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Cal Expo clinic to provide free dental, medical care to thousands

Rows of dental volunteers work on patients during a CDA Cares Dental event at CalExpo in Sacramento on Friday, March 27, 2015. This weekend’s event is run by California CareForce.
Rows of dental volunteers work on patients during a CDA Cares Dental event at CalExpo in Sacramento on Friday, March 27, 2015. This weekend’s event is run by California CareForce. Sacramento Bee file

Even as medical and insurance costs rise, free health care will be on hand at Cal Expo this weekend for anyone willing to wait in line.

The three-day medical, dental and vision clinic, hosted by volunteer corps California CareForce, will begin registering visitors at 6 a.m. Friday to offer fillings, extractions, eyeglass fittings, diabetes screenings and flu shots to adults and children for no cost. The clinic will also be held Saturday and Sunday, opening at the same time.

People can get a head start and wait in line at the blue gate as early as they like on Thursday to be there for registration and wristband distribution from 4 to 6 p.m. Those with a wristband can return for services Friday. People can also register Friday at 4 p.m. for Saturday, or Saturday and Sunday in the morning.

Participants do not need insurance cards or identification but should bring prescription medications as well as food and water for the long day. Veterans will get priority on Friday only.

It’s been four years since the nonprofit medical professional and community volunteer group last hosted the clinic in Sacramento. About 800 volunteers, 650 of whom are medical professionals, will be on site to serve an estimated 1,000 people each day and provide about $1 million in free medical care over the course of the weekend.

The clinic fills a need for the uninsured, or people who have insurance but struggle to meet copays and deductibles, event spokesperson Krista Bernasconi said. It also offers an option for people who may not be able to leave work to get to doctors’ appointments during the week.

“The goal is to get people out of pain,” she said. “Sometimes they come in in pain, with infections. The goal is to get them the care that they need.”

Sammy Caiola: 916-321-1636, @SammyCaiola

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