LOS ANGELES, July 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Care Harbor, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization formed to bring help and hope to uninsured and underserved populations, will host its annual large-scale free clinic at the Los Angeles Sports Arena on September 27-30. Presenting sponsor for this year's massive effort will be L.A. Care Health Plan, the nation's largest public health plan. As in years past, the clinic is in need of healthcare professionals (dental, vision and medical) to volunteer for full or half-day shifts -- a critical element necessary to support the volunteer-run event.
Now on its fourth event, Care Harbor (formerly CareNow), has expanded its mission to offer follow-up care for those who need it and provide extensive preventive care education and resources for all who attend.
"We see thousands of individuals and families who need medical attention now and many who need it on an ongoing basis," said Don Manelli, president of Care Harbor. "Care Harbor is both a destination and a gateway -- a haven where people can find the immediate care they need, and a portal to continuing care in the future. Our goal is that those in line for this year's event will not have to be in line again next year. And with healthcare front and center on the nation's agenda, there is no better time than today to respond to the urgent needs of the most vulnerable in our communities."
The Supreme Court recently ruled to uphold the Affordable Care Act which will increase access to health coverage for millions of Americans who previously had no access or limited access to care. However, until the Affordable Care Act is implemented at the state level, there is still a need to fill in the gap for the more than 2.7 million uninsured adults in Los Angeles County.
"Care Harbor may be more important this year than ever before," said Howard Kahn, CEO of L.A. Care. "Now is the time to begin transitioning the uninsured into care and to start the process of informing, educating and orienting people about what's to come with the implementation of federal healthcare reform. The opportunities for access to quality health services will be tremendous, and Care Harbor will be uniquely positioned to raise public awareness and eliminate hurdles for those seeking long term health solutions."
Dental and vision care are the leading needs among patients. This year, the clinic will expand its vision and dental capacity by 20 percent. In addition to cleanings, fillings and extractions, the state-of-the-art dental section will offer new services, such as an automated crown milling machine and a new denture repair lab.
Organizers have also worked to further expand the follow-up care capability to ensure that patients needing follow-up get the care they need once they leave the clinic. Last year, Care Harbor placed more than 1,000 patients in medical homes. Follow-up care will be provided by The Southside Coalition of Community Health Centers, Jules Stein Eye Institute, Harbor Clinic, Saban Free Clinic and others, with representatives on site to make appointments.
While most supplies and equipment are donated, there are significant expenses in putting on an event of this magnitude and contributions are still needed. Care Harbor is also seeking in-kind donations, including bottled water/refreshments, food, pharmaceuticals (excluding narcotics), ultrasound equipment, dental, vision and medical supplies. For sponsorships or to provide an in-kind donation, please contact Jackie Aker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Care Harbor continues to be at the epicenter of charitable contributions from numerous organizations – a remarkable example of the community coming together to benefit the uninsured population. Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and his staff are once again working closely with Care Harbor to organize the event. To date, the free clinic has the support of the L.A. Sports Arena, which provides the venue rent-free, L.A. Care, Orange County Community Foundation, California Community Foundation, Molina Healthcare, Front Line Management, Wilshire Temple, Dental Foundation of California, and other local organizations. Volunteers, equipment and supplies are being provided by UCLA Health Systems, Keck School of Medicine at USC, Southern California College of Optometry, AD+World Health, Western University, L.A. Dental Society, VSP Global and many others. Additionally, El Pollo Loco is providing lunches for approximately 1,000 volunteers daily.
The support and participation of thousands of physicians, dentists, optometrists, licensed professionals and general volunteers enables Care Harbor to provide health services to everyone free of charge. For more information or to register as a medical or non-medical volunteer please visit http://www.careharbor.org/la/volunteer.html
About Care Harbor
Care Harbor brings help and hope to the uninsured and underserved in America's urban centers. The organization works with local community resources and volunteers to produce free clinics providing comprehensive medical, dental, and vision care to individuals and families who are without access to the healthcare they need. There is no cost to the patient for the services provided. Clinics are staffed by professional and general volunteers, and supported by donations – both financial and in-kind – from local and national supporters. To learn more about Care Harbor and this year's clinic, please visit CareHarbor.org, like us on Facebook at Facebook.com/CareHarbor or follow us on Twitter @CareHarbor.
About L.A. Care
L.A. Care Health Plan (Local Initiative Health Authority of Los Angeles County) is a public entity and community-accountable health plan serving residents of Los Angeles County through a variety of programs including Medi-Cal, Healthy Families, L.A. Care's Healthy Kids, and L.A. Care Health Plan Medicare Advantage HMO SNP.
L.A. Care is a leader in developing new programs through innovative partnerships designed to provide health coverage to vulnerable populations and to support the safety net. With over one million members, L.A. Care is the nation's largest public health plan. For more information, please visit www.lacare.org, like us on Facebook at Facebook.com/LACareHealth or follow us on Twitter @LACareHealth.
Hector Andrade | Edelman
SOURCE Care Harbor