How To Find Free Medical Care At Non-Profit Hospitals - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

How To Find Free Medical Care At Non-Profit Hospitals

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The biggest names in health care are non-profit institutions, which means they have to help the communities they serve. Free medical care is available to thousands of families.

Last October, Julie Kalb, and out-of-work single mother got the call.

"I was sitting in my car outside my daughter's preschool. My breast surgeon called me and said you have cancer," she said.

Along with the fight of her life, Julie had two more problems: terrible health insurance and no money.

"I cam in not knowing if I could even pay," she said.

As it turns out, she didn't need to. Each year, more than 21,000 women receive the free care through Cancer Detection Programs: Every Woman Counts. To qualify, you have to be over the age of 40 and make less than $21,000 a year if you're single or $42,000 a year for families of four.

"They pay for my mammogram and my ultrasound and my biopsy," Julie said.

Most people don't know this, but all non-profit hospitals have to give back to the public.

"It's state law that hospitals provide a certain amount of community benefit," Maria Kish of the Scripps Cancer Center said.

Last year alone, Scripps Health gave back $240 million worth of services through uncompensated care, health screenings, clinical trials and support groups.

"Don't get afraid that there is no help out there. There is absolutely help. We'll help you get through it and we'll try to find services. If we don't have it here we will locate it for you to the best of our ability," Kish said.

As for Julie Kalb, the only thing stronger than the recovery she's making is her message for others who think they can't afford medical care.

"If you don't ask for help, you could die," she said.

It's an odd twist, but Scripps Health is able to provide more than 20,000 breast cancer screenings a year for free - thanks to a grant funded by tobacco tax.

Scripps says it's best to be proactive when it comes to your health, so contact them now, while you're feeling healthy.

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