RAM returns to fairgrounds in three weeks


The nation’s largest health care outreach, Remote Area Medical of Virginia, returns to Wise July 21-23. The event provides free eye, dental and medical services to thousands across the region.

Remote Area Medical of Virginia (RAM of Virginia), with The Health Wagon and the Virginia Dental Association Foundation, will return for the 18th year to the Wise County fairgrounds. The event provides free dental, medical, and vision care to the uninsured, underinsured, unemployed, working poor and others who cannot afford to pay.

• FAST TRACK MEDICAL: A fast track option will be available for those only seeking medical care. This will encourage patients to receive needed medical care or screenings they may have been putting off due to long lines.

• EYE CARE: Complete eye examinations will be offered and opticians will make some prescription eyeglasses on site. In addition, the Lions Club of Virginia and the Essilor Vision Foundation are making glasses available as a part of the Lions’ quest to conquer preventable blindness.

• FAST TRACK TO EYEGLASSES: Anyone who has a prescription from within the last 12 months from a local eye care provider will be able to fill those prescriptions for eyeglasses at RAM of Virginia. Patients who have the ability or insurance to get their exam prior to the event are strongly encouraged to do so. Medicare and Medicaid will pay for exams in some instances. Glaucoma testing will also be offered.

• DENTAL CARE: Dental services are provided by the Virginia Dental Association Foundation’s Mission of Mercy (MOM) program. Cleanings, fillings and extractions will be available. Oral surgeons will be available to perform biopsies and screen for mouth and throat cancer. All available spaces for dentures have been filled, but those who have ill-fitting dentures are encouraged to come for possible realignment of their dentures.

• HEARING EXAMS, AIDS: Comprehensive hearing exams will be available from audiologists. Patients will be assisted in obtaining hearing aid(s). Hearing aid fittings will be made during the event and the hearing aid(s) will be returned at a later date.

• MEDICAL EXAMS: Medical personnel will conduct physical examinations and complete medical histories. Prostate and testicular exams will be offered. Ultrasounds and EKGs will be available if necessary. Specialists in women’s health, endocrinology, nephrology, otolaryngology, internal medicine, pediatrics, podiatry and urology will be available on site. Other specialists may be available.

• DERMATOLOGY CLINIC: A plastic surgeon and dermatologist will be on site to evaluate suspicious skin lesions and perform skin cancer screenings. Biopsies and removal of suspicious lesions may be performed.

• CARDIOLOGY: A cardiologist will be on site to evaluate those with hypertension, coronary artery disease, high cholesterol, arrhythmias, and related diseases.

• LUNG CLINIC: A pulmonologist will hold a lung clinic. Pulmonary functioning testing will be provided. Individuals who experience shortness of breath are encouraged to come for additional evaluation. Chest x-rays will also be offered. Individualized assistance and support for quitting smoking will be provided.

• FOOT AND NAIL CLINIC: Foot evaluations for everyone including diabetics; assessment of circulation, sensation, skin and foot deformities along with toenail trimming. Foot care education will also be provided.

• OSTEOPATHIC TREATMENT: Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) will be available. This is hands-on treatment commonly used to improve mobility and relieve muscle pain, joint restriction and misalignments, as well as discomfort associated with back pain, asthma, sinus disorders, carpal tunnel, migraine headaches, fibromyalgia and other disorders.

• BONE DENSITY: A painless and non-invasive technique is used to measure bone density in the heel to determine if you have, or are at risk for, osteoporosis.

• WOMEN’S HEALTH SERVICE, MAMMOGRAMS: Women can receive breast exams and Pap smears to aid in the detection of breast and cervical cancer. Eligible uninsured or underinsured women may be referred to the Wise County Health Department’s breast and cervical cancer screening (EWL) program for free mammogram and other necessary diagnostic tests and cervical cancer screening. On July 21, a colposcopy clinic will be held for those who have had an abnormal Pap smear, to aid in the detection of cervical cancer.

• UROLOGY: Services include urinary consults for urinary tract problems including infections, blood in urine, kidney stones and disease, other bladder and prostate problems and urinary leaking.

• MEDICATION ASSISTANCE: The Appalachian College of Pharmacy will provide an onsite pharmacy to assist patients with prescription medications. Positively no prescriptions from outside of RAM will be filled at this pharmacy. No narcotics will be stocked. Pharmacy Connect will also be available; this program assists qualifying patients in obtaining free drugs through participating companies.

• LABORATORY SERVICES: All laboratory tests require referral/ordering by a RAM physician. Individuals can take advantage of various labs that will be offered on the referral of a RAM provider. Patients should not eat or drink (except water) for at least 12 hours before having lab work (if taking medication for diabetes and fasting for lab work, bring food with you so you can eat as soon as your lab work is drawn).

• EDUCATIONAL: Informational booths will be available on subjects such as cancer, mental health, diabetes, exercise, nutrition and other topics. Certified diabetes educators will be present to discuss management of diabetes with patients. Chiropractic screening will also be available.

Registration for services will begin at 6 a.m. daily, from Friday, July 21 until Sunday, July 23. Patients will be served on a first-come, first-served basis, with the exception of some appointments, i.e. dentures.

If transportation is needed, residents of Norton and Wise, Lee, and Scott counties can call Mountain Empire Older Citizens Inc. Transportation at 888/877-6748. Dickenson, Russell, Tazewell, and Buchanan county residents may call Four County Transit at 888/656-2272. Immediate notice is required.

Individuals are advised to continue to take regularly prescribed medications. If there is a question about a procedure in regard to a particular medication such as Coumadin, aspirin or any other medication, please contact your primary care provider before the event. In addition, all patients receiving any services at RAM of Virginia must bring all prescription medication/information with them to the event.

Bagged lunches and water will be provided to patients. People are also encouraged to bring sunscreen and an umbrella.

Stan Brock founded RAM in 1985. Brock was the former co-host and associate producer of the award-winning television program Mutual Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. RAM of Virginia operates mobile clinics to provide free dental, vision, medical, education and technical services on a first-come, first-served basis around Virginia and the Appalachian region.

The Health Wagon is the driving force behind bringing this valuable event to Wise. The Health Wagon is a nurse-managed mobile unit that delivers free health care to the residents of Dickenson, Buchanan, Russell, Lee, Scott and Wise counties. Hundreds of other organizations, civic groups, businesses, churches, and individuals have joined with the Health Wagon to make this event possible. Services are provided by volunteer health care professionals. Various specialists are being sought.

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