Remote Area Medical LA - Free Healthcare





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Uploaded on Aug 21, 2009

August 11, 2009

Single Payer RNs and Doctors Volunteer at Remote Area Medical-LA-The Forum
Providers call on lawmakers to do the right thing on health reform

Two single payer proponent organizations, the California Physicians Alliance (CaPA) and the California Nurses Association (CNA), sent physicians and registered nurses to staff the Remote Area Medical (RAM) expedition at the Inglewood Forum from August 11-18.

The RAM-LA 2009 expedition is the first visit to Los Angeles for the Tennessee based non-profit organization that is best known for their work delivering free healthcare to remote areas of South America. Their visit to Los Angeles underscores the dire nature of the American healthcare crisis: 1 out of 6 (18%) non-elderly Americans were uninsured in 2007[1], over 400,000 Americans have lost insurance every month since the beginning of the recession[2], nearly two-thirds (62.1%) of bankruptcies are now medically related[3], the risk of dying is 40% higher for uninsured Americans between 55-65 years of age[4], 80% of the uninsured are employed[5].

Patients who plan to seek care at the Forum over the next week are warned to expect prolonged waits and no guarantees are made that they will actually be seen.
Last year, 60 Minutes did a segment on one of the free RAM health care expeditions held in their home town of Knoxville. According to 60 Minutes, over the course of a weekend they saw 920 patients, made 500 pairs of glasses, did 94 mammograms, extracted 1066 teeth and did 567 fillings. But when Stan Brock (the founder) called the last number, 400 people were turned away. A similar story plays out everyday at any Los Angeles Emergency Department where critical overcrowding leads to long waits, many left without being seen, ambulance diversions, delay to care of time-sensitive or painful conditions and deaths[6].
Wendell Potter, the former top public relations executive for Cigna who has recently become an outspoken critic of the private health insurance industry, cites a RAM event in Virginia as the turning point in his career: Nothing could have prepared me for what I saw when I reached the Wise County Fairgrounds, where the expedition was being held. Hundreds of people had camped out all night in the parking lot to be assured of seeing a doctor or dentist when the gates opened. By the time I got there, long lines of people stretched from every animal stall and tent where the volunteers were treating patients.

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