LOS ANGELES, Oct. 15, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Care Harbor, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization that helps uninsured and medically underserved populations by organizing large-scale free urban health clinics, kicked-off today its fifth annual Los Angeles clinic, which will run October 15-18, at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. Care Harbor will provide free medical, dental and vision care, as well as specialty and follow-up care, to an estimated 1,000 patients each day. The clinic was made possible by a grant and in-kind resources from L.A. Care Health Plan, the nation's largest publicly operated health plan, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas (Los Angeles County, Second District), Tzu Chi Medical Foundation and assistance from more than 50 organizations and 3,100 volunteers.
"With the help of our generous community, Care Harbor comes back for a fifth consecutive year offering a full range of health services that is based on the changing health care needs of medically underserved population," said Don Manelli, president and founder of Care Harbor. "Each year, the Care Harbor clinic adapts to the rapidly changing health care landscape to ensure we are providing relevant care to those who need it most."
Care Harbor's adaptability has resulted in its continued relevance, even after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While health care reform has provided increased access to health care to millions of Americans, more than one million Angelenos remain uninsured. Some are unable to afford premiums or high deductibles, and some, particularly Latinos, are just not signing up. Even those insured under ACA may have limited access to dental, vision or specialty medical care. Care Harbor aims to help fill ACA's care gaps in Los Angeles County by providing free medical, dental and vision care and, for the first time this year, mental health consultations and referrals, among many other services. Those diagnosed with conditions needing follow-up care will be connected to a local medical home.
"There are countless reasons why thousands of people are drawn to clinics like Care Harbor every year," said L.A. Care Health Plan CEO John Baackes. "Whether they are insured, underinsured or uninsured, it's important to acknowledge that they are taking action to improve their health – and that we are here to provide the care they need."
"This mega free-clinic is Los Angeles County civic engagement on steroids," said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. "Since 2011, Care Harbor volunteers have provided $15 million of free critical health care and other services to over 30,000 Los Angeles County residents."
As in previous years, The Tzu Chi Foundation is providing equipment for the dental section, dental and vision mobile units, acupuncture, and many other resources in addition to professional volunteers.
"We are proud to be a part of this important community effort that is helping our most needy Los Angeles population receive access to health care services they may not otherwise receive," said William Keh, MD, CEO of Buddhist Tzu Chi Medical Foundation.
Representatives from more than 50 local clinics and medical practices that provide primary and specialized care will be on site to make appointments for follow-up services before patients leave the clinic. Connecting patients to a medical home during the clinic helps ensure that diagnosed conditions are treated and patients are monitored throughout their treatment plan. Through its last four clinics, Care Harbor provided 56,742 free medical, dental and vision services to more than 13,620 patients, and over 3,200 of them were connected to medical homes for continuing care, including free surgeries. In addition, all patients received preventive care, the most effective and economical form of health care.
Care Harbor thanks L.A. Care Health Plan, the presenting sponsor; Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas; The Tzu Chi Medical Foundation; S. Mark Taper Foundation; Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena; UCLA Health System; University of Southern California; Salesforce, ZPaper; Southside Coalition of Community Health Centers; Department of Public Health - County of Los Angeles; Los Angeles County Department of Health Services; VSP Vision Care; V.O.S.H. California; Cedars-Sinai Medical Center; Kaiser Permanente; Anthem Blue Cross; Marshall B. Ketchum University; Alcon Laboratories; Glidewell Laboratories; Metro; McCormick Ambulance; El Pollo Loco; AD+World Health; Wilshire Boulevard Temple; Care 1st; Los Angeles Dental Society Foundation; AltaMed; HealthNet; Jules Stein Eye Institute; Pearson Dental; Operation USA; Infotech, PRNewswire and the many other in-kind supporters who make this clinic possible.
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 health care 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. Don Manelli, President of Care Harbor, received the 2013 NBC4 Life Connected Award, which celebrates acts of community goodwill in Southern California. Manelli was also an Unsung Heroes of Los Angeles honoree and one of the California Endowment's Health Happens Heroes. To learn more about Care Harbor and this year's clinic, please visit CareHarbor.org, like us at Facebook.com/CareHarbor or follow us @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 health coverage programs including L.A. Care Covered™, Medi-Cal, L.A. Care Cal MediConnect Plan, L.A. Care's Healthy Kids and PASC-SEIU Homecare Workers Health Care Plan. 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 more than 1.8 million members, L.A. Care is the nation's largest publicly operated health plan.
Note to Media: To gain access to the clinic floor on Oct. 15-18, please register in advance at http://www.careharbor.org/media-registration. The clinic is open 6:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. each day.
Media Contact: Liz Narrillos Roux | Edelman
323.202.1074 | [email protected]
SOURCE Care Harbor