Beginning March 1, Coast Plaza Medical Center in Norwalk plans to provide free emergency care for unemployed people in Norwalk, Downey, Santa Fe Springs and Bellflower.
The hospital provided $5,200 worth of free emergency care to 27 area patients on a trial basis between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day before deciding to expand the program, said Peter Milio, a spokesman for the hospital.
The program provides free treatment and tests for minor emergencies such as simple cuts, fractures, burns, sprains and simple puncture wounds. The program does not include major emergencies, routine physicals, admission to the hospital, surgery or follow-up care, Milio said. Proof of unemployment is not required.
"We know that many residents in our surrounding communities have met with financial difficulties and won't come in for treatment because they believe they cannot afford it," said hospital Executive Director Arthur Gerrick.