Free medical services at Indio clinic

Megan Terlecky, News Channel 3 Anchor & Reporter, megan.terlecky@kesq.com
POSTED: 04:42 PM PDT Apr 04, 2013 
INDIO, Calif. -

Local doctors are providing free medical care at the Riverside County Fair Grounds.

From dental, to eye exams, even chiropractic services, the four-day clinic is aimed at helping not only the uninsured but the under-insured as well.

The Coachella Valley is among the most underserved in the state.

People either don't have access to health care services, or they simply can't afford it; and that includes the people with insurance.

"I've been out all night waiting for this." Iyisha Jackson says she simply couldn't afford the $7,000 dental work she needs.

"Its kind of like a wish that I've been wishing for a couple of years now, because I've been without dental insurance for a couple of years.  I'm working, but the job does not provide dental benefits, so this is something that I really needed," said Jackson.

Jackson isn't the only one.  The Remote Area Medical Foundation hopes to provide free care to about 4,000 people during the four day clinic.

"I came for a medical checkup and now I am doing a dental.  I haven't been to a dentist in years," said Sarah Johnson, who is attending the clinic.

"A lot of times, this is the first time that they have gone to a dentist ever," said Lucy Moreno, a volunteer.

The problem is people don't have insurance or they can't afford their co-pays and deductibles.

"Even with the health reform, Obamacare, we are not going to see any dwindling of these numbers because it doesn't include the dental and the vision," said Moreno.

That's why doctors from all over the valley are donating their services.

"I think it's an amazing program.  I have several friends that are here right now getting vision done, dental done, medical.  None of them are insured or under insured, so I think it's a fantastic program," said Johnson.

The clinic can even make prescription glasses on the spot after the patient gets an eye exam.

"I know people are camping out starting last night and early this morning and that just shows how much people are needed this service," said Johnson.

All services are free, you do not need any proof of income or an id.

"Something like this only happens once in a lifetime, how many times do you get a free service?  It's kind of unheard of," said Jackson.

The free clinic runs through Sunday at the Riverside County Fair Grounds in Indio.  It is first come first serve, so get there early.

Doors open at 5:30 am but we've heard reports people start lining up well before that.

The clinic still needs more medical volunteers, especially dentists.

For more information, click here.