UPDATE: 7/19/2013 7:58 a.m.
Roughly 1,400 people lined up Friday morning outside the Wise County Fairgrounds to gain access to the 14th annual Remote Area Medical (RAM) for free medical care, according to Teresa Gardener from the Health Wagon.
The free health fair opened at 6 a.m. Friday morning.
Remote Area Medical (RAM) will be returning for the 14th year to the Wise County Fair Grounds in Wise, VA during the weekend of July 19th-21st. 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.
FAST TRACK MEDICAL: If patients are not coming for eye or dental needs then a fast track medical option will be available to prevent patients having to stand in lengthy lines. However, a patient will be identified and they are not allowed to change their minds to get eye or dental services once inside the gate. This will encourage patients to receive the needed medical care or screenings that they may have been putting off due to long lines.
EYE CARE: Complete eye examinations will be offered by ophthalmologists and optometrists. 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, VA have agreed to make available prescribed eyeglasses as a part of the Lion's quest to conquer preventable blindness.
FAST TRACK TO EYE GLASSES: Additionally, those who already have a recent lens prescription within the last 12 months from a local eye care provider or have the ability to get one before the event will be able to fill those prescriptions for eyeglasses at RAM. We strongly encourage patients who have the ability or insurance to get their exam prior to the event to do so. Medicare and Medicaid will pay for exams in some instances so patients are encouraged to check with their local eye care provider regarding this. This will reduce the need to have an eye exam onsite and amount of time these people will have to wait and hasten the process for all. Glaucoma testing will also be offered.
DENTAL CARE: Cleanings, fillings and extractions will be available. Oral surgeons will be available to perform biopsies and to screen for mouth and throat cancer. All available spaces for dentures have been filled, but those who have ill-fitting dentures are encouraged to come for possible realignment of their dentures.
HEARING EXAMS and HEARING AIDS: Individuals who are having difficulty hearing or just want their hearing evaluated are encouraged to attend. Comprehensive hearing exams will be available by audiologists. Patients requiring a hearing aid will be assisted in obtaining hearing aid(s). Hearing aid fittings will be made during the event and the hearing aid(s) will be returned at a later date.
MEDICAL EXAMS: Medical personnel will conduct physical examinations and complete medical histories. Prostate and testicular exams will be offered. Ultrasounds and EKGs will be available if necessary. Specialists in women's health, endocrinology, nephrology, otolaryngology, internal medicine, pediatrics, and urology will be available on-site. Other specialists may be available.
DERMATOLOGY CLINIC: A plastic surgeon and dermatologist will be onsite to evaluate suspicious skin lesions and perform skin cancer screenings. Biopsies and removal of suspicious lesions may be performed when medically appropriate and indicated.
LUNG CLINIC: A pulmonologist will hold a lung clinic. Pulmonary functioning testing will be provided. Individuals who experience shortness of breath are encouraged to come for additional evaluation. Chest x-rays will also be offered. Individualized assistance and support for quitting smoking will be provided.
OSTEOPATHIC TREATMENT: Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) will be available. This is hands-on treatment that is commonly used 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.
BONE DENSITY: A painless and noninvasive technique will be used to measure bone density in the finger to determine if you have or are at risk for osteoporosis.
WOMENS HEALTH SERVICES and MAMMOGRAMS: 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.
SPECIALIZED WOMEN'S HEALTH CLINIC: On Thursday and Friday only, gynecologists from the University of Virginia will provide specialized gynecological procedures such as endometrial biopsies, LEEPs and colposcopies at the Wise County Health Department. A doctor referral is required. Please call 276-328-1919 for information or an appointment.
MEDICATION ASSISTANCE: The Appalachian College of Pharmacy will provide an onsite pharmacy will be available to assist patients with prescription medications. Positively no prescriptions from outside of RAM will be filled at this pharmacy. No narcotics will be stocked. Pharmacy Connect will also be available. This program assists qualifying patients in obtaining free prescription drugs through participating pharmaceutical companies.
LABORATORY SERVICES: All laboratory tests require referral/ordering by a RAM physician. Individuals can take advantage of various labs that will be offered on the referral of a RAM provider. Patients should not eat or drink (except water) for at least 12 hours before having lab work (if taking medication for diabetes and fasting for lab work, bring food with you so you can eat as soon as your lab work is drawn).
EDUCATIONAL: Informational booths will be available on subjects such as cancer, mental health, diabetes, exercise, nutrition and other pertinent health topics. Certified diabetes educators will be present to discuss management of diabetes with patients. Chiropractic screening will also be available.
Registration for services will begin at 6:00 a.m. daily, from Friday, July 19th until Sunday, July 21st. Patients will be served on a first come, first serve basis, with the exception of some selected appointments i.e. dentures.
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. Dickenson, Russell, Tazewell, and Buchanan County residents may call Four County Transit at 1-888-656-2272. Immediate notice is required.
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, please 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.
Services are provided by volunteer health care professionals. Registered nurses and various specialists are being sought. For additional information, please contact The Health Wagon at 276-328-8850.
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