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Medical professionals at Remote Area Medical Clinic provided over $487,000 in free care

Hannah Swayze • Nov 5, 2017 at 10:42 PM

As trucks were loaded and volunteers folded up chairs and packed up equipment, the Remote Area Medical Clinic left Gray on Sunday to move on to the next area in need.

As it goes, it leaves behind a large number of people that have been helped at absolutely no cost to them. About 844 people in the Tri-Cities and beyond are a little bit healthier thanks to not only the RAM Clinic, but the huge community effort and financial support that the event required.

"It takes a community, it really does," said Brooks Blair of Project Access, which was the local host organization for the clinic.

And looking at the numbers, it's easy to see why an event like this one takes so much support.

This weekend, medical volunteers performed 551 dental procedures, had 323 vision encounters and saw to 387 general medical cases.

And while the numbers and breakdowns of all the work are not available yet, RAM Clinic Manager Vicki Gregg said the value of the volunteer time was approximately $332,000. This is the amount of money medical professionals — if they were paid the average salary for their field — would have made had they not been volunteering their time.

In addition to this, the clinic also provided 130 flu shots, 45 Hepatitis C tests and six HIV tests over three days.

Altogether, medical professionals that volunteered this weekend provided $487,228 in medical care to people in East Tennessee.

Organizers say the clinic and this amount of free care given would not have been possible without the support of many community organizations.

Local churches and hospitals donated everything from food and volunteers’ time to vehicles to transport patients. Organizers also cite East Tennessee State University medical students, faculty and staff as being a huge help in organizing the clinic and also with patient treatment.

Due to the success and smoothness of the whole weekend, RAM and local community volunteers have already began talking about future clinics.

"We'd like to make it an annual thing, as long as there a need, community interest and money to do it," Blair said.

For more information about RAM’s mobile medical clinics or to volunteer, visit ramusa.org.

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