Free medical clinic this weekend
A free medical clinic will pop-up at Ryan Middle School in Fairbanks this weekend, with exams, vision checks and dental cleanings. Organizers say there will even be blood workups and glasses made on site.
A tractor-trailer truck filled with medical supplies is headed to Ryan Middle School today. By midnight Friday the school and parking lot will be staffed with volunteers to file patients in for free care. Dr. Patrick Campaign is the host group leader for the clinic.
“ The parking lot opens at midnight, and then starting at 6:00 AM we're going be using the entire facilities to do all those medical care until we're tired, which is probably gonna be until about two, three in the afternoon on Saturday. And then on Sunday we'll probably go and go until about noon.”
That’s after starting at 6:00 a.m. again on Sunday. Campaign says the clinics are put on by a charity called Remote Area Medical, and they partner with a local host group to coordinate each clinic. In Alaska that’s Mt. View Lions Club in Anchorage. Campaign just coordinated a clinic in Anchorage last weekend. Here is Fairbanks he’s coordinating with Dr. Eileen Vang, and they have recruited other local doctors.
Because the clinics are free, there is quite a demand, and people line up the night before. So coordinators altered the clinic schedules to accommodate that.
“ Believe me, it took a bit, quite a bit of convincing for a few of them to be able to start practice at 6:00 AM. Even I'll be one of the, eye doctors there, ready to provide examinations, including dilation if necessary too, at 6:00 AM.”
Campaign says you do not need insurance, Medicaid or IHS coverage to be seen at the pop-up clinic.
“It is first-come, first-served and there is no online registration before that day. We do recommend, though, for folks to make sure that they have the phones charged so that when they are in line, they'll be able to get registered in on the website, which then activates once they're in line, so that then we can make sure that it's a lot more streamlined as folks start coming in."
Remote Area Medical or RAM, is out of Tennessee, and is funded by private donors and federal grants.
”The co-sponsoring group, Remote Area Medical, they've been doing these kind of pop-up clinic events, uh, since 1985. They used to do a lot of overseas ones until they realized a lot of care is actually needed within the states as well.”
They have been promoting the Alaska clinics through advertising and social media. This is the farthest north clinic they have ever hosted. They have about 125 local volunteers signed up for this weekend’s clinic, but Campaign says they could use more.
“ We have an online registry. It's Volunteer.RAMusa.org.”
At the clinic there will be general medical exams, breast exams, diabetes screening, and physicals. Dentists will provide cleanings, fillings, and extractions. Eye doctors will give complete dilated eye exams, testing for glaucoma, and glasses made on site.
“So they're actually gonna be able to cut them on site. They can make up to 350 glasses a day and if people already had an eye exam but they just can't afford the glasses, as long as their prescription's right -- up to date, just, they can also come in and just get free glasses made right there.”
Campaign says there will also be free vaccinations from Alaska Public Health, and social service agencies for those who need more community resources.