Hundreds of uninsured people descended on the Forum in Inglewood Tuesday for the first day of an eight-day health clinic providing free medical care, including dental and eye exams.
The clinic, which lasts through Aug. 18, is sponsored by Faithful Central Church and Remote Area Medical, a nonprofit volunteer group that provides free medical services around the globe.
Lines formed quickly outside the Forum for the first day of the clinic, which opened at 5 a.m. A total of 1,500 tickets were handed out, and the rest of the people were turned away, told to return Wednesday or another day of the event.
With the elevated unemployment rate and increasing number of people without insurance, the free medical clinic proved to be an overwhelmingly popular event.
“The economy like it is, jobs are slow, no work, and you know, you come here because you have no other resource,” patient Elaine Gibbs told KCAL9.
Annette La Rock told the station that she simply cannot afford her own medical insurance.
“I was in the mortgage business. I was a senior loan processor, therefore, I was self employed so I had to carry my own insurance, and they were quoting me about three to 400 dollars for medical insurance a month,” she told Channel 9.
The health fair included 45 medical exam rooms, 100 dental stations and 25 eye exam stations to provide full medical examinations, including mammograms, PAP smears, chest x-rays, diabetes screening, blood pressure screening, dental examinations including cleanings, extractions, fillings, restorative procedures and root canals, prescription eye glass fittings and cataract surgery.
Attendees were not required to show any proof of income or insurance.
Local news from across Southern California
“I finished my residency and I'm looking for work in L.A., and there's just not a lot available with the state cutting Medi-Cal benefits, ... just a lot of places aren't hiring,” volunteer dentist Rachel Hollander told KCAL. “So I figured I'd come out Tuesday. I'm lucky enough to be able to afford my COBRA, and I know a lot of people aren't, so at least I can do this and help people out.”