The upcoming weekend pop-up medical clinic is as unconventional as its name implies – prospective patients will gather in a school parking lot, get a ticket to assure their place in line to receive free dental, medical and vision care. None of that sounds like the way we traditionally go about getting medical care.
And what medical facility or doctor’s office gives its clients a parting gift of a box of fresh, healthy foods?
The Duke Remote Area Medical clinic is hanging its shingle for two days only on the campus of Vance Charter School.
Organizers Anvi Charvu, Saajan Patel and John Bochman joined TownTalk Monday to discuss details of the clinic, which will be held Saturday, May 20 and Sunday, May 21.
This is the second year that a team of volunteer doctors and dentists have set up in Henderson to provide care to those who may need medical attention. Last year’s event served about 150 patients, but this year, Charvu said, the goal is between 250 and 300.
It’s a simple concept, really, and patients may begin lining up in the school parking lot just before midnight – 11:59 p.m. on Friday, May 19. The clinics begin each day at 6 a.m.
Patients don’t need to provide ID or proof of insurance – if you need a tooth pulled or filled, it can be done right then. Eye exam? There are eye doctors set up to provide exams, and a lab will be on site to crank out prescription glasses to those who need them.
Bochman, who plans to attend med school at Duke, currently works with the Vance County EMS. He said he’s seen firsthand some of the needs of the community and is proud to be a part of the Duke RAM clinic again this year.
“It’s so nice that we can come in…and take care of their eye care and dental pain for an entire year,” Bochman said.
Those interested in getting medical care should consider coming early – by Saturday morning, the clinic was having to turn people away. Organizers were able to add providers to this year’s event, which should help, Charvu said.
“We’re going to try our best,” she said, to serve as many clients as possible. But waiting in the city’s largest waiting area overnight – the Vance Charter School parking lot – is the “only way to guarantee care, since there is such demand.
A free, once-a-year-clinic is a great way to help individuals access much-needed care, but the organizers understand that there needs to be more.
There will be representatives from N.C. Legal Aid on site at the weekend clinic, as well as others to help clients navigate the insurance enrollment process and obtain access to other resources as well.
“We would love to provide extra structure and strength for a more long-term solution,” Charvu said.