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Free Remote Area Medical clinic underway in Gray

Sue Guinn Legg • Nov 3, 2018 at 12:00 AM

Remote Area Medical kicked off its three-day free medical, dental and vision care clinic Friday at the Appalachian Fairgrounds in Gray.

David Maurer, a core volunteer for RAM and assistant coordinator of this weekend’s clinic, said about 250 patients were treated by volunteer doctors, dentists and other healthcare professionals Friday, including patients from as far away as Massachusetts.

“There were some here from Alabama, and I spoke with some who came here from Massachusetts. But primarily they came from the mid-South states, some from far away. Some of them spent the night in their cars, and some had been here more than 24 hours before they received services.”

While 250 might seem like a large number of patients to care for in a single day, with an estimated 300 health care professionals and support workers volunteering their services, Friday was a light day for RAM.

Maurer said Saturdays are always the busiest days of RAM’s weekend clinics, and said he expected to see between 500 to 600 patients come through today. The medical, dental and vision care is provided at no cost to people who are without insurance and otherwise unable to afford or access that care.

While almost all of Friday’s patients had been taken care of by 3 p.m. Maurer said 12-hour Saturdays are normal for RAM, and most of Friday’s volunteers would be back today with several new faces among them.

Available services include dental cleanings, X-rays, fillings and extractions, eye exams, eyeglass prescriptions and eyeglasses made on site, speech services, hearing screenings and a limited number of hearing aids, general medical exams, PAP tests and mammograms, chest X-rays, pulmonary care, flu shots and mental health screenings — all for free, with no identification required.

More than 800 people received $487,228 worth of free dental, vision and medical care at the first RAM clinic held at the fairgrounds last year, and Maurer was expecting up to 1,000 to be treated before the clinic wraps up Sunday afternoon.

The fairgrounds is at 100 Lakeview Street, Gray. Clinic parking will open at midnight, ticket distribution will begin at 3 a.m. and patient care will start at 6. Patients are seen on a first-come, first-served basis. RAM encourages everyone, especially those in need of dental care, to arrive as early as possible.

More information about the free clinics are available online at RAMUSA.org or can be obtained by contacting RAM’s Knoxville area office at 865-579-1530.

Email Sue Guinn Legg at slegg@johnsoncitypress.com. Follow her on Twitter @sueleggjcpress. Like her on Facebook at facebook.com/sueleggjcpress.

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