Volunteers sought for free health care event in OKC

The Norman Transcript — May 20, 2010

Volunteers sought for free health care event in OKC

For The Transcript
The Norman Transcript
Posted: Thursday, May 20, 2010

NORMAN — About 2,000 people are expected to receive free dental, vision and general medical care at Remote Area Medical’ s first Oklahoma expedition July 9-11 at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds in Oklahoma City.

Remote Area Medical (RAM) is a volunteer medical care organization that uses volunteer health professionals to provide free health care on a first-come, first-served basis regardless of income.

The organization is recruiting dentists, hygienists, doctors, vision specialists, nurses, EMTs and general volunteers through www.ramok.org/volunteer. Volunteers can choose their dates and work times. More information is available by calling RAM Oklahoma organizer Tres Savage at 410-5411.

Licensed volunteer health practitioners from Oklahoma and other states will help RAM treat as many patients as possible at the event, which is being co-sponsored by several Oklahoma health and service organizations. Care will be provided beginning at 6 a.m. on each of the three days.

“We are very excited to be coming to Oklahoma,” said RAM founder Stan Brock. “The need for health care in the United States continues to grow, and Oklahomans have already shown strong support for this July event.”

Oklahoma will be the sixth U.S. state to welcome RAM’s “Reach Across AMerica” program. RAM, based in Knoxville, Tenn., was originally founded in 1985 to air-drop supplies and medical care to remote areas of Central and South America.

This official announcement comes exactly two months after the Oklahoma Dental Association successfully held a Mission of Mercy free dental care event in Tulsa that treated more than 1,500 people.

Patients seen at RAM’s first Oklahoma event will have every opportunity to be connected with follow-up care, Savage said.

“Beyond the care they will receive on these three days, we want people to walk away from this event with better avenues to continuing care,” said Savage, a Norman native.

Follow-up care might be provided through Medicaid, InsureOklahoma, federally qualified health centers or free clinics, Savage said.

“Every Oklahoman needs a medical home other than the emergency room,” he said.

Savage is asking licensed and retired health professionals to commit to volunteering for the July event at www.ramok.org or to call him at 410-5411. Out-of-state health professionals can volunteer as well if they apply for a “special volunteer license” with their corresponding licensing board in Oklahoma.

Applications are available on www.ramok.org.

“Every health professional volunteering at the event will have tort protection under Oklahoma’s ‘Volunteer Professional Services Immunity Act,’” Savage said.

Meals for all volunteers will be provided in partnership with Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief.

Future RAM events will be held in other parts of Oklahoma, Savage said.

Oklahoma sponsoring organizations include: the Health Alliance for the Uninsured, Variety Care, the Whitten-Newman Foundation, Docvia, the Oklahoma Association of Family Physicians, the Oklahoma County Medical Society, the Oklahoma Dental Foundation, Delta Dental of Oklahoma Charitable Foundation, the Oklahoma Dental Hygienists’ Association, the Oklahoma Association of Optometric Physicians, RAIN Oklahoma, Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief, Wal-Mart, the Latino Community Development Agency, Crosstown Church, Crossings Community Clinic, Bricktown Rotary, Oklahoma Families Coping with Cancer and others.

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