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RAM clinic set to bring free health services to Gray

Brandon Paykamian • Oct 30, 2019 at 9:00 PM

In an effort to serve the region’s many uninsured patients, Remote Area Medical will return to Gray’s Appalachian Fairgrounds Friday, Saturday and Sunday to provide free dental, vision and medical care.

The free clinic, organized in collaboration with East Tennessee State University, Ballad Health and Appalachian Mountain Project Access, will provide free dental cleanings, dental fillings, dental extractions, dental X-rays, eye exams, glaucoma testing, eyeglass prescriptions, eyeglasses made on-site and medical exams.

The clinic will also provide expanded women’s health exams through the help of the Educational Foundation of America and The Elsa and Peter Soderberg Charitable Foundation. Women’s health services will include mammograms, reproductive health education, pre-pregnancy services and a year’s worth of free birth control.

“We’re always seeking to expand services, and Gray is one of our larger clinics,” Remote Area Medical CEO Jeff Eastman said, adding that the clinic will also provide prenatal vitamins and pre-pregnancy counseling. 

Other clinic services will include lung X-rays, flu shots, oral cancer screenings and audiology services, including hearing aids. All services are free, and no identification is required. 

The clinic parking lot is set to open no later than 12:01 a.m. on Friday. Eastman said there is most demand for dental and vision services on Fridays.

Ticket distribution begins no later than 3 a.m., and patients will be seen in chronological order according to their ticket number when clinic doors open at 6 a.m each day. The clinic encourages everyone to arrive as early as possible, especially if they are in need of dental services.

The same ticketing process will be repeated Saturday and Sunday mornings. RAM notes that in some situations, such as bad weather, volunteer cancellations or other circumstances outside of its control, ticketing may begin earlier than 3 a.m.

The clinic always welcomes help from new volunteers, especially for additional vision and dental services. Eastman said professional medical, dental and vision volunteers can volunteer at any time. 

“It’s basically neighbors helping neighbors to make this happen,” he said, adding that the clinic was able to serve nearly 800 patients for $556,768 worth of health services in 2018. 

For more information about RAM or to volunteer, visit www.ramusa.org or call 865-579-1530.

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