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Use of free medical clinics on upswing

Wisconsin's free medical clinics are getting more popular, as more people lose their jobs and their health coverage.

About 50 clinics in the state serve low-income and uninsured patients for free.

Their coordinator, Linda Smith, said the clinic where she works in Menomonee Falls had a record 201 patients last month, and it's on pace for a 33 percent increase in its patient load this year.

Bonnie Kuhr says her community clinic in Green Bay cannot serve everyone on many days.

She says her clinic wants to apply for federal economic stimulus money so it can expand its services.

Clinic coordinators throughout the state are meeting this month to look at ways they can combine funding sources.

The state's BadgerCare Plus program is expected to begin serving low-income adults without kids, and once that happens, Smith hopes the strain on free clinics can ease a bit.