RAM fills in gaps where America's healthcare system falls short

FILE -- Volunteer dental providers treat patients at the 2019 RAM Clinic in Gray, Tennessee. 

The Remote Area Medical Clinic coming to Gray next month is still in need of licensed dental and vision care providers to volunteer their time during the weekend event.

“Remote Area Medical is glad to help bring free services to those in need in the Gray community,” RAM CEO Jeff Eastman said in a press release. “This has been a challenging time, and access to health care is more important than ever before. Thank you to all the volunteers who are coming to help those in need.”

Dentists, optometrists and ophthalmologists are needed.

Patients who are looking to receive care at the free medical clinic should be prepared to choose between dental and vision care due to time constraints. Free medical services are also offered to every patient attending the clinic.

Services available during the three-day clinic, Nov. 5-7, include dental cleanings, dental fillings, dental extractions, dental x-rays, eye exams, glaucoma testing, eyeglass prescriptions, eyeglasses made on-site, women’s health exams, chest x-rays and general medical exams. This will be RAM’s fifth Gray clinic.

An ID is not required for services, and all services are free but provided on a first-come, first-served basis. The clinic is put on in partnership with Project Access, Ballad Health and ETSU Health, and will be held at the Appalachian Fairgrounds in Gray.

“We are excited to be going into our fifth year as the Community Host group for the Tri-Cities RAM clinic,” Sarah Scott, Community Host Group lead and Director of Outreach for Project Access, said in a press release. “RAM is in line with our mission of providing meaningful access to healthcare for everyone in the Appalachian Highlands region, so we look forward to this event every year. We could not do any of this without our community partners and providers.”

The patient parking lot will open no later than 12:01 a.m. on Nov. 5, and patients will be provided with additional information on the clinic opening process and next steps. Patients should bring food, water, medicines and clothing when arriving early. Bathrooms will be provided.

The clinic doors will open at 6 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 5, and the process will repeat on Saturday, Nov. 6, and Sunday, Nov. 7.

Everyone is encouraged to arrive as early as possible, especially those seeking dental care.

In some situations, such as inclement weather, volunteer cancellations, or other circumstances outside of RAM’s control, the parking lot may open earlier or a smaller number of patients may be served. Clinic closing time may vary based on each service area’s daily capacity. Check RAM’s clinic FAQ page for more information.

In response to COVID-19, RAM has developed and incorporated new disinfecting and safety processes. All patients will be required to wear a face covering and must undergo a COVID-19 screening before entering the clinic. Guests and family members of patients, including pets, will not be allowed to enter the building. New air flow and capacity limitations have also been put in place to ensure the safety of patients, staff and volunteers.

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