Event in need of professionals to volunteer services in dental, vision
BRISTOL, Tenn. – In an effort to meet the needs of thousands of medically underserved patients, Tri-Cities organizers are preparing to host the region’s third Remote Area Medical®
The 2013 Tri-Cities region RAM® clinic in the will take place on May 3, 4, and 5 at the Bristol Motor Speedway
. Medical, dental and vision services will be provided at no cost to individuals who are present for care. There are no eligibility requirements for patients, and no health insurance information is required or requested.
“People might be surprised by how many residents of our region need the services of RAM® because of their financial circumstances,” said Dr. Joseph Smiddy, a pulmonologist with Wellmont Medical Associates Pulmonary & Sleep and one of the original organizers of the first Tri-Cities region RAM® event in October 2010. “I’ve gained a greater appreciation of how fortunate I have been when I see how many people come to RAM® because they have no other option for their health care.”
The medical, dental and vision care offered at RAM® events is provided by an army of volunteers, both clinical and non-clinical. This year’s clinic is still in need of dentists, as dental care is the most sought-after service at RAM® events. Eye care professionals are also needed.
Last year’s Tri-Cities region RAM® event provided $575,199 worth of medical services to 1,584 people over the course of three days. Ninety-five percent of those patients were seeking dental care, resulting in 2,107 tooth extractions, 376 fillings and 128 cleanings. Vision was the second most popular service at the clinic; 587 pairs of glasses were received by patients, nearly all of which were made on site in RAM’s mobile vision unit. The clinic also provided 52 hearing aids and 272 general medical exams. This year, organizers will again plan to be able to serve hundreds of people seeking primarily dental and vision services.
“We are so grateful to all of the professionals who volunteered their time and expertise last year to provide quality care to so many people in need,” said Helen Scott, executive director of Healing Hands Health Center in Bristol and chair of the Community Host group for the Tri-Cities region RAM® clinic. “These patients are our friends and neighbors; many of them work at jobs that do not provide medical or dental insurance, and they are extremely grateful for the care they receive.”
If a patient requires a service that can’t be performed during the clinic, volunteers will help the patient connect with regional resources to get the necessary care.
“It’s very touching to see all of the volunteer caregivers who are committed to improving the quality of life for their fellow residents of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. This event shows the compassion of our region at its best,” said Smiddy.
For more information on Tri-Cities region RAM® clinic, visit http://ramusa.org or call Helen Scott at (423) 652-2516. An information line is also available for patients at (423) 573-0695. Donations may be made online at www.crossroadsmedicalmission.org or mailed to Tri-Cities RAM Host c/o Crossroads Medical Mission, PO Box 16852, Bristol, Va., 24209-6852. Make checks payable to Crossroads Medical Mission and mark them for “RAM, Tri-Cities.”