Posted: Aug 16, 2012 11:19 PM by Keli Moore
Updated: Aug 17, 2012 10:30 AM
More than 50-million people in the United States don't have medical insurance, and millions are under-insured. Those numbers are rising as unemployment continues, reported the National Association of Community Health Centers.
That's why local organizations like the Community Health Centers of the Central Coast or CHC aim to improve access to care.
Hundreds turned up Thursday afternoon for a street fair in Santa Maria to learn more about health care options.
This is the third year the fair was held for farm workers who live in the Newlove neighborhood.
The CHC set up three mobile health screening units and more than 20 local agencies came with everything health-related.
"They have blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose," said 20-year-old Anakaren Macias, who lives in Santa Maria.
She has attended the fair for the last three years.
"I have blood pressure issues, so when I come, I come to check my blood pressure and stuff," she said.
Both her parents once worked in broccoli fields and covered insurance for her, but she's been uninsured for the past year.
"The cost got too high," she explained while getting a vaccine.
There are other options for Macias. She get help through the Central Coast Health Centers, which has 26 locations between Lompoc and San Miguel.
"I think that we are just going to walk around and see all the information that we can get from all the booths," Macias said walking around the fair with her mom and little sister.
From getting screened for diabetes...
"Just look away , it is going to be a little stick," said a nurse.
To an eye check, dental exam and a body mass index. Macias was feeling good, but she was still a little worried about her blood pressure.
"This one is blood pressure, it's the most important one for me," she said.
"They said it was high, but hopefully they can help me bring it down," said Macias.
The health fairs goal is to put a spotlight on what's available for the uninsured and under-insured - just like Macias.
The CHC operates from different grants and money from the federal, state and county.
The agency said it will take care of all patients regardless of their ability to pay.
Anyone who is not insured, is below the poverty line or is undocumented can get treatment.
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