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RAM announces third Tri-Cities clinic for medically underserved

March 29th, 2013 2:01 pm by Wes Bunch

BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Organizers announced Friday that Remote Area Medical will return in May to hold its third clinic in the Tri-Cities area.


RAM organizers said the additional clinic is scheduled for May 3-5 at Bristol Motor Speedway and is being held to meet the health care needs of thousands of medically underserved patients in the region.


The 2013 Tri-Cities region RAM clinic will provide medical, dental and vision services at no cost to individuals who attend. There are no eligibility requirements to attend and no health insurance information is required or requested.


Wellmont Medical Associates Pulmonary & Sleep Pulmonologist Joe Smiddy, who also helped organize the first Tri-Cities RAM event in Oct. 2010, said numerous people living in the area need the assistance the clinic provides due to their financial situation.


“People might be surprised by how many residents of our region need the services of RAM because of their financial circumstances,” Smiddy said. “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 volunteers who come from both clinical and non-clinical backgrounds.


The BMS clinic is still in need of dentists, organizers said, due to the fact dental care is the most sought-after service at RAM events. Eye care professionals are also needed.


Organizers said last year's event provided $575,199 worth of medical care and services to 1,584 attendees over a three-day period.


Of those patients, 95 percent came to receive dental care, resulting in 2,107 tooth extractions, 376 fillings and 128 cleanings.


Vision care also proved popular, organizers said, and was actually the second most used service at the 2012 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 performed 272 general medical exams.


Organizers said they are prepared to treat hundreds of people attending the clinic for primarily dental and vision services again this year.


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, praised the work of health care professionals who have volunteer their time in the past to provide treatment.


“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,” Scott said. “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.”


Organizers said volunteers would also assist patients who require services that can't be provided at the clinic by connecting them 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," Smiddy said. "This event shows the compassion of our region at its best."


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.”

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