People from Hazard and the surrounding area will get the chance to receive free medical care, as the Remote Area Medical Free Clinic is set to return to the area on June 8-9.
The Remote Area Medical Free Clinic provides free dental, vision and medical services to underserved communities. Kaylen Mallard, chief development officer for Remote Area Medical, said the clinic is invited to come and provide their services to underserved areas like Hazard, and this is the second year that the clinic has come to the area.
“We believe that everyone should have access to healthcare,” Mallard said. “Rural areas don’t always have access to medical services.”
About 400 people visited the clinic last year, and about 600 are expected this year. Mallard said that has been the average number of patients who visit the clinic in other states, including Tennessee, Texas, Oklahoma and Virginia.
Mallard said there can be a lack of accessible and affordable dental, vision and medical services and a shortage of medical providers in rural areas like Hazard. For example, as of 2017 in Perry County, there were 1,330 people for each dentist in Perry County, and there were 850 patients for each primary care physician, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The clinic will be stationed at East Perry Elementary School at 301 Perry Circle Rd. starting at 12 a.m. on the first night of the event. Ticket distribution will begin at 3 a.m., and clinic doors open at 6 a.m. Services are provided on a first-come, first-served basis. The clinic is open to the public, and identification is not required.
Provided dental services include fillings, cleanings and extractions, and provided vision care includes eye exams, glaucoma testing and prescription glasses made on site. Patients are asked to choose between dental and vision services, due to time constraints.
Medical services to be provided include general medical services, physicals, women’s health, sexually transmitted disease testing and family planning, including free birth control.
The clinic requests volunteers and monetary donations, as the operating costs for the clinic total about $26,000 per day, Mallard said.