No-cost clinics are being held in Hamilton and Rhea County as part of a military training mission

Two temporary no-cost medical clinics in Hamilton and Rhea County are now serving the community. These clinics are operated by military health care personnel as part of a training mission.

Military medical personnel from the Air Force, Army, and Navy reserve units are completing their required two-week annual training by providing free medical service to uninsured and under-served residents of the Tennessee Valley. It was Jerry Wilson and his wife Linda Wilson with the Birchwood Area Society Improvement Council (BASIC) that applied to the Department of Defense for the military health care fair

“We feel and it’s been shown that there is a great need, for the under served areas of Rhea County, Meigs County, and parts of Hamilton County. And, these folks don’t have health insurance, they can’t afford it, So, this is a thing that’s going to give them no cost medical coverage. They’re having dental, vision, but that was the biggest reason, these folks need some help,” Wilson said.

Captain Francisco Rivera at the Birchwood Community Center clinic said that dentistry and optometry are the busiest areas.

“We’re seeing about a hundred and fifty patients between the two locations. Our busiest service is dental, so if you want to see dental, you have to be early. It doesn’t mean you may not get it. It means that you may have to come back in the afternoon when things have wind down a little bit,” Rivera said. “Our second most requested service is optometry. That one, we are so far able to take people all the time.”

Lieutenant Colonel Terry Walker, who’s an optometrist, sees the clinic as an access point. “It’s a great scope to the community to address their glasses, their vision needs, as well as dental, for the health of the body. We have medical providers, behavioral health, pharmacy help. So, it enables an access point, am access to care, where some don’t have by transportation the ability to get to providers that are out there or those that have no coverage,” said Walker.

The clinics are located at Birchwood Community Center and Rhea Middle School.

Gates open at 7 a.m. at both locations and close at 2 in the afternoon.

The clinics are in town until the 13th.


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