Mindy Oberne: Grass Valley’s free two-day clinic makes health care available for all
While there is a lot of talk about the need for everyone to have access to health care, there is an organization in Roseville that does more than just talk.
California CareForce actually brings temporary mobile free clinics to communities to provide medical services to everyone. Since 2011, over 13,000 volunteers have provided health-care services to over 29,000 individuals, delivering $11,700,000 worth of medical, dental and vision care, through CareForce. Their clinics are open to everyone, no questions asked.
In 2015, CareForce came to the Grass Valley Veterans Memorial Building and helped 559 residents with about $250,000 worth of services provided. The good news is CareForce will be returning to Grass Valley this January at the fairgrounds, where they expect to serve more than 1,000 people. Our local United Way of Nevada County is hosting the event, which is no small feat — raising community awareness, recruiting volunteers, raising funds and much more. They’ve been working on the clinic for over a year now.
The biggest need at these clinics is dental and vision care, as they are rarely covered in standard insurance policies, nor are they covered in Medicare. Nevada County has one of the largest populations of seniors, and they typically need glasses and dental care, so this clinic is a godsend for them.
Complete eye exams will be available, including tests for glaucoma. Patients may receive a prescription that is theirs to keep and is good for two years. Then that patient may pick out a new pair of eyeglass frames, and go home with brand new glasses made on site just for them. The CareForce can make 250 brand new pairs of glasses each day.
The 60 dental chairs CareForce will set up with water and suction, will be providing Nevada County residents with cleanings, fillings and extractions. A panograph machine will take a full set of X-rays for each patient. Some local dental care providers are donating post-clinic services arranged for at the clinic.
While medical care is limited at the clinic, it is the intention of CareForce to help Nevada County residents connect with their own community clinics for regular care. There will be a Resource Center where local clinics, health-related county departments, and various organizations will be present to educate the public and offer sign-ups for services available. Quite often people are unaware of help that already exists.
More good news is a new patient registration system the CareForce has devised to make it easier for patients to be seen. Instead of giving out numbers at 3:30 a.m., as they did in 2015, wristbands will be given out the day before between noon and 3 p.m. The wristbands will guarantee a specific service for a particular time slot the next day. Special consideration for veterans allows them same-day service without a wristband, as long as they show up before 11 a.m.
United Way’s website has a link to donate specifically to the clinic at http://www.uwnc.org. All funds go directly to the clinic; United Way does not take a percentage.
If you believe everyone in our community deserves access to health care, then please act today and donate to the free health-care clinic.
“The proof that one truly believes is in action.” — Rustin Bayard
Mindy Oberne lives in Grass Valley.
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