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Free medical help returning to Pahrump

Remote Area Medical is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing free medical services to underserved and uninsured individuals with mobile clinics held all over the globe each year.

For the most part, in an effort to spread its efforts as far and wide as possible Remote Area Medical does not typically make repeated return trips to the same location. However, the need for the free mobile clinics in Pahrump has been so obvious that the organization has returned to the valley three consecutive years and preparations are already well underway for the fourth Pahrump RAM clinic, set for Oct. 4, 5 and 6.

RAM committee member Ryan Muccio said there are a few major changes for clinic attendees to keep in mind this year, first and foremost of which is the new location. In 2016, 2017 and 2018 the RAM clinic was held at the NyE Communities Coalition but this year, the event will take place at Pathways Innovative Education, 2000 S. Mount Charleston Drive.

New location

“We are going to be at the Innovative Education Building on the high school campus,” Muccio detailed in an interview earlier this month. “We are really excited about that for a couple of reasons. One is, in the past patients have had to park at Walmart, walk over to the NyE Communities Coalition and then wait in line on a hard sidewalk all night. Now, they will be able to park their cars on-site and stay in their cars, so they can take a nap, turn the heat on, read a book, whatever they want to do. That’s the biggest benefit of the location change.

“The second reason this is so exciting is, it’s going to be a lot less walking for patients because it’s going to be in a more condensed area and nobody will be outside, it will all be indoors so the weather won’t matter,” Muccio continued, noting that this would add a definite level of comfort for those wishing to take advantage of the free medical services that will be offered. “We’re very fortunate and very thankful to the school district for allowing us to use that building.”

Muccio explained that this year attendees will drive to the site and be directed to a parking spot. The parking lot will open at midnight on Friday, Oct. 4 and patients will be given tickets in numerical order, which will correspond to the order in which they will be seen. Muccio said tickets will be distributed beginning at 3 a.m. with an event volunteer going car to car to hand those out.

Anyone planning to attend is reminded that once on-site, they will not be able to leave without giving up their number in line.

Another change to this year’s event will be coordinated follow-up care specific to patients’ health issues that are identified at the RAM clinic. The full details of this have not yet been determined but Muccio said he was very pleased that Dr. Bill Craig and Nurse Practioner Sheryl Cipollini would be helping certain patients through the process of learning how to deal with newly diagnosed medical problems.

“In past years, patients have come in for their medical services and they need follow-up because they are, for example, a newly diagnosed diabetic or they have high blood pressure or they have a women’s health exam that comes back abnormal. Our concern has always been, what do those people do after?”

Muccio emphasized that the two would not become any RAM patient’s primary care physician but they do plan to help walk patients through the process of dealing with whatever they are diagnosed with at RAM. At the same time they are receiving follow-up care, there will also be efforts to connect people with insurance and other resources, such as Nevada Outreach, to help with housing and food security.

“It’s a very generous thing that they are doing. I’m super excited about that!” Muccio enthused.

Fundraising and volunteers

As for what is currently needed to make the event work, funding and volunteers are the two biggest components.

Muccio said donations have been coming in and made sure to note his gratitude for Nye County’s approval of a $7,500 donation but of course, additional funding would always be helpful.

To this end, the NyE Communities Coalition will be hosting a Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. this Friday, Aug. 23 at the coalition, 1020 E. Wilson Road. Tickets are $5 per person and can be purchased at the coalition campus. Dinner will include spaghetti, garlic bread and salad. There will also be a live auction for some tasty baked goods.

On the volunteer front, Muccio stated that the event is fairly well set when it comes to medical doctors but other volunteers are still very much needed.

“We need volunteers. That’s always the big thing,” Muccio said. “Obviously we need health professionals, we need dentists and eye doctors but we also need general volunteers, especially for setup and teardown. If people can help out on the Thursday beforehand setting up and that Sunday afternoon taking everything down, doing to heavy lifting and the cleaning up, that’s when we get the least amount of volunteers. So we welcome all the help we can get!”

Anyone willing to lend a hand can sign up as a volunteer at www.volunteer.RAMUSA.org

For more information contact Muccio at muccio.ryan@gmail.com

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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