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Free Medical Clinic Draws Thousands To Cal Expo

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, April 4, 2011

<<number calling over bull horn>>

Around noon on the first day of the clinic, many people were still waiting for their number to be called.  
AUDIO: "We got here at Five o'clock.  Four o'clock.  Six o'clock.  Six, seven too.  Seven, but it seems like it's moving really fast."
clinic1They were waiting to receive free medical care. 
AUDIO: "Dental and Vision.  I need eyeglasses.  I'm really sick and I need a filling.  Dental, Vision, and acupuncture."
Everyone's eligible, and it's all free of charge.  Some say they don't qualify for Medical or Medicaid.  Many say they don't have insurance.  Others are like Laurie Erickson.
"I do have insurance," Erickson said.  "But mine is a high deductible.  I mean I can't have the small things because I have to pay the high deductible before the insurance kicks in." 
The Remote Area Medical Clinic, or RAM, is increasingly beingClinic2 used to treat Americans where they live.  But RAM was originally designed to establish emergency medical facilities in a remote area, often after a disaster. 

"Remote Area Medical has gone to Haiti.  They've been overseas a lot.  And they found that there really was a need in their own back yard," Congdon said.

Pam Congdon is the Executive Director of the California Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.  She says she decided to organize a Sacramento clinic after volunteering in a Los Angeles clinic last year. 
"I saw what it did for all of the patients and all of the volunteers," Congdon said.  "So I invited RAM to come to Northern California to provide the same service since we've had so many budget cuts.  They're either underinsured or non-insured." 
clinic3Congdon says the clinics are staffed by volunteers and funded by donations.  She says nearly three thousand people volunteered to assist the Sacramento clinic, which treated more than a thousand people a day.    
Most of them left grateful.
AUDIO: "It's great, great.  Everyone in there is great.  It's a great program.  Even gave us some goodies.  By the way give me my goodies." 


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