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Morning Brief: LA’s Community Clinics, Masking Indoors, And ‘Being Black For Dummies’

A white storefront with a large red sign reading "community hospital."
A community clinic.
(Chava Sanchez
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Good morning, L.A. It’s March 8.

As we’ve reported many times over the past two years, low-income neighborhoods and communities of color have been hardest hit by the pandemic. In L.A., community clinics have often stepped in to help, offering testing and vaccines.

But now, several of those clinics say they’re owed millions of dollars from the United States government, and without it, they may need to close down — right when vaccines might be rolled out for kids under five.

My colleague Jackie Fortiér reports that the problem stems from a federal funding glitch, which left clinics without reimbursement for administering vaccines to people who receive Medicaid.

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“We've done 425,000 vaccinations, and we haven't been paid for any of those who are on Medi-Cal,” Jim Mangia, CEO of St. John’s Well Child and Family Center, told Jackie. St. John’s deployed mobile clinics and pop-up clinics in addition to offering services at their brick-and-mortar locations.

Carlos Vaquerano, CEO of Clinica Romero in Pico Union-Westlake, said his facility had the same problem. “We have vaccinated people, and we haven’t received any money.”

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The amount of money owed to each clinic is substantial; Mangia estimates that St. John’s is waiting for more than $6.5 million. That’s in keeping with estimates from the Community Clinic Association of L.A. County.

In April, federal health authorities are expected to review the data on vaccinated children under age 5. Mangia said that St. John’s has a planned partnership with school districts around the county to administer the pediatric vaccine, but without reimbursement, “all that will be shut down.”

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A., and stay safe out there.

What Else You Need To Know Today

Before You Go ... This Week's Event Pick: 'Hooded, Or Being Black For Dummies'

Headshot of Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm in a multicolored sweater.
The Echo Theatre Company presents the Los Angeles premiere of 'Hooded, or Being Black for Dummies,' written by Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm.
(Teddy Wolff)

The Echo Theater Company in Atwater Village opens previews for the L.A. premiere of Hooded, Or Being Black For Dummies, a play that explores racial identity, privilege, and pop culture, written by Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm and directed by Ahmed Best. The story follows two 14-year-old Black boys from different upbringings and worlds. When they overlap in a holding cell, they argue, debate, wrestle, and then find common ground.

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Or, you could: Screen Oscar-nominated short films. View an Imogen Cunningham retrospective. Check out a conversation with Bob Odenkirk and Jack Black. Participate in the re:Her food festival. And more.

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