Only days before the Remote Area Medical (RAM) clinic was to make its debut at Manatee Technical College on Saturday and Sunday, organizer Dr. Richard Conard was perplexed.
He needed more dentists.
More than 2,500 people are expected to start lining up at midnight on Friday and then will begin receiving service numbers at 3 a.m. to have their dental, vision or general medical issues checked. The free clinic will open at 6 a.m.
Patients will be triaged and then will be pointed toward the appropriate service.
Although Conard said more than 700 volunteers have registered, he was short on dentists.
"We have about 40 dentists for Saturday and about 29 for Sunday," Conard said. "We need about 50 for each day."
A hurdle has been the state's Department of Health regulations regarding out-of-state physicians practicing temporarily in the state. Conard said he had many out-of-state doctors interested in donating their time who backed out due to the regulations.
Besides the need for dentists, Conard said another main need is for parking attendants. Any medical personnel or those who would consider being a parking attendant can register at ramvolunteers.org or by calling 526-4766.
Manatee Technical College is located at 6305 State Road 70 E., Bradenton.
“The whole basis on the success of the RAM project is people don’t have insurance for dental or eye care,” organizer Doug Schiller said in a previous Observer story. “When a clinic like this comes up where you can get free glasses or extractions, that’s about 96% of the turnout.
“The ground floor of MTC will turn into a healthcare clinic for two days.”
Remote Area Medical is a nonprofit founded in 1985 to prevent pain and alleviate suffering in the world’s inaccessible areas. It offers healthcare clinics throughout the country and the clinic at MTI will offer dental services, vision and general medical services.
Conard and Schiller are members of the Palmetto Rotary Club.
Patients will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis. Some services, such as mammograms, blood pressure checks, flu vaccines and more, will not require numbers, but will be available to patients as they wait for specific services.
Healthcare volunteers will serve in their fields of expertise, while community volunteers will assist with registration, security and other logistical needs.