ST. CLOUD - As the state government shutdown drags on, more patients at St. Cloud Hospital are being affected.

Dave Borgert is the Director of Communications and Government Relations for CentraCare.  He says most patients have not seen a disruption in services yet.  However, some services require pre-authorization.

Borgert says another way the shutdown is impacting patients is the stoppage of rural transit programs such as Tri-Cap.  He says some patients are struggling to find a way to get to their medical appointments.

Borgert stresses that patients on Medicaid and Medicare programs should continue to see their regular doctor as normal.  You only need to go through the emergency room if it's truly an emergency.  He says there has been some confusion about that.

A long drawn out state government shutdown could also mean a shortage of some healthcare professionals.  Borgert says professionals that need to get their licenses renewed might be out of luck.

Borgert says St. Cloud Hospital's construction project could also be impacted.  He says the project requires State Department of Health Building Inspections periodically. That could stall the project, and drive up the cost.

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