December 7, 2022

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Barbara Lynch, a paramedic from New Hampshire, stacks trays of sterilized dental equipment Saturday for Remote Area Medical’s dental clinic at the Washington County Fairgrounds.
Colleen Riley puts a blank lens in a marking machine, the first step in making a prescription lens for a Remote Area Medical patient. Riley, a microbiologist from Wisconsin, was volunteering Saturday at RAM’s free clinic at the Washington County Fairgrounds.
Josh Stephani, a volunteer with Comfort Food Community in Greenwich, helps a RAM clinic volunteer choose some fresh food. Comfort Food Community was one of several community organizations available to patients at this weekend’s Remote Area Medical clinic at the Washington County Fairgrounds.
Dr. Michael Seitz and his wife Young Kim are volunteering this weekend in the dental section of Remote Area Medical’s free clinic at the Washington County Fairgrounds. Seitz’s specialty is root canals. Kim, an anesthesiologist, volunteers as his dental assistant.
EASTON — Less than halfway through the first day of its weekend clinic, more than 100 patients had come for free medical, vision, and dental care from Remote Area Medical, said Ronnie Hatfield, one of the organization’s staff members.
The nonprofit was holding its second annual clinic at the Washington County Fairgrounds. RAM’s mission is to provide free quality healthcare to those in need. Patients don’t need to show proof of residency or ID.
Volunteers started registering patients at 6 a.m. Saturday. “There were several dozen cars in the parking lot when we opened,” said marketing manager Poppy Green.
The clinic served around 300 patients last year and early indications were that there would be at least that many this year.
“People need everything,” Hatfield said. Dental care tops the list, followed by vision care, general medical care and women’s health care. “You can improve someone’s life right away with dental and vision care — you can alleviate the pain of a sore tooth and give them new glasses. We see that everywhere,” he said.
Patients are “mostly folks who are a little older,” Hatfield said. State programs usually ensure health care access for children. “There are more gaps for older folks,” he said. “RAM fills the gap.”
Patients go through an intake process that includes a medical history and basic checkup and bloodwork. “It’s a lot of everything,” said Terrence Fine, a physician’s assistant who was helping at the medical clinic. People mostly have general medical problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes and no medical insurance, he said. From the medical clinic, patients can go on to the dental and vision clinics, “which is what they really need.” RAM will put patients in touch with local health care providers for follow-up care.
Fine works in emergency rooms in the northern Adirondacks. He became involved with RAM last year as a community host, one of five people who led efforts to bring the clinic to the area.
“The services here are phenomenal,” Fine said. RAM is “easy to volunteer with and well organized. They accomplish their mission, which is a tremendous thing.”
Many patients are indigent farm workers who don’t qualify for public health care coverage, Fine said. There are also significant numbers of people with disabilities and retirees. “They’re people who just need basic health care, vision, and dental,” he said.
Almost 200 volunteers signed up for the two-day clinic. “Typically there’s a 20 to 30% no-show rate, but that’s not happening today,” Hatfield said. Volunteers include doctors, dentists and optometrists, as well as student health care professionals practicing clinical skills under their professors’ supervision. Other positions include medical specialists, translators, data entry technicians, and just plain people who assist patients and other volunteers, set up, take down and do any other job necessary.
Colleen Carroll is a dental hygienist from Hebron who was volunteering for the first time.
“I saw a memo about the clinic and thought, ‘What a great way to give back,’” Carroll said. She was taking X-rays for patients at the dental clinic.
“There are a lot of patients who need extractions,” Carroll said. “The X-rays show that they haven’t had a decent cleaning in 10 to 15 years. They have periodontal disease and extreme decay. They need full-mouth reconstruction.”
Dr. Michael Seitz and his wife Young Kim, from Cornwall, were working at the 20-station dental clinic. Kim, an anesthesiologist, was serving as her husband’s assistant.
“I started doing RAM missions seven years ago,” Seitz said. He has done medical mission “around the world,” but the missions stopped during the worst of the COVID pandemic. Working with RAM is a little easier: “It’s a two-day commitment and I get to meet new people, see new places and drink new beers,” he said.
Seitz’ specialty is root canals. “RAM wasn’t doing them, but there’s a big need for it,” he said. “The other dentists bring their patients over. It’s a good service to provide, especially with front teeth. You don’t want to take the tooth out.”
The vision clinic does eye exams and gives prescriptions for glasses. About half the patients need glasses, said Colleen Riley, a volunteer from Wisconsin, who was running the clinic’s on-site eyeglass laboratory. Patients choose their frames from RAM’s stock and the lab makes glasses in 10 to 20 minutes.
“Compared to medical or dental, it seems less flashy, but it impacts people’s lives,” Riley said. If a prescription is too complicated for the lab, RAM has the glasses made elsewhere and mails them to patients.
Karen Weinberg, from Shushan, serves on the community host group with Fine and three other local people. This year’s clinic has “a tremendous amount of community support,” Weinberg said. Donors and supporters include businesses, health care organizations and professionals, farms, and civic groups. For example, the Mary McClellan Hospital Foundation gave a grant to cover the lease of the fairground for four days, Weinberg said. Farms and businesses donated food for staff, volunteers, and patients.
Glens Falls Hospital is did free cancer screenings with referrals. BOCES students and 4-H members prepared meals and snacks for people at the clinic. Narcan training and HIV and Hepatitis C screenings were available this year thanks to grants and community support, she said.
“This is high-quality health care for people who need it,” Weinberg said. “What we are trying to do is have regular clinics at the same time each year that people can depend on. It’s one-stop health shopping.”
The RAM clinic continues today from 6 a.m. to roughly 6 p.m. at the Washington County Fairgrounds, Easton, on a first-come, first-served basis. Face coverings and COVID tests are required to enter the clinic. For more information, visit ramusa.org.

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Two men have been arrested for allegedly assaulting a man so severely that they caused a head injury and broken ankle.

The Warren County Sheriff’s Office arrested two women for allegedly possessing drugs following a traffic stop on Saturday.

While a student-organized petition against a registered sex offender has garnered nearly 1,000 signatures at SUNY Adirondack, college administrators say they are unable to do what students are asking for. 

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A Glens Falls man is facing a felony driving while intoxicated charge.

State police have arrested a father from South Glens Falls and his daughter from Greenfield in connection with a theft from a Malta store.

Police arrested a Granville man twice in one day last week.
Barbara Lynch, a paramedic from New Hampshire, stacks trays of sterilized dental equipment Saturday for Remote Area Medical’s dental clinic at the Washington County Fairgrounds.
Colleen Riley puts a blank lens in a marking machine, the first step in making a prescription lens for a Remote Area Medical patient. Riley, a microbiologist from Wisconsin, was volunteering Saturday at RAM’s free clinic at the Washington County Fairgrounds.
Josh Stephani, a volunteer with Comfort Food Community in Greenwich, helps a RAM clinic volunteer choose some fresh food. Comfort Food Community was one of several community organizations available to patients at this weekend’s Remote Area Medical clinic at the Washington County Fairgrounds.
Dr. Michael Seitz and his wife Young Kim are volunteering this weekend in the dental section of Remote Area Medical’s free clinic at the Washington County Fairgrounds. Seitz’s specialty is root canals. Kim, an anesthesiologist, volunteers as his dental assistant.
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