An estimated 3,000 people from underserved communities in Los Angeles County sought free healthcare at this year’s Care Harbor mega-clinic, prompting renewed calls to preserve the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas helped kick off the three-day event at its new location, The Reef, where volunteer doctors, nurses, dentists, optometrists and other professionals provided primary and specialty care, immunizations, screenings, eye exams, dental extractions and various other procedures – all without charge.
Supervisor Ridley-Thomas noted the ACA serves 1.5 million residents of Los Angeles County, halving its uninsured population, many of whom turn to the annual Care Harbor mega-clinic for treatment. “Care Harbor fills the gaps in our healthcare system that are clearly present today,” he said. “As its volunteers patch over the bare places in our healthcare safety net, we witness Los Angeles at its best, helping its own.”
“There is no question that without the ACA, it will be much harder for the County to efficiently provide healthcare and preventive care for hundreds of thousands of Angelenos,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said. “And Los Angeles County already has a humanitarian crisis on its hands, with some 47,000 men, women and children homeless on any given night, critically needing services like healthcare.”
Care Harbor, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit, organized the mega-clinic with help from grants and resources provided by Supervisor Ridley-Thomas; LA Care Health Plan, the nation’s largest publicly operated health plan; Buddhist Tzu Chi Medical Foundation; and assistance from more than 50 organizations and about 3,000 volunteers.
Several County departments also participated, including the Health Services, Public Health and Mental Health. The Department of Public Social Services, meanwhile, helped people enroll into Medi-Cal and CalFresh.
Services provided during Care Harbor include:
- free medical care, including specialty care;
- dental care, with extractions and partial dentures;
- vision care, including prescription glasses;
- immunizations, including flu, t-dap and shingles;
- screenings for oral cancer;
- mental health counseling and linkeage to care;
- METRO TAP cards including a free day-pass with unlimited use; and
- extensive educational presentations and exhibits to promote wellness, self-care and healthy lifestyles.