When the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced it would open an emergency-intake site in Long Beach for unaccompanied migrant children, UCLA Health officials sprang into action.
Within 24 hours, they built a pediatric clinic, urgent-care facility and COVID-19 isolation unit inside the Long Beach Convention Center. They set up medical examination rooms, brought in X-ray machines and laboratory and pharmaceutical supplies, established secure computer networks to transmit health information and staffed the site with UCLA Health medical professionals — at least 30 at any given time, from pediatricians, family physicians and nurses to infectious-disease experts and child life specialists.
“The UCLA Health system is honored to play a role in providing state-of-the-art, pediatric age-appropriate care to the children coming in on the border mission,” says Johnese Spisso, president of UCLA Health and CEO of the UCLA Hospital System. “For us, it’s a chance to really extend our care to this highly vulnerable population and support them in many ways, both for their health care needs and their psychosocial development.”
The Long Beach Convention Center site, which can accommodate as many as 1,000 children, is one of more than a dozen temporary shelters opened this year to house migrant children who have arrived in the United States from Central America without their parents. Ten of these emergency-intake sites are in cities throughout Texas. The first California location opened at the San Diego Convention Center in March.