SANTA BARBARA, Calif., June 19 (UPI) -- The U.S. safety net -- private, non-profit health centers and clinics -- for those with no health insurance is stretched treating 21 million, researchers say.
A report released by Direct Relief International summarizes the safety net provided to the most vulnerable people in the United States and how reduced funding from both government and private charitable contributions has made their job a lot harder to meet the demand of those who have lost health insurance because of lost jobs.
Direct Relief's report says from 2006 to 2009, independently run non-profit organizations operate more than 8,000 community-based facilities in all 50 states that treat 21 million people, of whom 38 percent lack health insurance and 71 percent of whom earn incomes of less than $22,000 a year for a family of four.
"This report provides a clearer view of the sheer breadth and critical role of America's non-profit community health centers and clinics in providing access to primary healthcare services," Thomas Tighe, president and chief executive officer of Direct Relief, says in a statement.
"It also documents the significant pressures faced by both the non-profit providers of care and the more than 21 million patients they see."