A Remote Area Medical Clinic (RAM) will be held in Paonia this Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 3 and 4. RAM clinics provide free, quality healthcare services to the under-served and uninsured. Participants are not required to provide proof of insurance or financial information. Services are provided by volunteer professionals.

Appointments are not accepted. Participants are asked to park at Paonia Junior-Senior High School, 846 Grand Avenue. Beginning at midnight Saturday, Aug. 3 throughout the two-day clinic, volunteers will assign numbers at the parking lot on a first-come, first-served basis. Starting at about 6 a.m., patients will be shuttled to the Energy Tech campus and will be admitted based on their number. All patients will go through triage, including blood pressure, heart rate and blood sugar screenings, prior to seeing a doctor.

Services include dental exams, X-rays, extractions, fillings and cleanings; pelvic exams and pap smears for women; eye exams and prescription glasses (prescriptions that can't be filled will be mailed at no cost); and high school sports physicals.

There will be a food pantry at the high school. The Delta County Health Services department will provide information on public health services in the county. No immunizations will be given at the clinic, said Emmons, "But we hope to provide them next year."

This will be the first RAM clinic in Colorado, said Emmons, a former Paonia resident now living in Knoxville, Tenn. Last year she volunteered at 16 clinics, including one in Hazard, Ky. Like Paonia, she said, it's a coal mining town with an economy hit hard by mine closures. Since closures began in the North Fork area she has wanted to bring a clinic here. "I could see a need."

The clinic is not government funded, said Emmons. "The only cost is time, because you have to sit and wait your turn." Volunteers are needed to unload equipment from 27-foot semis on Thursday, Aug. 1, and load them back up when the clinic closes on Sunday, Aug 4. "It's heavy stuff," said Emmons. "Trucks are stacked, packed and racked to the gills."

Other areas include set-up and take-down, directing of traffic, selling T-shirts, providing general information and other tasks. "Teardown is really crucial," said Emmons.

Spanish and American Sign Language interpreters are also needed. Those wanting to volunteer or provide services can call Emmons at 865-456-0127. For more information, visit www.ramusa.org.

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