For those fortunate enough to have health-care coverage or be able to afford it in a city where a cupcake costs as much as a gallon of gas, getting teeth cleaned and blood work done on a regular basis is taken for granted. For the 3 million uninsured in this city, there’s the Saban Free Clinic. Whether it’s time to get an expert diagnosis of that unidentified rash, or you have finally used up your friend’s patience (and pay grade) and find yourself in need of counseling from a real psychiatrist, or are simply rushing to score a dose of Plan B, the Saban Free Clinic is there. Formerly the Los Angeles Free Clinic, Saban is the oldest operating free clinic in Los Angeles and has been providing health services to the working poor and the homeless since it opened in 1967. This year, more than 21,000 Angelenos found refuge at one of Saban’s three facilities.
A Los Angeles relic, the Free Clinic opened during the Summer of Love to help provide basic care for the thousands of hippies (not hipsters) swarming the Sunset Strip. Since then, the Saban Free Clinic has stayed true to its mission of providing basic health care to those who otherwise wouldn’t get it. Co-CEO Abbe Land says it wouldn’t be possible to do so without the 400 to 600 Angelenos who volunteer there every year. “We rely on the support of the community,” she says. “We wouldn’t be able to do the work that we do without it.” With free HIV testing, mental-health counseling, cancer screenings and a popular prenatal program, Saban is there until universal, affordable health care is more than a campaign slogan.
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8405 Beverly Blvd., L.A., (323) 653-8622 or www.thesabanfreeclinic.org.