Las Vegas Sun

April 20, 2014

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health care:

County OKs plan for free medical care clinic in park

Commissioners attach certain conditions to approval

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A controversial proposal to house a free medical clinic in a vacant county park building was approved unanimously Tuesday by Clark County commissioners, but with conditions to appease concerned neighbors.

Volunteers in Medicine of Southern Nevada will be granted a one-year lease to open a clinic for uninsured residents in a vacant building in Paradise Park, off Tropicana Avenue and Pecos Avenue. The lease will limit the operating hours and the total number of patients to 6,000 in the first year, require the clinic to provide security and monthly updates to Commission Chairman Rory Reid, who represents the neighborhood.

Clinic opponents were grumbling as they left the meeting. Their primary argument was that the clinic, no matter how worthy a cause, was not an appropriate use for a building in a public park. Opponents of the clinic also suggested that the uninsured patients could lower property values and present a danger to children who use the swimming pool in the park.

Dr. Florence Jameson and her husband, Gard, are leading the group that wants to open the clinic, which includes 300 volunteers — about 100 doctors, 50 nurses, pharmacists and others. The Jamesons argued that there needs to be more affordable medical facilities for uninsured residents, who number in the hundreds of thousands in Southern Nevada. They will need to spend more than $400,000 to renovate the building, but then would rent it from the county for $1 a year.

The initial lease would only be extended if the clinic does not have a negative affect on the park community, Reid said.

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