It's an event that brings in thousands of people. Remote Area Medical Clinic, or 'RAM' is held twice a year in our region. It offers dental, vision, and health care at no cost for those who are uninsured or under-insured.
"To see hundreds of them line up at the Bristol Motor Speedway as their only source of health care once each year is a really moving time. These folks are in pain. They wouldn't stay all night if they had any other options for their health care," says RAM organizer Dr. Joesph Smiddy.
Last year, more than 1,500 patients were given care and because there are so many people that show up, hundreds of volunteers are needed.
"Handing out the food and water, tremendous need for volunteers and what a wonderful way to give back to our community and to meet these folks and hear their story," Dr. Smiddy tells us.
We've learned dentists and eye care professionals are needed the most. 95 percent of the people who come to 'RAM' last year needed dental care.
"People with a mouth full of bad teeth that have never been to the dentist or haven't been to the dentist in years. They're absolutely desperate in pain. People that can't function properly because they can't see and they just need a simple pair of glasses, but that's 200.. 300 dollars. They go to the emergency room, they don't do that in the emergency room," says Stan Brock, with RAM.
Here are more facts from last year's 'RAM'...at Bristol Motor Speedway there were over 15-hundred patients served, with just over 700 volunteers.
587 glasses were received, over 2,000 dental procedures were performed. 52 hearing aids were received, and there were 272 general medical exams.
For a total value of $575,199.00.
"It's just a little bit of help that can go a long way for the people who come to this event," Smiddy says.
The clinic will take place may 3rd, 4th and 5th at Bristol Motor Speedway's infield.
People are urged to arrive the day before the event in order to get help because patients are seen on a first-come, first-serve basis.
More information from RAM:
Patients will use the south entrance at BMS off HWY 11-E.
The parking lot will open to patients Thursday evening at midnight.
Numbers will be given out around 3:30 a.m. each day, clinic opens at 6 a.m. each day.
No personal I.D. required, and no eligibility questions will be asked.
To volunteer, or for more information visit www.ramusa.org or call 423-573-0695.
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