Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Free Clinic Treats Hundreds ; Organizers Pleased, but Hope for More Volunteers Next Year

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Free Clinic Treats Hundreds ; Organizers Pleased, but Hope for More Volunteers Next Year

Article excerpt

A free health clinic held in Elkview over the weekend treated around 600 people, an organizer said. The clinic, held Saturday and Sunday at Elkview Middle School, was a partnership between Remote Area Medical, a Tennessee-based volunteer organization that provides free clinics nationally and internationally, and Health Right, a Charleston-based free and charitable clinic. The clinic could have served more patients if it had more volunteer dentists and eye doctors, Health Right CEO Angie Settle said.

Altogether, around 300 people volunteered during the clinic, she said, including around 12 dentists on Saturday and nine on Sunday. Volunteers also included around 12 eye doctors, four or five dental hygienists and 12 to 15 nurse practitioners and physicians, Settle said. She said volunteer turnout was good, but the clinic could have used more volunteers from the vision and dental fields.

"I don't want to give the impression we had low volunteer turnout, because we did not. It was good, Settle said. "It's just you can see more [patients] with more [volunteers].

Settle said historically it takes a few years for word to get out to patients and providers about how great the clinics are.

Around 4 a.m. Saturday, before the clinic got started, roughly 200 cars were waiting in the parking lot of the school, Settle said. Another 80 vehicles were in the parking lot at the same time Sunday morning, she said. While volunteers treated patients who had started waiting early Sunday morning, some patients who arrived later in the day were turned away because slots for services were filled by 8 a.m.

Settle had said at the August announcement of the clinic that the event could be the largest free medical clinic in West Virginia history and see between 2,000 and 3,000 people.

Settle said dental and vision services were more sought after than medical services.

"That's historically what they find everywhere, Settle said of RAM.

On Sunday afternoon, Settle and other volunteers were tearing down the pop-up clinic so the school could be used again for classes Monday morning. …

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