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Jul 17 2013

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Nation’s Largest RAM Clinic Returns to Region

The Remote Area Medical (RAM) returns this weekend for its 14th year to the Wise County Fairgrounds to provide free dental, medical and vision care to rural communities.

Last year, nearly 2,400 patients visited during the three-day event. This year’s event is expected to serve more patients over its three-day event.

Volunteers begin seeing patients at 6 a.m. on Friday, July 19 and continue through Sunday, July 21. All patients are seen on a first-come, first-serve basis.

RAM is a non-profit, all volunteer organization that provides free dental, medical and vision care to isolated and rural communities in the United States and abroad. The purpose of RAM is to provide free care to the uninsured, underinsured, unemployed, working poor and others that cannot afford to pay.

The Health Wagon is working cooperatively with RAM officials for the Wise event. Dr. Teresa Gardner serves as the executive director.

She explains several new options available to those attending the clinic. A fast track medical option is available to help prevent patients from having to stand in long lines.

Care available at the clinic includes complete eye examinations, dental cleanings, fillings and extractions, comprehensive hearing tests, medical exams, dermatology clinic, lung clinic, osteopathic treatment, bone density, women’s health services including mammograms and other specialized services, laboratory services, medication and educational assistance.

Gardner added that opticians will be making prescription eye glasses on site. In addition to making eye glasses on site, Lions Club of Virginia and the Eyeglasses Recycling Center from Roanoke have agreed to make available prescribed eyeglasses as a part of the Lion’s quest to conquer preventable blindness.

Oral surgeons will be available to perform biopsies and to screen for mouth and throat cancer.

Women can receive breast exams and pap smears to aid in the detection of breast and cervical cancer. Eligible uninsured or underinsured women may be referred to the Wise County Health Department’s breast and cervical cancer screening (EWL) program for free mammogram and other necessary diagnostic tests and cervical cancer screening.

The digital mobile mammography unit from the University of Virginia Health System will also be providing assistance for mammograms for women that may not be eligible for the EWL Program.

If transportation is needed, residents of Norton and Wise, Lee, and Scott counties can call Mountain Empire Older Citizens, Inc. Transportation at 1-888-877-6748.

Individuals are advised to continue to take regularly prescribed medications. 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. In addition, all patients receiving any services at RAM must bring all prescription medication/information with them to the event.

Bagged lunches and water will be provided to patients. People are also encouraged to bring sunscreen and an umbrella.

Stan Brock founded RAM in 1985. Brock was the former co-host and associate producer of the award winning television program Mutual Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.

Services are provided by volunteer health care professionals. For additional information, contact The Health Wagon at (276) 328-8850.

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