To follow-up our story yesterday, CareNowUSA will begin giving out wrist bands for their 4 day free health clinic at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. For days, thousands who cannot otherwise afford care have lined up outside the arena
CareNow LA will provide free medical, dental and vision services to the uninsured, underinsured and underserved in the Los Angeles community. CareNow LA will also provide immunizations and screenings including mammograms and Pap smears. Extensive patient education and counseling will promote wellness, prevention and self-care among our most vulnerable population.
The Los Angeles Times has profiled some of those who have been braving the elements to wait in line precious free medical care:
Kamathi bought health insurance when he worked as a property appraiser, paying about $450 a month. He dropped it 10 years ago when work dried up. After that, healthcare became one long wait.
He does not yet qualify for Medicaid, and must wait three years to qualify for Medicare — longer if lawmakers raise the qualifying age.
Kamathi waited at last year’s clinic for his glasses. He waited again to get a cavity filled. Before he reached the front of the line, the last dentist left. Kamathi has been waiting to see a dentist ever since.
“It’s either do my teeth or pay my rent or buy food,” he said.
He knows he is not alone in making this calculation.
“There’s a pyramid of needs,” he said. “You deal with the ones where it’s: ‘OK, how do I stay alive?’ That’s priority A — stay alive. Priority B is, ‘Can I see; can I walk?’ If I can see, maybe I can get a job.”
Still underemployed, Kamathi waits with growing dread for the healthcare legislation President Obama championed to take effect. He worries that as of 2014, he will have to buy health insurance or pay a penalty. He says he can’t pay either. Maybe if politicians waited at the clinics, they would understand why, he said.
PLEASE NOTE!!: Wristbands are required for access to all medical care provided during the course of the clinic!! Anyone can receive a wristband. CareNow/LA is a free clinic open to all. There are no questions to answer or forms to fill out. You simply line up to receive the wristband. Once you are admitted to the clinic,you will only be asked for name and contact information, and a nurse will take your medical history. This is so you can be provided with the care you need, and contacted for any follow-up reports or lab results. You will not be required to provide any financial or insurance information.
CareNow LA will provide follow-up care for those who need further medical attention beyond the event.. Local clinics and healthcare centers have volunteered to provide medical homes for these patients and will have representatives on site to accept referrals. This is a community wide effort – L.A. helping its own. In the past two years, three massive free clinics brought desperately needed care to uninsured and underinsured individuals and families in Southern California. The clinics were front page, network news around the world. Together, these events served 15,330 patients, providing free care valued at more than $7.1 million.