Remote Area Medical and health insurers serve more than 180 people at free clinic in tornado-devastated town of Mayfield

Remote Area Medical workers do a vision exam. (Photo from Kentucky Association of Health Plans)

More than 180 people received free medical treatment or vision exams and glasses this weekend at a two-day clinic in Mayfield, the West Kentucky town devastated by the massive December tornado.

The clinic was sponsored by Remote Area Medical, which specializes in such clinics, and the Kentucky Association of Health Plans, the trade association representing all commercial insurers and Medicaid managed-care organizations in the state.
Free glasses were made on-site at Mayfield Middle School. Attendees also received free, take-home colon-cancer screening tests. Children received free coats and shoes from Operation Warmth, and snow cones.

“Probably half of our patients have brought children with them and some families,” Nicole Yates of Passport Health Plan told Paducah’s WPSD-TV. Most patients didn’t have primary-care health providers.

Yates says told the station that vision issues are often forgotten about in disasters. “During the disaster, everybody thought, bring water to Mayfield, right? But no one thought about if they were going to be able to get their prescription filled. What if they lost their glasses in the tornado?”

Yates says many patients came in with problems they didn’t know they had: “Cataracts, other vision issues, diabetes. We had someone here who . . . were having chest pains.” She said many requested dental services, and “They hope to be able to bring a free dental clinic to Mayfield later this year,” WPSD reports.
KAHP Executive Director Tom Stephens said in a news release, “We said back in December we wanted to help through all stages of the recovery and that is exactly what we are doing. There is still a great need for support.”
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