UPDATE: Patients Receive Free Care at Health Clinic

By: Olivia Fecteau Email
By: Olivia Fecteau Email

UPDATE 6/24/13
GREENUP, Ky. (WSAZ) – More than 1,100 teeth were pulled, and over 420 pairs of new glasses were given out his past weekend during a free health clinic in Greenup County.

The Remote Area Medical (RAM) clinic took place Saturday and Sunday at Greenup County High School

Some 300 volunteers provided dental, vision and medical exams to just over 1,000 people during the two day event.

Some of the other numbers include: 15 women received mammograms, and 75 adults and 3 children had their teeth cleaned.

Organizers say in total, patients received $321,000 worth of treatment.

“Seeing the compassion of the providers, the needs of patients, the quality of care and our universities participating, this is public health at its best,” said Stephanie Mayfield Gibson, Kentucky’s Commissioner for Public Health.

Some of the patients were also given referrals to Homeplace Kentucky for continued program treatment.

UPDATE 6/22/13 @ 6:44 p.m.
GREENUP COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Hundreds of patients got in to see dentists and doctors for free through the Remote Area Medical Clinic at Greenup County High School. They started lining up Friday afternoon.

The clinic, which continues through Sunday, allows people to get their vision checked, receive eyeglasses, get their teeth cleaned, filled or pulled and undergo medical testing.

For many of the patients, it's the only way they could see a doctor. Otherwise, they couldn't afford it.

"A lot of people's on income like SSI like I am that can't afford glasses," Loretta Evans, a patient who visited the clinic Saturday, said.

Evans, who lives in Grayson, Ky., showed up at midnight, six hours before the clinic opened. Even that far in advance, she was the 124th person in line.

By 6 a.m., volunteers said they had given out far more numbers to potential patients.

"We'd given out almost 500 numbers," Janet Kegley, a volunteer with Kentucky Homeplace, said. "It was 490 numbers by six o'clock."

Kegley said volunteers from her organization, which is run through the Center for Rural Health, are meeting with patients after they are seen by doctors and dentists to discuss follow-up care -- including medicine, hearing aids and further visits to the dentist or doctor.

She said the goal is to ensure these patients can continue to receive the treatment they need, free of charge. This, Kegley said, is important for many people.

"A lot of gratitude, tears, that they're finally able to be accepted and getting some treatment," Kegley said of the patients' reactions.

Mary Ann Traylor showed up early Friday afternoon to wait in line. She was one of the first people there. She said she has worked her whole life, but now she is on a fixed income and can't afford dental care.

"I need them worked on cause they're bad, and this is the only way I can do it," Traylor said. "I can't pay $5,000 or $10,000 for teeth."

She added, "I'm just on fixed income, and you can't do everything you want to."

Another early arrival, Bob Livernois, said he's fighting to get disability. He said he has worked in heavy manual labor jobs his whole life, and it has taken a toll on his health. But waiting in line for hours is worth it to him.

"When you want to have something done necessarily to do better for your health, you got to do what you got to do to get there early," Livernois said.

Walter "Doc" Blevins, a Kentucky State Senator, agreed with that.

"They wind up waiting for a little while," he said of the patients. "You're getting it for free, you can afford to wait."

Blevins, local dentists and doctors, and dental students from the University of Louisville were among those who volunteered their time to clean and pull teeth and fill cavities Saturday. Blevins acknowledged that poor diet and dental habits cause a lot of problems for many people in eastern Kentucky.

"We've got lots of problems with tooth decay," Blevins said. "People are afraid of the dentist, and I think they're here mainly because the pain takes over the fear."

Dr. Charles Tingle, who has worked for nearly 40 years as a dentist in Morehead, Ky., and his wife, Gail, are volunteers at clinics like these. They said the stories of patients are very moving. One man, they said, has been to four free clinics so that dentists could work on his teeth because the damage was so extensive.

"I think it's a matter of giving back," Dr. Tingle said.

"I think it's a good way to spend a Saturday is to share with other people your time," his wife Gail said.

Stephanie Mayfield Gibson, Kentucky's commissioner for public health, visited the clinic Saturday and said she was impressed with what she saw.

"Seeing the compassion of the providers, the needs of the patients, the quality of the care and the participation of our universities participating, this is public health at its finest," Gibson said.

The clinic continues on Sunday, June 23, beginning at 6 a.m. It is first-come, first-served. Organizers say people who want to be seen should plan to arrive by 3:30 a.m. to get a number and wait.

UPDATE 6/18/13
GREENUP COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) – AT&T has donated $10,000 to the upcoming Remote Area Medical (RAM) clinic that is coming to Greenup County High School.

More than 1,000 medically under served and uninsured patients will receive free dental, vision and general medical care from an army of volunteers this weekend.

Patients do not have to be from Greenup County to attend and there are no eligibility requirements for patients. No health insurance information is required or requested.

Cassie Mace, local event coordinator for the clinic recognized Representative Tanya Pullin for her support of this program. “We want to express our gratitude to everyone who has worked so hard to make the upcoming RAM clinic in Greenup County a reality. Representative Tanya Pullin has been so dedicated to bringing excellent healthcare to our local area and she has worked very hard to bring numerous organizations and supporters in for this event.”

“A few years ago, a local group of citizens decided to focus on improving the health rankings of Greenup County. The group meets regularly to assess what health needs exist in our community. In addition to walking/running trails and regular local health screenings, the upcoming RAM Clinic is a great way to improve the health and quality of life of our community,” Representative Tanya Pullin said. “I applaud the hard work of the Greenup County Health Department, the Greenup County School System, University of Kentucky, University of Louisville’s Dental School, area doctors, nurses, dentists and dental hygienists, as well as local social service volunteers and churches to make this clinic possible. “

The clinic will run from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, June 22, and from 6 a.m. to noon Sunday, June 23.

Participants will be able to start lining up about 3 a.m. those days to get their tickets.

For more information on the Greenup County clinic, or to request a volunteer application, please contact Cassie Mace at GreenupCountyRAMHost@yahoo.com.

GREENUP, Ky. (WSAZ) -- A free medical clinic that makes its way to Kentucky each year is headed to Greenup County in June.

A Remote Area Medical Clinic (RAM) will be at Greenup County High School on June 22 and 23. The clinic is expected to serve more than 1,000 residents from across the region who are under insured or don't have health insurance.

Some of the services available will include dental, vision and medical. Those will include wellness exams, cardiovascular screening, women's and men's health screenings, along with blood pressure checks. Organizers say they hope this will get residents back on track with regular health care.

The clinic will run from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, June 22, and from 6 a.m. to noon Sunday, June 23.

Participants will be able to start lining up about 3 a.m. those days to get their tickets.

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