Saban clinic celebrating 50 years of free medical care in LA

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The Saban Community Clinic started in the Summer of Love giving medical care to anyone, regardless of ability to pay. (KABC)

It's been a place for anyone who needs medical care to get help for more than 50 years.

As they celebrate this anniversary, the mission of the Saban Community Clinic remains the same: to keep its doors open to all, regardless of ability to pay.

This Los Angeles institution continues to serve the community.

At the clinic, caregiver Jerry Craig of Los Angeles takes a little time to care for himself.

"I've been coming here for 40 years, " he said.

Then it was known as the Los Angeles Free Clinic.

A film shot by young film students Bob Eberlein and Paul Deason showcases some of the thousands of needy patients who came through the clinic's doors.

Volunteer doctors offered their services with this philosophy in mind.

"All people should be treated as human beings. It doesn't matter if they're documented or undocumented," said nurse practitioner Stacey Nadler.

It started 50 years ago during the tumultuous Summer of Love.

Many young, poor and disenfranchised came to LA's Sunset Strip.

In the 1980s, Nadler worked at the clinic as a college volunteer.

"And it slowly evolved," she said. "We started seeing families. We see young adults. We're seeing medicare patients. We see the elderly."

Now the clinic, thanks to generous benefactors Cheryl and Haim Saban, has expanded to three locations.

While they serve the entire community, 10 to 15 percent of the clinic's patients are transients.

"This clinic has just grown. It's serving the community in such an admirable way," said Craig.

In 2010 with the help of the Affordable Care Act, a majority of patients were able to obtain health insurance. Providers say that significantly increased the amount of services the clinic could provide.

Here dental care remains within reach along with mental health services.

None of it would be possible without community support.

The clinic remains rooted in its storied past, but looks forward to its next 50 years.

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healthhealth caremedicalaffordable care actLos Angeles
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