The Remote Area Medical Free Clinic is coming to Madisonville on Sept. 14 and 15.
Linda Pierce, a nurse practitioner at Fast Pace Urgent Care Clinic in Madisonville, has volunteered and attended three clinics. In Columbia, Tenn., Pierce spoke with a coordinator who expressed interest in having a clinic in Western Kentucky. After attending another clinic in Springfield, Tenn., the subject of having one in our area was again brought up.
"I was like, 'Alright, God, I get your hint," Pierce said. "... The nurse practitioner part of me was like, 'I need to do this for my people,' I started praying, 'Alright, God, where's this going to be?"
Driving past her church one day, she said she could visualize the remote clinic's trucks in the parking lot. Grace Warehouse Church is spacious, she thought.
She presented the idea to her church's pastor, Bro. Gary Bennett, who leads Grace Warehouse Church in Madisonville.
The clinic is a national organization; its mission is "to prevent pain and alleviate suffering by providing free quality health care to those in need," according to its website, www.ramusa.org. The organization was founded by Stan Brock, who experienced first-hand the lack of medical care available and nearby to those in need when he was ill in South America.
Clinics have served the citizens of the United States for 34 years, the website states.
The organization serves to "bridge the gap" with insurance and co-pays as well as for those who don't have insurance, Pierce said.
Medical, including vision and dental, professionals volunteer their time and equipment and travel to where a clinic is set up. The professionals relay the number of patients they can see in a day to the organizers, who then hand out that number of tickets to those in line to receive care. Updates will be available on the Remote Area Medical -- RAM Facebook page.
The Remote Area Medical Free Clinic in Madisonville is the first in Western Kentucky. It will be set up starting at 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 13, at Grace Warehouse Church at 2206 S. Main St., Madisonville. Those wanting care can start lining up and tickets will be handed out to those in line at 3 a.m. Saturday morning. The first patients are seen at 6 a.m. Saturday. The clinic will continue Sunday.
Guests will receive medical care, testing, screenings as well as dental and vision exams. Dental procedures can be done that day and people will walk away with glasses or bifocals. No contacts will be available. Guests don't have to have identification, but Pierce suggests patients have a list of medications and of known allergies. Any testing results will be mailed to the patient.
Pierce said the goal for the local clinic is to have 500-800 professionals. The church can accomodate many volunteers of all sorts in its 30,000-square-foot facility. As of Friday, about 350 people have volunteered. More are needed, especially optometrists and nonmedical volunteers. Volunteers must be at least 14 years old.
For more information about RAM's mobile clinics or to volunteer, visit www.ramusa.org or call 865-579-1530.
More than 10 churches have volunteered and donated, as have clubs, organizations, restaurants and school systems. Monetary donations are also being accepted.
Pierce and Bennett, who have planned the event since November, said the clinic will be done again either next year or two years from now.
For more information about the clinic, call Bennett at 270-875-9093 or Pierce at 270-836-3445.