Last-minute need for doctors at Remote Area Medical clinic

BRISTOL, Tenn. - Remote Area Medical Clinic provides free care to thousands of uninsured people across the country, but organizers say they're facing a big problem.

Not enough doctors and health care professionals have signed up to volunteer during the weekend long clinic at Bristol Motor Speedway taking place in just two weeks.

It's not the kind of race you expect to see on the infield at Bristol Motor Speedway; it's a race for free medical care thanks to Remote Area Medical Clinic.

Dr. Barry Hopper is a dentist and says he volunteered for the first time last year. he worked one-on-one with thousands of patients, pointing them in the right direction when it comes to dental care. "I saw people who needed extractions, people who needed fillings, and I saw people who needed to have their teeth cleaned," he said.

But in order to provide free medical care to thousands of people, hundreds of volunteer dentists are needed and organizers are running into a last-minute problem this year. "As of right now we have 24 dentists who have signed up to volunteer and we have the capacity for 75 dentists," said Helen Scott, Tri-Cities RAM Coordinator.

The formula is simple: the more dental professionals that volunteer, the fewer patients will be turned away. "Eight out of ten people that come to the RAM clinic for help asked for dental [care]," added Scott.

We also learned the need for eye doctors is also critical.

It's this army of volunteers that provides health care, improving the lives of thousands. "It was an awe-inspiring opportunity to appreciate what these people needed," added Hopper.

This year's RAM clinic will be held the weekend of May 3-5.

To volunteer you can click here for more information. Or call Scott at (423) 360-5192.

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