Mega-clinic provided ‘miraculous’ $38.4 million in services in Los Angeles
Birds-eye view of the Your Best Pathway to Health mega-clinic in Los Angeles, California. [Photo: Tanya Musgrave]
Your Best Pathway to Health releases the final figures for its biggest free clinic.
May 19, 2016
Andrew McChesney, news editor, Adventist Review
Final numbers for a Seventh-day Adventist mega-clinic in Los Angeles show that 8,538 patients received 18,957 health-care services worth $38.4 million, an outcome that its chief financial officer called “a miracle of the Lord.”
Your Best Pathway to Health, the group that organized the mega-clinic in partnership with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, had hoped to provide $30 million in services, and it credited God and 4,400 volunteers for making the April 27-29 event a success.
“Because of volunteers’ sacrificial partnership and service along with God’s blessings, the mega-clinic was truly a success for God,” organizers said in a statement. “Thousands and thousands of people’s lives were improved, and untold millions were showed God’s love for them individually.”
W. Benny Moore, chief financial officer for Pathway to Health, described it as “almost unbelievable” walking through the Los Angeles Convention Center when the clinic was in full operation and seeing the many services being offered.
“It’s virtually impossible to do what we do with Pathway to Health: to bring in more than 4,000 volunteers, give them a half-day of training, and then run a free clinic for three days,” Moore said Thursday.
“It’s only only a miracle of the Lord that 4,000 volunteers who had never worked together before are able to see over 8,000 people after a small amount of setup time and then make everything run like clockwork,” he said.
About 2,500 medical professionals were among the volunteers who provided 18,957 services, including 1,583 surgical procedures, 320 gynecologic surgeries, 25 major surgeries at White Memorial Medical Center, and 13 major surgeries at Glendale Adventist Medical Center. Thousands of people also received dental, vision, and a variety of specialty care such as cardiology, hydrotherapy, and massage.
In the radiology department, four patients were diagnosed and treated for previously unknown life-threatening conditions, including an acute deep venous thrombosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, stage four breast cancer, and testicular cancer in a 22-year-old.
“Because of the wonderful collaboration with our Adventist hospital partners including White Memorial Medical Center, Glendale Adventist Medical Center, and Loma Linda University Health, each of these patients are being treated in an expeditious fashion,” organizers said.
Pharmacist Goes Extra Mile
Volunteers were praised for going the extra mile for patients.
Moore said Bob Fulford, a pharmacist from Tennessee who ran the clinic’s pharmacy department, contacted a pharmaceutical company before the event and received more than $300,000 worth of pharmaceutical items, most of which were soon to expire.
“But the fact is we only operate for three days, so they are perfectly fine for us,” Moore said.
A record 2,250 prescriptions were handed in Los Angeles, topping the previous high of about 500 prescriptions at a mega-clinic in San Antonio, Texas, in April 2015.
Fulford also made sure that everyone who wanted medicine received it, Moore said, recalling that Fulford approached him near the end of the clinic with an urgent question.
“Benny, what do we do?” Fulford asked him. “We have all these people lined up out the door and around the curb. It’s time to close. What do we do?”
Moore told him to provide prescriptions to as many as he could until he was forced to close. Fulford ended up providing prescriptions to everybody in line.
“He was thrilled,” Moore said.
The free clinic is the biggest yet to be organized by Seventh-day Adventists in the United States. Organizers had hoped to treat 10,000 people, but turnout still topped the previously largest event in San Antonio, which provided $20 million in services to about 6,200 people over three days.
The total value of free healthcare services in Los Angeles amounted to $38,487,680.
In addition, the Los Angeles clinic received $1.7 million in free media publicity, organizers said. Among the media organizations that covered the event were CBS Evening News (national), The Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio Southern California, and area networks including NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, KNX Radio, KCBS Radio, KYW Radio, KFI radio, Univision, Telemundo, and LA Chinese Network.
“The massive media publicity for Pathway to Health LA, which is estimated to have a combined viewing audience of 7,792,263, was an opportunity to demonstrate nationally and worldwide that Seventh-day Adventist Christians believe it is an honor and privilege to demonstrate Christ’s love for humanity by being His hands and feet,” organizers said.
Patients Tell of Changed Lives
Patients were invited to pick up their results at one of more than 70 health information centers throughout Los Angeles and southern California. There, some patients are already receiving follow-up courses on how they can continue to live a whole and healthy life.
Patients have expressed their gratitude to God and the volunteers.
Carolina, who had suffered from congenital skin lesions since birth, heard about the clinic while driving to work in San Bernardino, California, and decided to head to Los Angeles for help, organizers said. A medical team provided laser and dermatologic surgery on the floor of the convention center.
“If this is what the Seventh-day Adventist Church believes, then they are my new family,” Caroline tearfully told volunteers afterward.
A hysterectomy patient wrote in a letter: “I’m one of the patients, and I would like to thank each and everyone. … Above all I want to thank God as I’m recovering from my hysterectomy, truly you all did an amazing job. May God continue to bless you all. A million thanks from the bottom of my heart.”
Leaders from the Los Angeles city government and Beverly Hills expressed their thanks to the volunteers at a Sabbath afternoon meeting at the conclusion of the clinic. The volunteers presented the leaders with two books by Adventist Church cofounder Ellen G. White, Christ’s Object Lessons and The Ministry of Healing.
The next free clinic is scheduled for July 13-17 in Beckley, West Virginia, and several large cities are to follow. Two hundred volunteers have signed up for Beckley, and 800 are needed, organizers said.
“In order to be even more effective, we are working to expand many departments, in particular our radiology and surgery departments, so that more can be offered improved health,” said Lela Lewis, president of Your Best Pathway to Health. “It is truly exciting to see God’s power at work, leading to great anticipation for His plans for the future.”