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By Erin Schultz, North County Times, Escondido, Calif. Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Dec. 27--From the moment a patient walks into one of North County's 14 community clinics, everyone from the receptionist to the doctor begins sizing him or her up. Is the person male or female? White, black, Latino or American Indian? Does he have diabetes, dental problems, an infectious disease? Is she pregnant? A senior citizen? A low-income woman with a child?
They're not checking patients for health problems -- not exclusively, anyway.
Instead, these health-care workers are running through the list of dozens of categories of health-care funding the clinic receives, trying to figure out how best to pay for each patient's care.
If a patient has dental problems, they're in luck. Local clinics have just received grants to hire more dentists.
But if he has tuberculosis, the clinic may not be able to …