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Byline: Marsha Austin
May 20--Sunday, May 20, 2001 -- An underground network of specialist physicians in the Denver metro area is quietly providing free or low-cost medical care to seriously ill people with no insurance.
Some of the 710,000 uninsured Coloradans might go without treatment were it not for an underground network of specialists working through community clinics. The doctors are working anonymously to keep from being overwhelmed by patients desperate for medical services.
The patients -- there are 710,000 uninsured people in Colorado -- are mainly from working-class families who make too much money to qualify for government-sponsored programs such as Medicaid, but not enough to afford private health insurance.
"When the reason you got into medicine was to take care of people -- and right now you have a lot of people without insurance -- it needs to be done," said a Denver orthopedic surgeon who is a member of the network.
"There's a bigger population out there than ever that's floundering, a lot of working people that need these services," he said.
The cases that show up at community clinics that care for those without insurance range from cancer to heart problems to fractured bones to gallstones. They're the kind of complex medical problems that are beyond the capabilities of the primary-care providers who staff those clinics.
Belt-tightening in the past two years by the University of Colorado Hospital, including a 10 percent to 20 percent reduction …