An initiative connecting underserved and vulnerable populations to the health services and resources they need seeks professional volunteers to provide free dental, vision and medical care at a giant health clinic, Oct. 23 – 26, in KeyArena at Seattle Center.
The clinic, produced in partnership with the humanitarian organization Remote Area Medical® (RAM) and sponsored by AARP and more than 30 health, human service and civic organizations from across the State of Washington, is expected to provide free services for as many as 1,000 patients each day, if the event is fully staffed. All services are free to patients.
This event is driven by community volunteers; healthcare professionals can join this monumental effort by donating their time on one or more days of the four-day clinic. The majority of equipment and supplies, as well as free parking and meals, will be provided. To facilitate their clinic participation, healthcare professionals are eligible to receive free malpractice insurance, paid for by the Washington State Department of Health, through the Volunteer Retired Providers Program. The clinic is also an approved mission for the Public Health Reserve Corps and Medical Reserve Corps; and as a result of Washington State legislation passed earlier this year, out-of-state healthcare practitioners may now volunteer for up to 30 days at free clinics in the state.
“We live in a region with some of the best healthcare in the world, and great progress has been made in expanding healthcare access since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). However, even as we make strides in access, there are still many people in our community that have immediate, unmet health needs,” said Dr. David Fleming, Director of Public Health-Seattle & King County. “To someone in dire need of prescription glasses or suffering from an ongoing toothache, the treatment provided at this clinic can make an
instant difference. The clinic will also connect people to lasting benefits made possible by the ACA, including enrollment in health coverage and identification of long-term healthcare providers.”
In addition to healthcare professionals, the clinic needs resource and non-medical support volunteers. Volunteer needs include:
• Oral Surgeons
• Enhanced Function Dental Assistants
• Dental Assistants
• Dental Lab Techs
• Ophthalmic Techs
• Doctors and Physicians Assistants (Emergency Medicine, Family Practice, Internal Medicine, Naturopathic Medicine, Obstetrics, Osteopathic Medicine, Podiatry, Pulmonology, Psychiatry, Radiology)
• Paramedics, EMTs
• Mental and Behavioral Health Practitioners
Resource & Non-Medical Support:
• Social Workers • Check-in and Registration
• Line Control
• Food Service
• Vision Assistants
• Patient Escorts and Runners
• Set-up and Take-down
The clinic will equip at least 60 dental operatories, 15 vision lanes and 40 examination rooms. An optical lab will produce free prescription eyeglasses on-site while patients wait. All
patients are triaged and have their blood-pressure and medical history taken before being seen in care areas. Dentistry hopes to include cleanings, fillings, extractions, and select endodontics. Vision will offer complete dilated eye exams, glaucoma testing, and diabetic retinopathy. Medical services may range from point-of-care treatments such as wound and foot care, screenings for prevalent diseases such as diabetes, hepatitis, HIV and hypertension, to women’s health exams including mammograms, pap smears and pelvic exams.
Mental and behavioral health first aid will also be available. Social workers and other resource providers will help patients connect to local resources that can provide needed follow-up treatment as well as enable continuity of care. Interpretation services will be available. What services are ultimately provided will be determined by the supply and expertise of clinical volunteers in all three areas: dental, vision and medical.
Clinic patients will receive treatment on a first-come, first-served basis with no income, insurance, citizenship or eligibility requirement of any kind.
Volunteer registration begins May 7 at: ramvolunteers.org. Information on the Seattle/King County Clinic is available at: seattlecenter.org or by calling 206-684-7200.
Please also take a moment to download our Volunteer Recruitment Flyer and share with others!
About Remote Area Medical®
Remote Area Medical® (RAM) is a non-profit, volunteer relief corps founded in 1985 by Stan Brock, known to many for his work on the television show Wild Kingdom. Initially focused on providing healthcare access to people in remote areas of the world such as Haiti and Guyana, in 1992, RAM was asked to hold a clinic in the United States and before long began receiving invitations from rural and urban areas across the country. Guided by its mission to prevent pain and alleviate suffering for people in need by providing free, compassionate, quality healthcare without discrimination, RAM has partnered with communities around the United States to hold over 700 clinics and serve over 500,000 patients. For more information visit ramusa.org