Free dental, visual and medical services offered in Louisville

Free dental, ophthalmic and medical services will be provided to anyone who visits the Remote Area Medical Clinic that will be moving into Jefferson County High School on September 25-26. No ID is required and medical staff will see patients on a first come, first served basis.

Event organizers hope to see hundreds of people from across the region benefit from these services free of charge.

Kim Faulkinbury, the clinic’s coordinator, said her organization coordinates with volunteer healthcare professionals to host events like this across the United States pretty much every weekend. Dental and vision care are the two most requested services, she said.

“Over 90 percent of the patients who come to our clinics come for one of these two, if not both,” Faulkinbury said.

RAM will work in conjunction with a team from Emory University and the Georgia Dental Association.

“We will be doing dental fillings, extractions and cleanings; full eye exams including dilation if they need it, ”said Faulkinbury. “We will manufacture glasses on site within a certain range. We bring in a certain set of lenses and if it’s not in the set we’re carrying, we’ll have them made and mailed to the patient.

Other medical services include general exams, prescription management, women’s health and more. Many of the people they serve are uninsured or underinsured and cannot access or afford standard medical treatment in their communities.

“Medical services are really for people who don’t have a primary care provider that they go to on a regular basis,” Faulkinbury said. “We can do smears and things like that. We have the ability to write prescriptions for patients. Typically it will be a series of antibiotics or a three month supply of any blood pressure medication, something like that. We do not prescribe any narcotics in our clinics.

Organizers said the majority of people attending medical clinics in remote areas request vision and dental services.  Volunteer healthcare professionals provide free eye exams and vision tests and produce glasses on site for free.

As services are provided on a first-come-first basis, the Jefferson County High School parking lot will open for patients to queue at 12:01 am (just after midnight) on Saturday morning.

Volunteers start seeing patients at 6 a.m. on Saturday morning and again at 6 a.m. on Sunday morning.

“The first person in the parking lot will be the first through the gate,” said Faulkinbury. “That’s why people come early because they want to shorten their waiting time.

Because vision and dental care are by far the most requested services and due to the time typically associated with related procedures, RAM restricts people seeking treatment to choosing vision or dental care on the day of the clinic.

“So if they need both, they can pick one on the first day and the other on the second,” Faulkinbury said. “Shortly after people arrive, someone will come to their car and ask people what they need so that we can get them into the clinics in order.”

With so many expected and sometimes long wait times, the organizers strongly encourage those seeking treatment to bring food, drink and entertainment, as well as all the medications they will need to get through the day.

“Once you get there you have to stay put until you receive care,” Faulkinbury said.

Sanitary facilities will be available.

The majority of RAM staff on site throughout the event will be volunteers, Faulkinbury explained. These often include registered nurses, medical assistants, physicians, dentists, dental hygienists, optometrists, ophthalmologists, opticians, medical students and a host of other volunteers who help with logistical support operations. .

“RAM operates on a community home group model, which means we only go where we are invited to go,” Faulkinbury said. In this case, the clinic was recruited from the area by a group of Emory University students who volunteered at RAM events and saw the need for them in rural Georgia.

For two years, members of this Atlanta student group have raised funds and medical professionals from across the state to bring their services to Jefferson County. This will be RAM’s second pop-up clinic in Georgia. The first one was in Savannah a few weeks ago, but it was only providing dental services.

Saketh Kollipara, a third year student with eyes on medical school, is the promotion manager for the RAM community home group in Emory.

“We saw an opportunity because there were none of these clinics in Georgia at the time and there is still a huge need for healthcare among low-income patients in Georgia,” Kollipara said. “Basically it’s been a two-year trip that will culminate in September. “

Kollipara’s organization researched underserved areas across the state, got its clinic proposal approved, and raised around $ 27,000 from businesses and private donors to pay for needed logistics, supplies and materials. to host a clinic. They also spent two years recruiting the medical professionals who will volunteer their time in Jefferson County during the two-day clinic.

“Ultimately, the goal of AMR is to alleviate the pain and suffering of medically underserved or uninsured people,” Kollipara said. “We don’t pay anyone to come to the clinic, not the doctor or dentists. They are there because they want to be there and they want to help the community.

Through their research, the Kollipara organization found that 12.3% of people in rural counties did not have health insurance, and 89 of Georgia’s counties had been designated as areas of primary care shortage. They also found that 41% of the state’s rural hospitals were at high risk of closure.

Kollipara said Emory’s RAM group saw where 26.9% of Jefferson County’s population live below the poverty line and wanted to help.

For more information on the Remote Area Nonprofit Medical Program, see RAMUSA.ORG.

About John Tuttle

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