Doors Open To One Of The Nation’s Largest Free Healthcare Clinics OfferIng Care To Thousands Of Angelenos

13clinic_600LOS ANGELES, Sept. 11, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Care Harbor – a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization that helps uninsured and underserved populations by organizing large-scale free urban health clinics – kicked-off today its annual Los Angeles clinic, which will run September 11-14 at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. Care Harbor will provide free medical, dental and vision care, as well as 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, from Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas (Los Angeles County, Second District), Tzu Chi Medical Foundation and assistance from more than 50 organizations and 3,000 volunteers.

“Our goal is to create lasting change in the lives of the people we serve by providing sustainable care in addition to the extensive medical, dental and vision services we offer on site,” said Don Manelli, president and founder of Care Harbor. “Care Harbor provides prevention education and resources, connects patients needing follow-up care to local medical homes, and conducts a major insurance education and enrollment effort. Through an outpouring of generosity from our community we are able to provide free care for the fifth year in a row to those who desperately need it.”

Although it’s a year into healthcare reform, millions still are without access to care, particularly specialty care. Care Harbor is aiming to address this need during the four days of the Care Harbor/LA clinic by providing thousands of medically underserved Angelenos with the opportunity to receive free specialty and prevention care, in addition to free medical, dental and vision care. Moreover, insurance counselors will be onsite to provide information about the various coverage plan options available through the California Marketplace and other resources, and help patients sign up for insurance onsite as open enrollment approaches in the fall.

“Over the course of the past year, we’ve seen that the Affordable Care Act is working. In Los Angeles County, the number of uninsured was reduced by more than a million people,” said Howard A. Kahn, L.A. Care’s CEO. “But, our job is not done. There are still roughly 1-1.3 million uninsured Angelenos and it’s our responsibility to help them get the healthcare that they so desperately deserve. Care Harbor goes a long way toward facilitating this, well beyond these four days.”

Even in this era of healthcare reform, a UCLA and UC Berkeley study showed that approximately 4 million California residents will remain uninsured in 2015, and some 30 million people will remain uninsured by 2020, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

“The implementation of national health reform has been an enormous boon for the people of Los Angeles County,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “Thousands who had to endure illnesses and ailments without treatment now have access to medical care. The ACA, however, does not obviate the need for efforts such as Care Harbor. As it does every year, Care Harbor tightens the weave in our health care safety net, ensuring that those with the fewest resources and nowhere else to turn will not fall through.”

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’ve always had great participation from Tzu Chi volunteers, but this year it has increased to new levels,” said Dr. William Keh, chief executive officer of Buddhist Tzu Chi Medical Foundation. “We hope that this broad interest is a reflection of our work throughout the year to inspire individuals to get involved and help improve the health of our community. We are grateful to our doctors, nurses and volunteers that are joining us to celebrate this remarkable health care event.”

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 three clinics, Care Harbor/LA provided 43,822 free medical, dental and vision services to more than 10,000 patients and nearly 3,000 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 healthcare.

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 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. 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, like us at 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, L.A. Care Health Plan Medicare Advantage HMO 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 1.4 million members, L.A. Care is the nation’s largest publicly operated health plan.

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