FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014
Phone numbers not for publication.
Remote Area Medical® event provides care valued above $420,000
OKLAHOMA CITY — With more than 1,100 Oklahomans receiving dental, vision and medical services at the Remote Area Medical clinic on Saturday, Aug. 16, and Sunday, Aug. 17, at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds, officials estimate the total value of the provided care to be $422,990.
This was the third event RAM has put on in Oklahoma since 2010, and 1,110 were able to get through the doors and see a dentist, hygienist, eye doctor or medical doctor.
“Any number of people you can see at one of these events is a success, but we were particularly happy that we did not have to turn away people early in the mornings,” said Tres Savage, interim president of RAM's Oklahoma affiliate. “The volunteers really put in a lot of hard work, and the groups we partnered with like Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief, the OU College of Dentistry and many others helped things run smoothly.”
Savage said that numerous volunteer dental professionals from the United States Public Health Service and the Indian Health Service were integral to the success of the event's dental component.
More than 1,600 total dental procedures were performed, including 340 dental hygiene visits — or cleanings — that are necessary to prevent cavities. Plenty of cavities were found and addressed, however, as 267 teeth were filled over the weekend, and 982 teeth were extracted.
"It is easy to get caught up in the numbers because the statistics are staggering. Truth is, it is all about the people that walked through the doors to receive medical, dental, and vision procedures who had no other way to receive the treatment,” said Chris Hall, chief operations officer of Remote Area Medical. “Over the last few years, Oklahoma has been hit hard with a lot of natural disaster tragedy, and that kind of news is always difficult to hear. What now is so amazing is the kind of news that this RAM clinic can promote, like the compassionate volunteers and the grateful patients that always reside in the state of Oklahoma.
"What we have seen as a result, besides all the numbers, is that hope is being restored and lives are being improved. I want to thank all the wonderful partners that pulled together to make this event happen.”
Interestingly, RAM officials did notice a change among the patient population from previous Oklahoma events.
"Many more people were choosing to seek vision care than we had seen before,” Savage said, noting that patients had to choose between dental and vision services. “On Sunday, 60 of the first 100 people in line — who had been waiting in line for eight hours or more — were there for an eye exam and pairs of glasses. I don't think it's fair to draw too many conclusions from that, but a few of us were surprised that vision care seemed to be in higher demand than it was at prior Oklahoma City events.”
RAM volunteer optometrists and ophthalmologists saw 408 patients for eye exams and made 455 pairs of prescription glasses on site, with a handful of more complicated prescriptions being sent to another lab for processing.
About 270 patients also saw medical doctors, with volunteers focusing on referring them to permanent medical homes like community health centers or other charitable clinics across the state. Women's health was one key service requested by many patients, with 47 pap smears being performed.
While no plans have been firmly established, RAM's national organization is talking with leaders in southeastern Oklahoma about the possibility of future clinics.
About Remote Area Medical:
Based out of Knoxville, Tenn., the national Remote Area Medical organization sets up its state-of-the-art mobile dental and vision equipment at more than 20 events a year around the country, in addition to several international expeditions. Learn more about the national RAM group at www.ramusa.org.
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