RAM to provide free medical & dental care in Gray

Contributed To The Press • Oct 30, 2018 at 8:31 AM

Remote Area Medical, a major non-profit provider of mobile medical clinics delivering free, high-quality, dental, vision and medical care to underserved and uninsured individuals, is returning to Gray.

Services available at the RAM clinic include dental cleanings, dental fillings, dental extractions, dental x-rays, eye exams, eyeglass prescriptions, eyeglasses made on-site, speech services, chest x-ray, pulmonology, flu shots, audiology exams including a limited number of hearing aids, mental health screenings, women's health exams including mammograms, and general medical exams. All RAM services are free, and no ID is required.

Last year’s Gray RAM clinic was the first one held at the fairgrounds, and drew a total of 830 people, who received $487,228 worth of free dental, vision and medical care.

Remote Area Medical will operate the clinic at Appalachian Fairgrounds, 100 Lakeview Street, Gray, TN 37615 on November 2 – 4. Typically, RAM opens the clinic parking lot no later than 12 a.m. midnight on the first night of the event (Friday, November 2). Ticket distribution usually begins at 3 a.m., and patients are then served in chronological order according to their ticket number when clinic doors open, which typically occurs at 6 a.m. This process will repeat on Saturday, November 3 and Sunday November 4. In some situations, such as inclement weather, volunteer cancellations, or other circumstances outside of RAM’s control, ticketing may occur earlier than 3 a.m. RAM encourages everyone who would like services, especially dental services, to arrive as early as possible.

According to U.S. census data, the poverty rate in Washington County, Tennessee is 14.8%, which exceeds the national average of 12.7%. Additionally, one out of every ten people under the age of 65 lacks health insurance coverage. People in these communities also suffer from a disproportionately higher prevalence of poor health and chronic health conditions, like Diabetes, COPD, and Hypertension. Because of these factors, RAM expects to treat approximately 1,000 people from Gray and surrounding communities during the three-day clinic.

“Just like many other places RAM visits, the need for affordable healthcare in upper East Tennessee is striking. Hundreds and hundreds of people will camp out in the cold just to get a new pair of glasses or have their teeth examined. It’s never going to change unless someone does something about it,” RAM CEO, Jeff Eastman said.

“We are incredibly grateful for the volunteer professionals who donate their time and talents to help those in need through RAM clinics,” said Brooks Blair, executive director of Appalachian Mountain Project Access, which serves as the host organization for the Tri-Cities RAM clinic. “The need for these services in our area is great, and we know that the care provided in RAM clinics makes a world of difference for the individuals who come to us for help.”

Services at the RAM clinic will also include the University of California at Davis's Healthy Families Project support for opioid addition recovery and diabetes care.

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