Remote Area Medical, the largest provider of free mobile medical clinics that deliver free medical, dental, and vision care to underserved and uninsured children and families, will hold a clinic on Saturday, April 1 and Sunday, April 2 at Cleveland High School, 850 Raider Drive Cleveland, TN 37312.
Patients can begin gathering at midnight on Friday night when the parking lot will open. RAM volunteers will begin dispersing numbered tickets at 3:00 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday morning. No ID is ever required.
Free medical services will include:
“We are in dire need of dental volunteers,” says RAM Founder Stan Brock. “Without them, we are unable to treat the hundreds of thousands of children and families who walk through the doors. Patient registration is escalating at all of our clinics, which means volunteers are needed now more than ever.”
In 2015, RAM treated 627 patients in Cleveland and services provided reached over $259,000 in total value of free medical care. RAM expects an increase in patient registration at this year’s clinic. In 2016, RAM treated more than 7,000 people and provided more than $2.4 million in free medical aid in the state of Tennessee.
“There are more than 108 million Americans without dental coverage,” continues Brock. “At our most recent clinic, in Cookeville, TN, over 20 percent of our patients had full-time jobs and still were unable to afford medical care.”
Lori and John Fields drove from Rockwood, TN early Friday afternoon to attend their third RAM clinic.
"You can only do either glasses or dental because they're the most needed at...so we had to split it up," said Mrs. Fields. "It's a wonderful thing for people that are low income, that fall through the cracks, [and] don't have any medical. If you can get to these clinics they're the best thing you can do. All the doctors that help you are very nice. Nobody looks down on anybody. Just come get yourself taken care of. That's what they're here for."
Cleveland High School principal, Autumn O'Bryan said this is the third year the school has hosted the RAM clinic since she took office eight years ago.
"We have to think about logistics as far as parking and facility and security and all of those pieces, which are primarily handled by the agency, but we do have to be able to provide our support," said O'Bryan. "I would hope that students that need medical services or assistance that they would take advantage of this being in our local community. They don't have to travel very far."
The school's volleyball gym and several other rooms will be filled with 28 dentists, eight general medical doctors, and about 18 vision providers.
Representatives from the CDC (Center for Disease Control) will be in attendance to observe Hepatitis-C testing, which is an epidemic plaguing the Appalachian area. There will be 40 dental chairs set up on the dental floor as well as 10 vision lanes in the vision area, which will be optimal to provide the care each patient requires.
The number of requests to operate a free RAM mobile medical clinic continues to rise, and unfortunately, due to a lack of funding, RAM is unable to fulfill all requests. If you or someone you know, would like to support one of their clinics, please visit www.ramusa.org and/or for more information, call 865.579.2555.