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People wait outside the RAM clinic in Wise in this 2017 file photo. RAM will return for the 20th year to the Wise County Fairgrounds on June 28-30. It will offer medical, dental and vision care.

The Virginia Dental Association will hold a separate Mission of Mercy clinic July 12-13 at UVa-Wise Convocation Center.

Update: The Health Wagon on Thursday offered detailed instructions for people attending the RAM clinic and some ways to avoid long wait times. I've pasted those instructions into this. 

The RAM Wise Expedition and the Mission of Mercy dental clinic will be held on separate weekends this year.

Until last year, the two clinics were held jointly at the Wise County Fairgrounds. Last year, the Virginia Dental Association Foundation moved to the University of Virginia Wise Convocations Center so that patients could be seen indoors. 

Both clinics are observing their 20th anniversaries.

The RAM clinic, organized by the Health Wagon, will offer medical, dental and vision care June 28-30. Registration starts at 6 a.m. each day.

Volunteers are still welcome and can register at volunteer.ramusa.org. Food and other donations can be made by contacting the Health Wagon 276-328-8850.

The Mission of Mercy clinic will be held July 12-13 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. More than 400 volunteers are expected. Volunteers are still welcome, and more information can be found at vdaf.org/wisemom.

Unlike the fairgrounds, overnight parking is not permitted on the UVa-Wise campus.

Here's the latest from the Health Wagon: 

Additional services and details related to the clinic are as follows:

FAST TRACK MEDICAL: If patients are not coming for vision or dental needs then a fast track medical option will be available to prevent patients having to stand in lengthy lines for medical needs to be addressed. However, a patient will be identified, and they are not allowed to change their minds to get eye or dental services once inside the gate. This will encourage patients to receive the needed medical care or screenings that they may have been putting off due to long lines.

EYE CARE: Complete eye examinations will be offered by ophthalmologists and optometrists. Opticians will be making prescription eyeglasses on site. In addition to making eyeglasses on site, Lions Club of Virginia and the Essilor Vision Foundation have agreed to make available prescribed eyeglasses as a part of the Lion’s quest to conquer preventable blindness.

FAST TRACK TO EYEGLASSES: Additionally, those who already have a recent lens prescription within the last 12 months from a local eye care provider or have the ability to get one before the event will be able to fill those prescriptions for eyeglasses at RAM. We strongly encourage patients who have the ability or insurance to get their exam prior to the event to do so. Medicare and Medicaid will pay for exams in some instances, so patients are encouraged to check with their local eye care provider regarding this. This will reduce the need to have an eye exam onsite and amount of time these people will have to wait and hasten the process for all. Glaucoma testing will also be offered.

DENTAL CARE: Dental services include cleanings, fillings and extractions. Oral surgeons will be available to perform biopsies and to screen for mouth and throat cancer.

HEARING EXAMS and HEARING AIDS: Individuals who are having difficulty hearing or just want their hearing evaluated are encouraged to attend. Comprehensive hearing exams will be available by audiologists. Patients requiring a hearing aid 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, and urology will be available on-site. Other specialists may be available.

DERMATOLOGY CLINIC: Plastic Surgeon and Dermatologists will be onsite to evaluate suspicious skin lesions and perform skin cancer screenings. Biopsies and removal of suspicious lesions may be performed when medically appropriate and indicated.

CARDIOLOGY: A cardiologist will be on site to evaluate those needing the service including hypertension, coronary artery disease, high cholesterol, arrhythmias, and other related medical 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.

OSTEOPATHIC TREATMENT: Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) will be available. This is hands-on treatment that is 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 noninvasive technique will be used to measure bone density in the heel to determine if you have or are at risk for osteoporosis.

WOMENS HEALTH SERVICES and 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.

UROLOGY: Services include urinary consults for urinary tract problems which include 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 prescription drugs through participating pharmaceutical 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 pertinent health topics. Certified diabetes educators will be present to discuss management of diabetes with patients.

Registration for services will begin at 6:00 a.m. daily, from Friday, June 28 until Sunday, June 30. Patients will be served on a first come, first serve basis. If transportation is needed, residents of Norton and Wise, Lee, and Scott counties can call Mountain Empire Older Citizens, Inc. Transportation at 1-888-877-6748. Dickenson, Russell, Tazewell, and Buchanan County residents may call Four County Transit at 1-888-656-2272. 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 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.

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Luanne Rife writes about the businesses, policies, discoveries and inventions that affect the health of people living in southwestern Virginia.

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