Nearly 2,500 patient appointments already made at free mobile health clinic
Organizers of a massive mobile health clinic returning to Los Angeles this week said they had distributed about 2,500 wristbands by 10:30 a.m. Sunday. The non-transferable wristbands are being handed out at the Los Angeles Sports Arena near downtown.
Pre-registration is required for anyone seeking health services during the seven-day free clinic that begins Tuesday and runs through Monday, May 3. Clinic organizers hope to serve about 1,200 people daily.
"I would like to think everybody will get in," Stan Brock, founder of Tennessee-based Remote Area Medical, the nonprofit group that is staging its second Los Angeles clinic, said Sunday as he surveyed the line. "The reality is we can't see everybody -- the need is so great. We just see as many as we can."
Phyllis Vincent, 59, of Pasadena was turned away from the clinic held in August at the Forum in Inglewood, but got a wristband Sunday morning to secure treatment on Tuesday. Vincent said she needs new glasses, a tooth pulled and teeth cleaning. Although she works as a background actor in a military training program near Twentynine Palms, she does not have health insurance.
"They learned a lot from last year. I think it will be a little better organized -- it's just that the need is so great," Vincent said after making her appointment.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas walked the line Sunday and said it appeared "much more efficient than last year." He said he recognized residents from his district, including high school classmates and those with jobs but no insurance.
"What we have here is a clear example of why health insurance reform is so clearly needed," Ridley-Thomas said.
Staff from the Edelman public relations firm, which is representing Remote Area Medical, are tweeting and answering questions at @ramlosangeles and will provide the service again on the days the clinic is open to patients.
-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske at the Los Angeles Sports Arena
Photos: A long line forms outside Los Angeles Sports Arena near
downtown as people wait to pre-register for the free mobile clinic that
will begin Tuesday. Gloria Talbot, 55, says she has a tooth infection
and needs antibiotics. She is in a wheelchair because she was in an
accident at work and then had a stroke. Credit:
Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times