients a month and half of them would have insurance." 126 health clinics across the U.S. will receive grants totaling $155 million, which the White House claims will create about 5,500 jobs. All of these clinics charge uninsured patients on a sliding scale. But funding is so scarce that McRary says she often asks individual donors in the community to sponsor a patient's treatment. She says the stimulus money will allow her to hire more doctors and nurses, as well as begin to offer services to prevent disease, rather than offering what she calls "Band Aid" care.