Named after the martyred Salvadoran archbishop and dedicated to the people thathe also served, Clinica Romero is a free clinic offering no-questions-asked,pay-whatever-you-can medical and dental services and prescriptions to everyonewho comes to its door.
The clean and bright facility is located in the basementof the Royal University of America’s Oriental Medical Center, Straightforward inits operation, Clinica Romero originally offered all its medical servicesthrough volunteer physicians, although access to some grant money recently hasmade it possible to hire a half-time physician, and Margaret Martinez is workingon a creative plan to pay part of the salary of a supervisor from the Universityof Southern California Medical School, who would work on the clinic’s site tooversee a cadre of interns and medical residents who’d help provide medicalservices there. Meanwhile, however, it efficiently delivers medical services sixdays a week (including two evening sessions) with a group of about 15 localphysicians who volunteer their services on a rotating basis. In a series ofrelated programs driven by project-specific funding, Clinica Romero alsoprovides health education (particularly AIDS/HIV), and an alcohol anddrug-prevention program that includes a community-organizing component aimed atensuring that the neighborhood’s 456 (!) liquor stores and bars don’t flout thelaws regarding loitering and sales to minors. With a staff of 23 and a $1million annual budget, Clinica Romero faces a rising tide of patients, with thenumbers served increasing from 3,500 three years ago to an expected 11,000 thisyear. With welfare “reform” denying Medicaid to many legal immigrants,these numbers aren’t likely to decrease.Health Care