Patient wristbands to be given out in advance of massive L.A. free clinic

The organizers of a massive free clinic scheduled to return to Los Angeles later this month have announced that color-coded wristbands will be distributed to patients in advance of the weeklong health clinic at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, a change they hope will reduce waits and leave fewer people turned away.

“This way, people can come on their designated day and not worry about long lines just to get in. The wristband is the ticket into the clinic,” said Don Manelli, an organizer with Knoxville, Tenn.-based Remote Area Medical, the nonprofit sponsoring the clinic.

The clinic will be held from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 27 to May 3 and is expected to draw thousands of uninsured and under-insured patients. Organizers plan to distribute wristbands starting at 9 a.m. April 25 outside the arena, 3939 S. Figueroa St.

Those seeking treatment on a particular day can get in line to receive a wristband color-coded for that day. Each family member seeking medical, dental or vision care must get in line to receive a wristband, although parents and caregivers may obtain wristbands for their children and charges. Wristbands are not interchangeable or removable.

Volunteers at the first clinic, held in August at the Forum in Inglewood, treated more than 6,300. Scores more were turned away because of a shortage of medical volunteers.