Thousands Line Up for Free Healthcare
The clinic begins Thursday and is expected to provide close to 5,000 residents with free medical, dental and vision care.
Lines began forming as early as Saturday for the wristbands, which are required for admission to the event. However , some say that the wait has become unfair.
"I've been waiting in line since Saturday at noon," said Jessica Bustamante. "They're letting people in wheelchairs and walker cut in front of us. I understand that but they said that it was supposed to first-come, first-serve."
"There are people passed out onthe sidewalk," said Virgie Briggs. "I have waited her since six in the morning and I slept on the side walk for dental work. Then they just let some people in wheelchairs go by. That ain't right."
Event staff say they understand the stress that thewait may cause their patients but they are doing the best they can within the current healthcare framwork.
"The folks who come here , many have been here for hours. That says they understand the care. The care is important to the individual but maybe the education of healthcare reform is as important as the care." said Care Harbor Howard Kahn.
Distribution of the wristbands is expected to begin at 1pm Monday.
A similar event held at the Los Angeles Sports Arena last October attracted nearly 5,000 patients.
Health practitioners and doctors are working on a volunteer basis, but Care Harbor says they are still looking for additional help.
"We've been funding the project for four years," said Kahn. " We have been encouraged now more than ever to do this because healthcare reform is coming up. Alot of these people need healthcare so we want to give them the care they need.
The four-day free health clinic will run Thursday through Sunday, from 7am to 5pm each day.
Immunizations, womens' health exams, and eye exams will be conducted. There will also be dental cleanings, fillings and extractions.