It’s no secret that healthcare is expensive without a good insurance plan, but a recently-opened free clinic in Los Angeles helped many people receive the help they need without paying a cent.
According to CBS News, a charity called Your Best Pathway to Health provided free medical and dental care to thousands of people last week at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
Dr. Chris Lewis, who founded the free clinic in 2014, assumed that most of his patients would be homeless. However, he quickly realized that many of the clinic’s attendees were hard-working Americans with high insurance deductibles that make it nearly impossible to see their normal doctor.
“I expected to see a lot more homeless people and people with no insurance at all, and to find out that the majority had insurance but couldn’t afford their co-payment or deductible, that was surprising,” Lewis said.
Mandy Negrete is one of many patients who had been putting off an important medical need for years. Since her health insurance only pays for eye exams, she had been unable to buy corrective lenses until visiting the clinic.
“What am I supposed to do with a prescription? It’s no good to me without the glasses,” Negrete said.
About 48% of the population is unhappy with their teeth, and dental procedures are often even more expensive than common medical treatments. By offering a combination of medical, dental, and optical treatments, the clinic’s 4,300 volunteers gave away nearly $30 million in medical services free of charge.
As local news affiliate ABC 7 reported, the clinic was open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday last week. While some were forced to stand in line for hours on end before receiving treatment, patient Kyung Lee believes that the wait was more than worth his while.
“This makes it very accessible for people who do not have the financial needs,” Lee said, adding that Medicare does not adequately care for his respiratory complications.
In addition to being organized by Your Best Pathway to Health, the free clinic was also co-sponsored by the Los Angeles County Department of Health and Services.
Due to the success of this year’s event, many believe that the clinic will be returning to Los Angeles on an annual basis for years to come.