Department of Defense to host health clinic for North Carolina residents
By 1st Lt. Matt Eck, 180th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard
/ Published August 01, 2017
HAYESVILLE, N.C. -- More than 200 service members will provide no-cost medical care to residents in Clay and Swain counties, and surrounding areas from Wednesday, Aug. 2 through Thursday, Aug. 10.
Through the DOD’s Innovative Readiness Training program, Smoky Mountain Medical is partnering with the Clay and Swain County health departments to provide medical, dental and optical screenings to patients at Swain County and Hayesville high schools.
“Smoky Mountain Medical is bringing additional resources into our community to help those we don’t have the resources to reach,” said Clay County Health Director Janice Patterson. “We have a lot of self-employed small business employers who do not offer healthcare benefits. Unlike what many people think, the uninsured are most often employed hard working people who just can’t afford health insurance or they have a really high insurance deductible they can only meet if they have a major healthcare event with hospitalization.”
The clinics will operate daily from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., but residents are encouraged to arrive early and to expect potentially long wait times due to high demand for these services. Services will include non-emergency medical treatments and screenings, fillings and tooth extractions, eye exams and single-vision prescription glasses.
"We are looking forward to offering the people of North Carolina and surrounding areas quality medical care," said Lt. Col. Gary Easterly, officer in charge Smoky Mountain Medical. "Smoky Mountain Medical IRT is not only beneficial to the people that receive health care, but it fulfills necessary training requirements and increases readiness amongst our health professionals. Our service members are excited to interact with the community and are looking forward to making a difference."
Limited veterinarian care for cats and dogs will also be provided at Hayesville High School from Aug. 2 through 7 and at Swain County High School from Aug. 8 through 10. In addition to receiving medical services, residents will be able to obtain information at clinic sites about local healthcare services, public health programs and general resources.
Smoky Mountain Medical is supported by service members from the Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve, Army Reserve and Navy. The IRT program is a partnership between communities and the DOD, which combines military training opportunities with services needed in U.S. communities.
Smoky Mountain Medical is just one of many IRT programs that provide high-quality, mission-essential training for Active, Guard and Reserve support personnel and units while addressing needs in local communities. More information on Smoky Mountain Medical services can be found at https://www.facebook.com/SmokyMountainMedical/. More information on the IRT program can be found at http://irt.defense.gov/.