The July 20-22 19th annual Remote Area Medical (RAM) Health Expedition has long been the nation’s largest such event, bringing together well over 1,000 health professionals and other volunteers each summer to provide free health care services valued at more than $3 million during the two-and-a-half-day health care extravaganza.
Wise County RAM, sponsored by the Health Wagon in its long partnership with Knoxville-based RAM, founded by Stan Brock, includes a Fast Track Medical option for those seeking solely medical care. Patients opting for Fast Track Medical during registration cannot broaden their choices to vision and/or dental services once they’re inside the gate.
“We will be in full force at the fairgrounds on Monday. Anyone who wants to volunteer with the setup, just show up. We can always use lots of help,” said Health Wagon Executive Director Teresa Gardner Tyson.
“Everything is going good. Working with all of our partners for 19 years really makes things come off really smooth. It really does. And that goes back to the quality people we have. We help each other is the reason why this event is so successful,” she said.
“The volunteers who respond each year are so great to come in to help. They are all such compassionate and caring people who feel like we do. There are just so many valuable partnerships that come out of this for followup and other care needs year round.”
Complete eye examinations will be offered by ophthalmologists and optometrists. Opticians will be making prescription eyeglasses on site. Wise County RAM’s fast track to eyeglasses targets those who already have a recent lens prescription (within the last 12 months) or have the ability to get one before the event. Volunteers at the site will be able to fill those prescriptions.
Dental care will include cleanings, fillings and extractions. Oral surgeons will be available to perform biopsies and to screen for mouth and throat cancers.
Hearing exams and hearing aids are included in the broad range of available services. Patients requiring a hearing aid will be assisted to obtain one. Hearing aid fittings will also be made during the event, and the device or devices will be returned at a later date.
Medical personnel will conduct physical examinations and complete medical histories. The range of available medical services rival hospitals and includes prostate and testicular exams’; ultrasounds and EKGs. Specialists in women’s health, endocrinology, nephrology, otolaryngology, internal medicine, pediatrics, podiatry and urology will be onsite.
There will be a dermatology clinic, cardiology clinic, lung clinic, and a foot and nail clinic with foot evaluations for everyone including diabetics, with assessment of circulation, sensation and foot deformities, along with toenail trimming if needed.
Osteopathic treatment will be available to improve mobility and relieve muscle pain, joint restriction and misalignments as well as discomfort associated with back pain, asthma, sinus disorders, carpal tunnel, migraine headaches, fibromyalgia and other disorders. A full range of women’s health services will include breast exams and pap smears.
Registration will begin at 6 a.m. daily from Friday, July 20 through Sunday, July 22. Patients will be seen on a first come, first served basis.
If transportation is needed, residents of Wise, Lee and Scott counties and the city of Norton can call Mountain Empire Older Citizens, Inc. Transportation at (888) 877-6748. Dickenson, Russell, Tazewell and Buchanan County residents may call Four County Transit at (888) 656-2272. Immediate notice is required for transportation needs.
Individuals are advised to continue to take regularly prescribed medications and bring all prescription medications/information with them to the event. If there is a question about a procedure in regards to a particular medication such as Coumadin, aspirin or any other medication, contact your primary care provider before the event.
Bagged lunches and water will be provided to patients. People are also encouraged to bring sunscreen and an umbrella.