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Patients flock to L.A. Sports Arena for free health services

Patients in need of medical, vision and dental care lined up by the hundreds early Thursday for the opening of the Los Angeles area's fourth annual free health clinic at the Los Angeles Sports Arena.

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

About 4,800 patients are expected to attend the clinic. They will be served by an estimated 3,250 volunteers, including doctors, nurses and nonmedical helpers. 

Some patients who had stood in line early this week to get wristbands allowing them entry into the clinic voiced concern that they would be allowed treatment for only one condition. Many said they had multiple health complaints.

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

Organizers this year have expanded dental services. They have also enhanced educational sessions 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.

More information is available at the clinic website.

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-- Martha Groves

 
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