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Doctor aids patients w/ health care on wheels

May 10, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Los Angeles County health officials say nearly 40 percent of adults in the San Fernando Valley are overweight and 29 percent have problems with high cholesterol and diabetes is also a growing problem. Plus, many do not have access to health care.A local doctor wants to help those without access to health care manage chronic conditions and other problems by taking his clinic on the road.

It's been a stressful year for 60-year-old Violet Laorca of North Hollywood. She lost her mom to cancer, her blood pressure was out of control, her cholesterol levels jumped and she gained a lot of weight. Without health insurance, she didn't know where to turn until she found Dr. Glenn Lopez and his mobile clinic.

"He is so good and it's not only that. He helps everybody. When you come over here, you feel like god is here," said Laorca.

This 34-foot-long medical trailer on wheels is the brainchild of Lopez. It makes regular stops throughout the San Fernando Valley. Patients and family members often gather in the waiting area to discuss ways to make life saving diet and exercise changes.

The goal is to help people without access to health care manage chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

"We are setting up walking groups in each one of these communities where we are making these stops," said Lopez.

"I was not sleeping good, but now I can sleep. I eat better and my blood pressure is almost perfect," said Laorca.

Not only is Laorca grateful or the personal attention, Lopez says such mobile clinics will reduce the number of unnecessary visits to the emergency room, hospitals will have less uncompensated services and in turn, it will save money for insurance companies.

"Everybody wins, the patients, the families, the communities, the hospitals and every single one of us, insured or not," Lopez said.

The clinic provides ongoing care to nearly 600 people. Providence Health and Services and the Health Net Foundation are keeping it afloat with grant money. It also has the support of Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaraslovsky and Los Angeles Councilman Tony Cardenas.

It's a unique concept that's changing lives one at a time.

"The things he's been doing in my life is a miracle," said Laorca.

The cost of a medical visit is $15. The mobile clinic will be traveling to 11 different San Fernando Valley communities. Appointments are available in the mornings and evenings.

The mobile clinic is providing care two days or evenings per month in the following San Fernando Valley communities:

  • Burbank: Burbank Adult School (3811 W. Allen Ave.)
  • Burbank: Gross Park (2800 W. Empire Ave.)
  • Canoga Park: Canoga Park Presbyterian Church (22103 Vanowen St.)
  • North Hollywood: Saint Patrick's Catholic Church (6153 Cahuenga Blvd.)
  • Pacoima: Mary Immaculate Catholic Church (10390 Remick Ave.)
  • Reseda: Saint Catherine Catholic Church (18115 Sherman Way)
  • San Fernando: Santa Rosa Catholic Church (668 S. Workman St.)
  • Sun Valley: Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Church (7800 Vineland Ave.)
  • Sylmar: Saint Didacus Catholic Church (14339 Astoria St.)
  • Tujunga: Our Lady of Lourdes Church (7344 Apperson St.)
  • Van Nuys: Saint Elizabeth Catholic Church (3811 W. Allen Ave)

For more information and to schedule an appointment, call (818) 433-9204.


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