WISE, Va. (WJHL)- After 20 years of serving the people of Wise, Virginia, Remote Area Medical Clinic said starting next year it will be moving its services to other communities in need.
According to a news release issued Friday morning, RAM officials said, “…in recent years, The Health Wagon and other organizations have built infrastructure and capacity around eye, dental, and medical resources in the Wise, Virginia community. Because of this, and because of RAM increasing its number of clinics in surrounding areas, the number of patients served at the Wise, Virginia clinic has declined year-to-year over the past several years. At the same time, RAM continues to receive dozens of clinic requests from communities across the country that, due to capacity, the organization is unable to fulfill.”
News Channel 11 also reached out to Dr. Teresa Gardner, Executive Director of Health Wagon, who said that Health Wagon will be taking over for RAM in providing these types of services to the Wise community.
Gardner said the new event will be called ‘Move Mountains Medical Mission’ and will more than likely be held in July, but they have yet to set a specific date.
You can read the entire Remote Area Medical news release below:
“ROCKFORD, TN (July 12, 2019) – Remote Area Medical- RAM® is a major nonprofit provider of mobile clinics delivering free, high-quality, dental, vision, medical, and veterinary care to underserved and uninsured individuals. After twenty years of providing care to meet gaps in health care coverage in the Wise, Virginia community, RAM will be focusing on serving other communities in need across the United States in 2020.-Remote Area Medical
RAM held its first clinic in Wise, Virginia in 1999, at the invitation of The Health Wagon’s Sister Bernie Kenny and Dr. Teresa Tyson. Since that time, thousands of Remote Area Medical volunteers have provided care to tens of thousands of patients in the Wise, Virginia area. RAM ensured residents of Wise County and nearby areas had access to the vital care they needed by working with The Health Wagon, Virginia Area Dental Foundation’s Mission of Mercy, and a variety of other community partners.
However, in recent years, The Health Wagon and other organizations have built infrastructure and capacity around eye, dental, and medical resources in the Wise, Virginia community. Because of this, and because of RAM increasing its number of clinics in surrounding areas, the number of patients served at the Wise, Virginia clinic has declined year-to-year over the past several years. At the same time, RAM continues to receive dozens of clinic requests from communities across the country that, due to capacity, the organization is unable to fulfill.
“We feel it is the best use of RAM’s time and resources to focus on areas that lack the excellent health care that The Health Wagon, Mission of Mercy, and other organizations are able to provide in Wise County,” said RAM CEO, Jeff Eastman. “We are honored to have worked with The Health Wagon and Mission of Mercy in the past and to have served the Wise community.”
“The Health Wagon and the residents of the region are forever indebted to RAM, for they brought countless resources to patients in Wise, Virginia for 20 years,” said Dr. Teresa Tyson, Executive Director of The Health Wagon.” We are honored to have worked with RAM and all the incredible partners who have made the largest health outreach of its kind in the nation possible year after year. This is a time of transition and The Health Wagon is planning to continue health outreach annually as the Move Mountains Medical Mission to provide free medical, dental, and vision services to patients in Wise and surrounding regions.”
Since 2013, RAM has increased its number of annual mobile clinics from an average of thirteen a year to more than 61 U.S. clinics in 2018. This has included an increase in clinics in Southwest Virginia, Eastern Kentucky, and East Tennessee. Upcoming clinics in those areas where individuals can receive care on a first-come, first-served basis include Lee County, Virginia on September 21 and 22 and Gray, Tennessee on November 1, 2, and 3.
Volunteers who have been volunteering at the Wise, Virginia clinic are invited to volunteer at other Remote Area Medical clinics. More information about RAM’s clinics and about volunteering at RAM’s clinics is available at ramusa.org.
Volunteers who are interested in continuing to volunteer with The Health Wagon at the 2020 health outreach event, Move Mountains Medical Mission, and future outreach events please contact 276-328-8850 as soon as possible to be added to the volunteer system. “