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Massive free health clinic serves more than 1,000 on first day

October 21, 2011 |  1:53 pm

Free health clinic serves 1,000 people on first day
More than a thousand people on Thursday took advantage of a massive free clinic that opened at the L.A. Sports Arena.

The outreach event, which goes until Sunday, is expected to treat more than 5,000 patients for tooth decay, high blood pressure, diabetes and other medical needs. It is organized by CareNow, an L.A.-based nonprofit that assists urban areas with healthcare needs.

Several thousand people lined up earlier this week to receive a plastic wristband that admitted them to the health clinic. Among them were unemployed and uninsured patients; also patients who had jobs that didn't include health coverage and illegal immigrants who qualified only for emergency care. Others had Medi-Cal coverage, a government program for the poor that offers little dental coverage.

On Thursday, makeshift exams and dental chairs filled the Sports Arena. As people waited for treatment, others watched health prevention videos and received vaccinations.

More than 750 people were seen for medical reasons, about 600 people had dental work and 365 had vision procedures, according to figures released by the group. About 840 volunteers provided the services.

For more information visit www.carenowusa.org.

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Photo: Dentistry is the first stop for many on the first day of the CareNow LA free health clinic at the Los Angeles Sports Arena on Thursday. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

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