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Annual free health clinic coming to L.A. Sports Arena

September 25, 2012 |  1:00 pm

The Los Angeles area's fourth annual free health clinic is planned Thursday through Sunday at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, with the aim of providing medical, vision and dental care at no charge for thousands of needy residents.

Care Harbor, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization, is the lead organizer of the event, which will run from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. The presenting sponsor will be the L.A. Care Health Plan, which serves Los Angeles County residents through such programs as Medi-Cal and Healthy Families. It is the nation's largest public health plan.

Care Harbor President Don Manelli said organizers had distributed about 4,800 wristbands to patients who are expected to show up for the clinic. They will be served by an estimated 3,250 volunteers, including doctors, nurses and non-medical volunteers.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Care Harbor had turned away hundreds of nurses and general volunteers, but Manelli said dentists and oral surgeons were still needed.

"We see thousands of individuals and families who need medical attention now and many who need it on an ongoing basis," Manelli said.

Volunteer medical and dental practitioners will provide immediate care for participants at the clinic. In addition, representatives of Jules Stein Eye Institute, Harbor Clinic, Saban Free Clinic and the Southside Coalition of Community Health Centers, among other organizations, will be on hand to make appointments for follow-up care.

Manelli said organizers this year had greatly expanded dental and vision care, the leading needs among patients. This year's clinic will feature 100 dental chairs, up from 79 last year, he said.

Organizers have also expanded the educational components of the clinic, Manelli said, in response to the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act, the federal healthcare reform law that is intended to make it easier for underinsured or uninsured patients to get affordable care.

For information about the event, or to register as a medical volunteer, see the clinic website.

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--Martha Groves

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