Remote Area Medical plans expanded four-day health clinic Nov. 10-13
MANATEE -- After nearly 1,800 people stood in line for health care last year, organizers are bringing the clinic back to Manatee County and adding a third day of free health and dental care for the public.
The Remote Area Medical clinic will be staged again at Manatee Technical College from Nov. 11-13.
As an added bonus, RAM organizers said Wednesday they will add a Nov. 10 clinic for dogs and cats.
The pet clinic will probably be set up in the agricultural science area at Braden River High School, said Dr. Richard Conard, RAM chairman.
Conard said demand was so great they could have treated 1,800 more patients had there been more volunteer doctors and dentists last year.
Adding a day will help serve people in need of medical care, he said. Organizers are hoping to recruit more volunteers to serve even more people this year.
"I know we turned away as many as we treated," Conard said Wednesday. "The clinic in Bradenton was so successful that RAM now wants to go to other Florida locations in 2016 if possible."
Conard has been named president of Florida RAM, he said.
People who traveled to the clinic last year had few other options. Some were small business owners, others worked part-time jobs with no insurance and others were unemployed. One woman came from Texas for dental treatment.
Manatee County has been struggling with how to provide indigent health care after its contract with Manatee Memorial Hospital expired. County commissioners finally approved contracts for indigent care, spending less than in past years.
In order to meet demand for pet clinics, the RAM Pet Committee is seeking volunteer veterinarians. A website, ramvetmanasota@gmail, has been set up so vets can volunteer.
"There are a lot of people in Manatee County whose pets are their family, and they don't have funds to care for their pets," Conard said.
The RAM pet clinic may offer owners a voucher for free spay and neuters at Animal Rescue Coalition and Humane Society of Manatee County, Conard said.
Needy pets will get free vaccines at the clinic, including lepto, rabies, bordetella, flu and DHPPV, a combination vaccine for protection against four common dog diseases, including distemper, said Terri Romano of the Humane Society of Manatee County.
Pet owners will also receive a 6- to 12-month supply of Sentinel tablets for heartworm and flea prevention, said Deborah Starr, committee member.
"We badly need many volunteers, not only vets," Conard said.
The committee is seeking people to groom, trim nails and offer behavior and training tips for needy pets and gather donated items for needy pet owners including food, leashes, carriers and beds.
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7072 or contact him via Twitter@RichardDymond.