People Helping People: The Virginia RAM (Remote Area Medical) Clinic
The RAM Clinic is an international endeavor, but there is none quite as large as the event held every summer, since 1999, in Wise Co. Virginia. Serving over 2,000 people in less than 72 hours- the RAM clinic is a collaborative effort between several groups and organizations to provide medical, dental and vision care for those in attendance. Patients travel from all over to receive these health care services. Many of the patients are from the coal counties of Southwest Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. This region is home to some of the most medically under-served populations in the state. This year, VAHP, along with several Health Plans volunteered their time, resources and staff to serve some of the region’s neediest families.
- This year, RAM kicked off their three-day weekend event with a historic drone delivery. The Federal Aviation Administration approved the first delivery of medical supplies via drone in the United States.
- Over 2 million dollars of free care was delivered, including many volunteer hours and free give-aways offered by some of Virginia’s Health Plans.
- Several lives were saved this year, including a woman with a painful tubal pregnancy, a patient who suffered a heart attack and many more patients who screened positive for life threatening cancers. In most of these cases, follow up care will be provided at no cost.
- There were over 100 volunteers from various Health Plans, who brought both their clinical teams, outreach and operations staff to contribute their time to the event.
Bright smiles seen from Team Anthem, pictured above. Volunteers were there as early as 4 am to assist patients with registration, triage and patient escort.
INTotal Health’s Nurses, seen above, up bright and early to help triage patients to the correct services. Triage nurses were on the front lines, helping to identify the most urgent medical needs this weekend.
A VCU Health System volunteer reviews this family’s medical charts in one of the many makeshift medical examination tents that were set up using sheets and clothespins.
State agencies also hosted promotional booths for various human services programs, to include CoverVA, the Commonwealth’s “no wrong door” health coverage enrollment program. VAHP’s Director of Medicaid Innovation, Stephanie Lynch, is pictured above with CoverVA’s outreach team.
The most popular service this year was Dental, topping off at over 1,000 patients served. A mobile denture crafting shop was set up to equip patients with new teeth. Many patients returning this year had the majority of their teeth extracted at RAM the year before. They had waited a whole year without teeth to come back to RAM to receive these much needed dentures.
Team Virginia Premier, pictured above their game tent- had a healthy twist this year! Handing out freeze pops and other useful prizes to event-goers, this fun bunch helped to add some comic relief and bring smiles to patients and their families.
INTotal’s brightest smiles were out to help deliver ‘swag bags’ that included much needed health related goodies. The ‘swag,’ or free branded merchandise that Health Plans bring to the RAM clinic each year are some of the highest demand items with patients. They include everything from school supply items to toothpaste.
We were both proud and happy to be apart of such a truly uplifting and helpful mission. Thank you RAM Clinic for all that you do to deliver health care to our most needy and under-served Virginians!