The Civic Auditorium’s doors were opened to hundreds of community members seeking free medical services during the fourth annual Glendale Health Festival on Nov. 2.
Hosted by the Armenian American Medical Society, the event was also sponsored by state Sen. Carol Liu, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, the Glendale Adventist Medical Center, Glendale Memorial Hospital and Health Center, Glendale Healthy Kids, Northwest Glendale Lions Club, Glendale Community Services and Parks Department and the Armenian American Nurses Association.
Chairman Manvel Momjian said that the main purpose of the event was to provide free medical services and consultations to uninsured members of the community who cannot otherwise afford medical care.
Between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., volunteers from these organizations, including nurses
and doctors, provided free medical advice and screenings, including breast and cervical cancer tests, hearing and vision tests, blood pressure level screenings and flu shots. The line to get flu shots, administered by the L.A. County Department of Public Health, was the most crowded, stretching all the way across the foot the auditorium’s stage.
Were it not for the volunteers from the different organizations and hospitals, the event would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to Momjian.
“We have volunteers that have been coming in every year,” he said. “There is more energy, more excitement, and there is always a new group of volunteers coming each year to help out. They know the importance of the health festival and they want to be part of it.”
Representatives from Glendale Memorial Hospital provided information programs available to the community, such as the cardiac fitness center, the women’s center, which provides family planning guidance, free pregnancy tests and prenatal care among a number of other services, as well as the senior services program, available to individuals over the age of 50 for free.
Previously held at the Pacific Edison Community Center, the festival had to be moved to the Civic Auditorium in order to accommodate the growing number of participants. Daniel Cedeno, a Communications Deputy for Liu, said they anticipated a much larger crowd this year when preparing materials for the event. Liu’s office, which is part of the committee that puts the event together, provided free healthy cookbooks in Spanish and English, California landmark coloring books, informative brochures about Alzheimer’s disease and food mats with nutritional information for kids.
Liu said another important issue at the festival was spreading awareness of preventive healthcare and informing individuals that everybody is required to have health insurance by next year, as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare. Otherwise, individuals face paying a tax penalty.
Under Obamacare, which was signed into law in March 2010, all states must have health insurance marketplaces, which are organizations designed to make buying health care easier and more affordable while informing the public of the different types of coverage programs and standardized healthcare plans available, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Covered California, a health insurance marketplace and the state’s interpretation of Obamacare, was also present at the festival, aiding in health education outreach efforts.
For more information regarding healthcare plans, visit www.coveredca.com.