A free health care clinic in San Bernardino brought out hundreds of people eager to get medical, dental and vision exams. People came from the Inland Empire as well as Orange and Los Angeles counties for the clinic. Some hadn’t seen doctors in years. Jacob Rascon reports from San Bernardino for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on June 21, 2013.
Getting his vision checked is something Paul Magra of San Bernardino has wanted to do for years.
"I'm one of those who is employed but not able to afford healthcare," he said.
On Friday, he stepped into the doctor's chair and 20 minutes later, put on his new pair of eyeglasses - all for free. It's all part of the second annual Care 4 a Healthy I.E. clinic, a free health care event that served more than 2,400 people last year, most of whom were uninsured, from as far away as Oakland
The first person in line at 3:30 a.m. on Tuesday - 12 hours before the clinic opened - was Margarita Cuevas, who hasn't seen a doctor in 14 years.
Dentists removed one of her teeth, and she said in Spanish that she was thankful, because she doesn’t have insurance and couldn’t afford the procedure otherwise.
At least that many are expected this year. Many of them have no insurance either because they are not employed or their employment doesn't cover them. Most say they come from Riverside and San Bernardino counties, but many come from Orange and Los Angeles counties or even farther away.
San Bernardino is one of the poorest big cities in the nation, with nearly a quarter of its residents without any health insurance. The event is held by Molina Healthcare and the Tzu Chi Medical Foundation.
The Care 4 a Healthy I.E. clinic will continue Saturday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 6 a.m. to noon. The Saturday event will include additional free services like snacks, free haircuts, entertainment and a community resource fair.
The event was being held at the Orange Show Events Center at 689 South E Street in San Bernardino (map). Guest parking will be on Arrowhead Road at gates 7, 8 and 9.