Volunteer Clinics Struggle to Cope with U.S. Health Care Crisis

Endless lines and limited supplies at volunteer clinics have quickly become the face of Americans “falling through the cracks of a broken health care system.”
Thousands of Americans with no access to care are relying on volunteer clinics like Remote Area Medical (RAM).
“What [RAM] is doing is taking and filling a need,” Medical volunteer Dr. Richard Bruno explained. “So there’s obviously thousands of people, especially in our community here in Baltimore, who are falling through the cracks of a broken health care system. They’re not able to get access to the care that they need. They’re not able to see physicians and be able to get care and so RAM finds where those needs are throughout the country, and they come in, and they put on an extremely elaborate and well-coordinated, logistical clinic.”
RAM creates temporary clinics all over the country that provide medical, dental, and vision care to anyone for free.
“We ask no questions of our patients,” RAM CEO Jeff Eastman stated. “The only one question we ask is where does it hurt?”
In 2018, RAM served more than 45,000 people with free health care valued at $15 million.
“People who have really been shut out of medical experiences, not being able to get the care that they need, actually coming and saying, I’m going to get up at 4:00 this morning, and I’m gonna try and come in and find a way that I can get the care that I need because I’m sick and I need help,” Dr. Bruno explained of his patients. “And when they’re able to get that help, that makes my day.”