Mobile health clinic serves uninsured and underinsured families
For many of us, when we get sick, we go to the doctor. It’s not that easy for a lot of Americans.
The latest national figures from the CDC show that one in 12 Americans under the age of 65 is uninsured. Another study shows that one in five people are considered underinsured, which means they don’t have the funds for personal expenses or copayments.
A group of traveling doctors and nurses provide solutions to communities across the country.
It was such an exciting day that 8-year-old A’ziya found it difficult to sit still. After all, it was a little urgent for her to go to a community meeting space that day.
“Someone crushed my normal glasses,” she said. “They fell from my backpack.”
A’ziya was with her sister, Aniyja, 11, and her mother Doisha West.
Like everyone who walks through doors, there was a story that brought this family here.
They are from little Springfield, Tennessee, where West is a teacher’s assistant. She is a mother of five who is covered by health insurance, but she said the co-payments for herself and her children add up.
“My dental care is so profitable, and I have to get out maybe $ 400 or $ 500, and that’s a lot with five kids,” West said. “I sometimes wonder how a lot of people make it work. “
West said being a mom is a sacrifice. By paying for her children to have everything they need. She was unable to deal with a crushing pain in one of her teeth.
“I can’t sleep at night,” West said. “Sometimes you can’t even function when you’re in pain. I’m just dealing with the pain. My children, they come first.
Poppy Green is the Senior Clinic Coordinator for Remote Area Medical nonprofit.
“Our mission is to prevent pain,” Green said. “It’s hard. They make very concrete decisions about health care every day.
Remote Area Medical sets up mobile clinics in communities across the country where they are invited, around 60 per year. Volunteer health professionals provide free health care, including dental, medical, and vision services, and even make eyeglasses.
Green said many of the people they see are uninsured. Then there are a lot of families like West’s.
“They’re just struggling to make ends meet,” Green said. “They decide between their own health care needs and putting food on the table. “
Another reason people are showing up, you will find it in the country. According to the Sheps Center for Health Services Research, since 2005, there have been 181 rural hospital closures. With people without nearby care options in many rural locations, Green said Remote Area Medical can come up and meet some of those needs.
No matter what brought them here, Green said people lined up in the early hours of the morning, sometimes even overnight, to be seen.
“They have health care needs that have been overlooked for months, if not years,” he said.
West said she was just grateful the dental work made that pain go away.
“I couldn’t eat the shrimp I want to eat!” West laughed.
West is grateful that her daughter found new specs after the last pair had an unfortunate end. An 8-year-old thinks a day like this is worth getting excited.
“The people you know and love, your neighbors, the people in your community are struggling,” Green said. “It’s an honor to play a small role in helping them.
To learn more about Remote Area Medical, visit RAMUSA.ORG.