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Remote Area Medical clinic serves hundreds in Pahurmp

The Pahrump Remote Area Medical Clinic took place for the sixth consecutive year this past weekend and throughout the two-day event, hundreds of residents of the valley and surrounding areas were given the chance to have their lives bettered with free medical services, including general health exams, vision screenings and prescription eyeglasses and, one of the most consistently popular features of these annual clinics, dental care such as cleanings, fillings and extractions.

Crews with Remote Area Medical, an international organization more simply known as RAM, descended on the Pathways Innovative Education building on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 2 and 3, joining forces with a battalion of local volunteers, all with the same mission in mind; ensuring that all who needed health care services were able to receive them, at no cost. Although a breakdown of the number of each type of exam and procedure was not ready as of press time, Remote Area Medical Communications Manager Mindy Cooper was able to provide a total amount of patients served, reporting that 332 individuals were able to receive care over the two days of clinic activities.

Heading out to the bustling clinic site on Saturday, Oct. 2, the Pahrump Valley Times was greeted by Cooper, who offered to provide a tour of the venue as the event ensued. She walked the Times all around the building in which distinct areas were set up and dedicated to the various medical services available. Health care professionals and general volunteers were hard at work, welcoming patients, checking them in, directing them around the site and performing a variety of medical exams, screenings and procedures, and all seemed to be delighted with the seamless nature of the event.

Taking a moment to interview a RAM attendee, the Times spoke with local resident Linda Owsley, who positively raved about the clinic and its incredible impact, not just on her life but on the lives of the many others who were attending that morning.

“I came here to get fillings and they said I might be able to get a cleaning as well. I also want to look at getting some vision care too,” Owsley said as she sat in the dental waiting area.

At one time, Owsley said she had private insurance and would not have needed the help offered by RAM, but life changes and circumstance were a little more difficult than they had once been for her, so she was extraordinarily grateful for the opportunity to have her teeth and eyesight addressed, free of charge.

As to the clinic operations themselves, Owsley said she could not have been more pleased, remarking, “This has been the most smooth, caring and welcoming process. Everyone makes you feel so welcome and loved and like you are important. It’s the best experience I’ve ever had. And I will definitely spread the word, because I want to help the community too.”

Remote Area Medical Clinic Manager Vicki Gregg was on site Saturday morning as well and she, too, offered a few words on the clinic. She said for her, RAM is a perfect fit, as she loves the idea of giving back to people who otherwise may not be able to obtain health care.

“Taking care of people who don’t have the ability to access it,” Gregg said when asked what the biggest draw of RAM was for her. “They may have medical insurance but in many cases, vision insurance and dental insurance is very limiting. We’ve got patients who need dental extractions, who need a new pair of glasses, and those things can be expensive. It’s just always that, giving back to the community that needs it. That’s why I do this.”

She remarked that the Pahrump clinic, which she was attending for the second time, is one of her very favorite. “I love this community,” Gregg added. “They always treat us just so great here and the patients are just wonderful.”

Outside of providing medical exams and procedures, RAM had another goal this year, and that was to assist area residents who have unfortunately lost their primary care doctor with the death of local practitioner Dr. William Craig. He was a beloved part of the community and his passing hit his patients hard, both emotionally and in terms of their health care. Many were left without the ability to renew their prescription medications and with this knowledge in mind, the Pahrump RAM Committee organized a “fast-track” process for former patients of Dr. Craig, who were able to head out and get authorization for their medication refills, as well as referrals to new primary care doctors.

One local resident who was taking advantage of this process was Faye Burdzinski, who said the ability to get her prescriptions refilled while she waits to have her first appointment with her new doctor was a life-saver.

“It’s just so convenient to have this here, it’s a nice safety net,” Burdzinski said. “I am really appreciative of RAM, I mean, it never really hit my radar before, because I didn’t need it, but when it was announced that we could come here and get a bridge for our prescriptions, I was like, ‘Sign me up!’ I’m so impressed by how everything is going here, it’s such a huge undertaking and it’s so well organized.”

When all was said and done, Cooper said the 6th Annual Pahrump Remote Area Medical Clinic was a big success and the organization is looking forward to making yet another return in 2021.

“RAM is so glad to have been able to provide much-needed care to the local community in Pahrump again this past weekend,” Cooper told the Times. “So many individuals came together to make this event a success, and it has been amazing working with an organization like the NyE Communities Coalition, which makes such an impact. So many patients were served. Thank you to all the volunteers, both near and far, who showed up to help people in need receive these life-changing services.”

For more information on Ram visit www.RAMUSA.org

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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