California

Health Net funding allows gigantic, free health clinic to proceed in Sacramento

Health Net announced Wednesday that it will provide the $75,000 in funding needed to ensure that the nonprofit California CareForce can proceed with plans for its gigantic free medical clinic later this month at Cal Expo.

California CareForce announced in August that a funding shortfall forced it to cancel the Sacramento event, a clinic that has occurred here in seven of the last eight years. The Health Net funding will allow the event to proceed Oct. 25-26. A unit of the publicly traded Centene Corp., Health Net offers health care insurance to millions of U.S. citizens in all 50 states.

“Part of living our commitment to transform the health of communities means investing in solutions that improve access to care for every Californian,” said Carol Kim, Health Net’s vice president of community investments and government and public affairs. “More than 100,000 Sacramentans struggle to access and navigate medical services today. We’re proud to work with CareForce to support their annual clinic and help close that gap by providing much-needed, free health care through this incredible program.”

Last year, nearly 2,000 uninsured and underinsured residents received physical screenings, general medical exams, dental screenings, X-rays, cleanings, fillings, extractions, eye health exams, vision exams and custom prescription glasses made on site. Over the years, tens of thousands have gotten millions of dollars worth of care at CareForce clinics around California.

To register for service, residents should go to Lot D at Cal Expo, 1600 Exposition Blvd. in Sacramento at 4 p.m. the day before they wish to be seen. Volunteers will distribute a limited number of wristbands, which will guarantee next-day service. Wristbands cannot be transferred to another individual and any band that is cut or altered may not be honored. For more information, go to the patients tab at californiacareforce.org.

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg welcomed Health Net’s intercession, saying, “CareForce’s annual clinic is crucial to providing thousands of local, low-income residents with much-needed healthcare services. Investments from organizations like Health Net make this important mission possible.”

The Health Net funding will go toward covering more than half the funding needed for medical equipment and care station setup. Without this clinic, the next local event would have been Jan. 11-12 at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley, too far for many of Sacramento’s low-income and homeless residents to access.

“We were thrilled when we found out Health Net wanted to sponsor the 2019 Sacramento clinic,” said Pamela Congdon, founder and executive director of California CareForce. “Patients and volunteers have been calling, asking why this year’s clinic isn’t on our website. It’s been hard to explain that this much-needed service may not happen this year. We are so thankful to Health Net who shares the same mission we do – providing access to care.”

To get information on volunteering, go to the volunteers tab at California CareForce’s website to register. Congdon is seeking oral surgeons, dentists, hygienists, dental assistants, ophthalmologists, optometrists, opticians, ophthalmic technician, medical doctors, registered nurses, emergency medical technicians and people willing to help direct traffic. Last year, more than 1,000 people volunteered.

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Cathie Anderson covers health care for The Bee. Growing up, her blue-collar parents paid out of pocket for care. She joined The Bee in 2002, with roles including business columnist and features editor. She previously worked at papers including the Dallas Morning News, Detroit News and Austin American-Statesman.
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