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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Some funding restored for chronic illness management

By Alice Dembner, Globe Staff

A program that helps low-income patients manage chronic illnesses will receive $1 million in state funding this fiscal year, under the compromise budget approved by the Legislature on Monday.

The funding for CenterCare is a big drop from the $2.7 million allocation last year, but it is not as deep as Governor Deval Patrick and the House of Representatives had proposed. Patrick is reviewing the entire state budget and could veto money for the program, which is run through 30 community health centers statewide.

But CenterCare supporters said they were lobbying hard to ensure that doesn't happen, and plan to seek more money in a supplemental budget later in the year.

"It's still at less than half strength," said Patricia Edraos, policy director of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers. "But it gives us something to build on."

Even if the governor approves spending the money, it's unclear how much would go to a branch of the program at Holyoke Health Center, the subject of a Globe story on June 19. The center has helped hundreds of patients with diabetes adopt healthier lifestyles and reduce their blood sugar levels.

Posted by Karen Weintraub at 04:36 PM
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