UPDATE: People line up for free weekend RAM Clinic in Athens
People are already lining up for the free Remote Area Medical healthcare clinic July 8 and 9 at McMinn High School in Athens.
UPDATE: The high cost of health care makes it difficult for some families to get the services they need.
It’s why this weekend one organization is back in the area to make that a possibility.
Remote Area Medical is the largest provider of mobile medical clinics in the country delivering free medical, dental, and vision care to underserved and uninsured individuals, children, and families.
Doors don't even open for the RAM clinic until early Saturday in Athens, but that hasn't stopped folks from lining up early to secure their spot.
Hundreds of medical professionals will be in McMinn County providing services at no charge to people like Tommy Wood and his son.
"We don't have insurance and need dental work. It’s really a great opportunity,” Wood said.
It's why they lined up on Thursday night and will be the first ones inside.
"It made me wonder, maybe I need to get in line? Luckily I was the first one,” he said.
You may remember they were in Red Bank last month. Now, they will be at McMinn County High School this weekend.
It’s the third one in the Channel 3 viewing area this year, an increase in services to serve more people who can't afford the high cost of basic health care.
"Financially that wasn't realistic, I have three teen boys, I’m on disability and living on $750 a month and there's no way I could do a payment plan,” said Joyce Olge.
Since RAM started in the 80's they've delivered more than $114,000,000 in medical services. In 2016, they treated more than 7,000 people in Tennessee and are on track to serve even more this year.
“There’s a lot of people, like the folks behind me that can't afford insurance and I really think it's a great thing,” Wood said.
RAM volunteers will start handing out numbered tickets at 3 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday morning, and you have to be physically there to get a number. Doors open at 6 a.m. for the first come, first serve clinic.
In the meantime, these folks will have to sit in line and wait, but for them it's time well spent.
"I anticipate that it will be boring at some point but I think it will be worth it,” Olge said.
You are not required to bring a proof of residency or proof of income. However, if you are on any medication, they ask that you bring that with you.
PREVIOUS STORY: Remote Area Medical will hold a free healthcare clinic July 8 and 9 at McMinn High School in Athens.
RAM, started by Stan Brock, was established in 1985 in Knoxville. Brock and his legions of volunteers deliver basic medical care to thousands of people every year, all of which are provided free of charge.
The parking lot at the clinic location will open at 12:00am, and numbered tickets are distributed on a first come, first served basis at 3:00am.
The clinic doors will open at 6:00am.
Medical care offered can include:
- DENTAL: Cleaning, fillings, extractions
- VISION: Complete dilated eye exams, testing for glaucoma, testing for diabetic retinopathy, glasses made on site
- MEDICAL: General medicine
- PREVENTION: Breast exams, diabetes screening, physicals, women’s health
- EDUCATION: Educational resources and information are provided throughout service areas
- NOTE: Due to time constraints, be prepared to choose between DENTAL and VISION services. All patients will have the option of receiving DENTAL and MEDICAL care or VISION and MEDICAL care, but not DENTAL and VISION care on the same day.
Patients will be given a number, and you must be present to receive a number when they are distributed. You cannot get a number for a friend or family member.
RAM also reminds patients they are not required to bring anything; they won't ask for proof of residency or proof of income.
But you should:
- Bring all of the medications that you take every day, and take them just like you normally do.
- Check weather conditions and preparing accordingly.
- Bring food, water, and entertainment like books or games. Lines can be long at times.