Remote Area Medical plans on focusing care in Appalachia

Remote Area Medical plans on focusing care in Appalachia

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"We really need to have an intense focus on Appalachia in our own backyard, because the need is so great," said RAM founder Stan Brock. "We really need to have an intense focus on Appalachia in our own backyard, because the need is so great," said RAM founder Stan Brock.

By LAURA HALM
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Remote Area Medical has a new strategy for helping more people in the area have access to health care. The organization created to bring service to far-flung regions, now treats people in need here in the United States. Sadly, the need is so great in the hills and valleys of Appalachia.

RAM is launching Stop the Suffering in Appalachia at a clinic in Kentucky this October. This initiative essentially organizes clinics on a local level where it will save time and money on high fuel costs for RAM, and create more clinics for those who need it most.

Classrooms were turned into exam rooms, basketball courts staffed with dentists, and hallways packed with people waiting hours to get care during a Monroe County clinic this January.

"It's something I wouldn't be able to afford," said one of the patients during the January 18 clinic.

After thousands of thousands of clinics across the country, RAM is switching gears in a way.

"We really need to have an intense focus on Appalachia in our own backyard, because the need is so great," said founder Stan Brock.

"Stop the Suffering" is a two year program which will be focusing on communities in the "distressed corridor" of Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio and Mississippi.

RAM will work with local organizations and doctors in each state organizing clinics on a local level by donating two trucks to help with health care procedures.

"[It] means those people in the middle of Kentucky don't have to drive all the way down to Knoxville or come and find us in some other part of the country," added Brock.

It also means instead of areas having one or two clinics a year, they'll be able to have five or six.

Stop the Suffering will also help solve an issue RAM runs into often where licensed doctors who are volunteering can't work in another state.

"They would have to find local doctors, and sometimes that's very hard to do," said Dr. Paul Wittke who volunteers in eye care.

It's remembering those who need it most that's the driving force in making this new focus successful.

RAM is partnering with more than 13,000 doctors, healthcare professionals, and volunteers as well as more than 200 community groups to make this possible.

The general cost per patient to RAM is about $22. If you would like to volunteer or donate, you can visit Remote Area Medical website by clicking here.

 

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