EMORY, Va. (WJHL) — Leaders with Remote Area Medical (RAM) say they’re expecting to see more demand for services than they can fulfill at the organization’s Emory & Henry pop-up clinic this weekend.
RAM is a non-profit that runs free, pop-up clinics providing medical, dental, and vision check-ups across the country.
RAM Clinic Manager Vicki Gregg told News Channel 11 she expects to see 250-300 patients between Saturday and Sunday.
“I’m quite sure that we’ll have more patients than we’ll be able to provide services for,” Gregg said. “We had our first three cars that were already lined up at 3:30 this afternoon.”
RAM provides its services free of charge, no questions asked.
“It’s first come first serve,” said Gregg. “We don’t ask for ID. We don’t ask for insurance.”
But not all clients come without insurance, Gregg said. Their most popular services, dental cleanings, and fillings, often serve patients who have already maxed out what their insurance can cover.
“We think of ourselves as just bridging the gap,” said Gregg. “You know, a person may have insurance for medical, but may not be able to afford the co-pays.”
Saturday, patients will sit in rooms across Emory & Henry’s campus getting fitted for free pairs of glasses, having their teeth filled, or getting one of a limited number of hearing aids.
It’s hard work keeping volunteers and patients organized.
“I would go back to the hotel every night, just completely worn out,” Gregg said of her first experience volunteering as a student in 2007. “It was in July, you know, so you’re just exhausted, drained, and you get up the next morning, can’t wait to go back.”
Now, as a full-time employee of RAM, Gregg says the effort is still worth it.
“Something just bites you because you see the patients where they’re at,” Gregg said. “You see them in their own environment. It’s completely different from seeing a patient in a hospital or a doctor’s office. We see them the way they live.”
More information about the clinic can be found on RAM’s website.