More than 800 volunteers – including doctors and dentists – have registered for a two-day free medical clinic to be held this weekend.
JoAnn VanFleteren is an organizer at the Pensacola Remote Area Clinic. The event is set for Saturday and Sunday at Pensacola High School on Maxwell Street. The clinic is being divided into three core categories – dental, medical and vision.
“Dental – cleanings, extractions, and cavities,” VanFleteren says. “Medical – pap smears as well as annual checkups. And they will actually make glasses for people on the spot.”
Work has been underway since the summer to raise the $25,000 needed to pay for the clinic, which VanFleteren says will also feature a number of screenings and other services.
“Walgreen’s has given us 2,000 flu shots for the clinic, and the Escambia County Health Department is doing the HIV and syphilis testing,” said VanFleteren. “Escambia Community Clinics will be there to help register people for a medical home.”
All patients have to do is show up and wait in line, and they’ll be seen. Registering for the clinic is relatively straightforward, and not as invasive as registration can be for other events and services.
“The only information that we actually will be collecting is their name, their address, and their phone number,” VanFleteren says.
The goals are to serve 2,000 patients, and achieve a community healthcare benefit of at least a $500,000.
At the end of the weekend, VanFleteren is also hoping that the true mission of the remote area clinic is fulfilled.
“Which is to alleviate pain and suffering,” said VanFleteren. “That, [for the] people who come to this clinic, we’re able to supply and provide glasses if they need it, take away the pain, and get them in a good place so they can enjoy the holidays just like everybody else.”
The free clinic stands ready to serve people on both sides of the age spectrum, and everyone in between. For children and seniors, it’s a matter of making them as comfortable as possible while waiting in line.
“We’ve been very lucky with the Salvation Army; they have come and helped us do breakfast for both days,” said VanFleteren. “We’ll get some wheelchairs in case they need assistance coming in. We’re going to work with them the best way we possibly can.
And if JoAnn VanFleteren and others at the Pensacola Remote Area Clinic get their way, this clinic will not be “one and done.”
“What I’m hoping is that it will be an annual clinic,” said VanFleteren. “It’s all dependent on how we do the first time.”
In addition to the medical services, Pensacola State College will offer haircuts and barber services.
Once again, the Pensacola Remote Area Clinic will be this Saturday and Sunday, December 2-3 at Pensacola High School. The doors open at 6:00 a.m. both days. More information is available at www.ramusa.org\volunteer.