Houston Free Clinic

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LARGEST NON-DISASTER RELIEF FREE CLINIC HELD AT HOUSTON’S RELIANT CONVENTION CENTER SATURDAY BY "THE DR. OZ SHOW" AND THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FREE CLINICS (http://freeclinics.us/)

Day Marks Largest Health Mobilization Effort in Houston Since Hurricane Katrina and Sets Historic National Record of Most People Treated for Basic Health Services In One Day Special

(September 27, 2009) – The largest non-disaster free health care clinic took place in Houston's Reliant Center Saturday with over 1,780 people treated who were living without health insurance. "The Dr. Oz Show," the new daily syndicated show hosted by cardiac surgeon and health expert Dr. Mehmet Oz, and the National Association of Free Clinics (NAFC), held the enormous free clinic at the Reliant Convention Center in Houston, Texas on Saturday September 26, 2009 to provide medical care to thousands of people who have no form of basic health insurance.  Dr. Oz saw dozens of patients during the day and will devote an entire show to the plight of families living without basic health insurance and the heroic work of the medical volunteers who helped them.  The episode is scheduled to air in early October.

The September 26 free clinic was staffed by 710 volunteers, including close to 200 doctors, 300 nurses, and other professional health workers from the surrounding area. The volunteers included obstetrician/gynecologists, pediatricians, reconstructive plastic surgeons, oncologists, endocrinologists, cardiologists, emergency room doctors and otolaryngologists.

The 168,000 square foot convention center had more than 120 exam partition rooms, a mobile medical unit which served urgent cardiac cases. Five people were rushed from the Reliant Center to area emergency rooms resulting in hospital admissions. US Census data reveals Texas has the highest percentage of uninsured people in the country - 25.2 percent. In Harris County, where the city of Houston is located, there are 1.3 million people without health insurance, which is about 30% of the population.

An estimated 47 million Americans are without some form of health insurance.  Free clinics historically have provided care to those who lack insurance, but have grown in size in recent months. Recently the largest free clinic on record was held in Los Angeles at the Staples Center over several days with thousands of patients served, making national headline news and bringing the problem into public consciousness. That clinic included dental and optometry services, and though hundreds showed up on the first day, Saturday's event at the Reliant Center exceed any single day attendance anywhere and only offered acute basic primary medical services.

Important Statistics From the Day

-83% of the people treated on Saturday were employed
-804 males and 980 females were treated totalling 1,784
-881 prescriptions were written
-25 cases of the flu were diagnosed
-At least 50% of the people treated were scheduled for follow up appointments at participating area free clinic providers