SEATTLE/KING COUNTY CLINIC with REMOTE AREA MEDICAL®
OCTOBER 23 – 26, 2014 at Seattle Center

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

General Information | Patient Information | Volunteer Information

GENERAL INFORMATION:

1. What is Remote Area Medical?

Remote Area Medical (RAM) is a non-profit, humanitarian organization that partners with communities across the country to provide free dental, vision, and medical care to underserved populations in large-scale, volunteer driven clinics.

2. Why is RAM coming here, Seattle isn’t remote?

RAM is coming here because they were invited by the Seattle/King County community. The name “Remote Area Medical” stems from the organization’s beginning when it worked in remote areas of the world. They still work internationally, but also across the United States (they’ve held 700+ clinics and treated 500,000+ patients) in both rural and urban areas, wherever there are people who need help to access healthcare. While Seattle is not geographically remote, for some people in our community access to healthcare is remote.

3. When and where does the clinic take place?

The clinic will take place from Thursday, October 23 through Sunday, October 26, 2014 at Seattle Center in KeyArena.

HealthFest will also be occurring in the Seattle Center Armory on Saturday, October 25 and Sunday, October 26. This resource event is available to clinic patients and the general public. (See #9 for more information)

4. Who is eligible to receive services, is it limited to residents of Seattle and King County?

The only qualification for service is that a person waits their turn in line.

5. How often will the clinic occur in Seattle?

We aren’t sure. This is the first time a clinic with RAM has been held in Washington. Organizers will need to see how it goes before they decide whether to do something like this again. RAM will come only by invitation and no more than once per year.

6. Who pays for this clinic?

RAM covers some of the costs by providing some equipment and supplies, but any community that hosts a clinic also has to cover a lot of costs. Seattle Center Foundation, a non-profit organization, is raising the money the Seattle/King County Host Community needs to produce the clinic. We have a budget of approximately $500,000. About half of that will come from in-kind donations, the other half we need to raise in cash. This will allow us to provide more than $2 millions in care to patients.

7. Are any of the services billed to insurance, by the healthcare practitioners, or the clinic? 

No. All of the healthcare practitioners at the clinic are volunteers and they are providing their services without compensation.

8. How can I make a donation? 

Thank you for considering a donation, any amount will help! Donations can be made at seattlecenter.org.

9. What is HealthFest (is it the same as the clinic?)

HealthFest is a resource event that will provide members of the public with information and services to stay healthy including real solutions ranging from health insurance navigation and enrollment, to demonstrations of nutritional or fitness ideas, screenings, and educational discussions as well as an opportunity to connect with local health, human, and social service providers. It will occur on some of the same days as the clinic, but will be held in the Seattle Center Armory. It is open to anyone whether or not they participate in the clinic being held in KeyArena. The dates for HealthFest are Saturday, October 25 and Sunday, October 26.  Learn more.

PATIENT INFORMATION:

10. What services will be provided? 

Due to limited time, patients must choose to seek dental/medical care or vision/medical care. Patients can come back on another day to try and get additional services, however they must start the process all over again by waiting in line to get a number.

  • Dental will include cleanings, fillings, extractions, x-rays.
  • Vision patients will receive a complete dilated eye exam, glaucoma testing, and diabetic retinopathy. If prescribed, a pair of eyeglasses can be made on-site. You can save time by bringing your current eyeglass prescription (no more than 1 year old.)
  • Medical services will range from treatments such as wound and foot care, to screening for diseases such as diabetes and hypertension, flu shots, and physical exams (women’s health exams include mammograms and pap smears.) Acupuncture, chiropractic, and mental health first aid will also be available.

Any patient under 18 years of age must have a parent or legal guardian with them during registration and services. Exceptions may be made under the Mature Minors Doctrine for homeless youth ages 13 and above who are not in contact with a parent or legal guardian.

11. Will prescriptions be issued?

A licensed healthcare provider may issue a prescription if a patient’s condition warrants it. Most likely these are for immediate needs, not long-term treatment. Medical marijuana and narcotics prescriptions will not be issued. Medications are not dispensed on-site. No narcotics are on-site.

12. Is there any cost for services?

No, clinic services and HealthFest are free.

13. What time do I need to get in line?

The line will be located inside the Northwest Rooms just North of KeyArena on the corner of 1st Ave North and Republican Street. The Northwest Rooms will open at 12 midnight. Many people will arrive on-site to wait in line several hours before the numbers are given out. Numbers will be distributed starting at 3:30 AM in line order (only one number per person, each person must be present to get a number.) Numbers are limited to how many professionals have volunteered. Once you receive a number, you cannot leave Seattle Center without forfeiting that number. We will begin to admit people with numbers at 5:30 AM.

14. What can I expect after I get a number? 

You can wait in the Northwest Rooms until it’s close to the time for your admission to the clinic in KeyArena. Beginning at 5:30 AM, numbers are called in batches of about 25. You cannot enter KeyArena until your number is called. First, you’ll go to registration where a volunteer will ask your name, age, height, and weight. After registration, you will meet a healthcare professional in the health screening area where your blood pressure and medical history, including any current medications, will be reviewed. Then, you’ll go to your selected care area(s). Patients can choose to seek either dental or vision care (not both,) plus medical care on that day. In each care area you will get in line again and be seen on a first come, first served basis (it is not based on your original admission number.) Once you have been treated in one area you can go to your second area of interest, if time allows.

15. What happens if my number is called and I’m not there?

If it’s within one hour of when your number was originally called, you will still be admitted. If it’s more than one hour since your number was called, you will not be admitted.

16. What if I don’t get a number?

Unfortunately, the number of patients who can be seen is limited and every person in line may not get a number. You can come back the next day to try again and/or you can participate in HealthFest in the Seattle Center Armory which does not require a number.

17. What happens if I wasn’t able to get all of the services I wanted?

You can come back on another day to try and get some additional services, however you must start the process all over again by waiting in line to get your number.

18. Will veterinary services be available (can I bring my pet?)

No, veterinary services will not be available at this clinic. For health and sanitation reasons, only legal service animals will be allowed indoors.

19. Will I be fed while waiting for care?

No, please come prepared with food and water. If you leave/exit KeyArena (the site of the clinic) you will not be readmitted.

20. What should I bring to the clinic?

Be prepared for a long day, your comfort is your responsibility. We suggest you bring plenty of food and water, comfortable clothing, and some kind of entertainment (books, magazines, etc.) You do not need ID or proof of citizenship for the clinic. No drugs, alcohol, or weapons are allowed on site.

21. Will my income, insurance, or immigration status disqualify me from receiving care?

No. All patients regardless of income, insurance, or citizenship status are eligible to receive care on a first-come, first-served basis. Patients will not be asked for documentation of any type.

22. Is transportation or parking provided?

Transportation is not provided, but more information on how to get to Seattle Center using public transportation is available at www.wsdot.wa.gov/transit/. Patient parking is provided for free in the 1st Avenue North Parking Garage. The garage will open at 12 midnight.

23. Is child-care available?

No. You can bring children with you, even if they are not seeking services, but their care is your responsibility. Please plan for how to pass the time with them and make sure you have food and activities to keep them satisfied.

24. Are interpreters available? 

Yes.

25. Will I be able to get help with health insurance?

Yes. Health insurance is not needed to take advantage of the clinic, however we will have people who are able to assist you in learning more about your health insurance options and to help get you enrolled if you qualify for Medicaid. Open enrollment for all other health insurance doesn’t begin until November 15, 2014.

If you would like free assistance from a trained health insurance navigator to:

  • Enroll in a health plan that’s right for you
  • Compare health plans side-by-side
  • Find out if you are eligible for financial help
  • Get answers to your questions

You will need to bring:

  • Social Security Numbers for all household members
  • Date of birth for all members
  • Your household’s estimated income (if possible, bring 2013 tax form)
  • If employed, please have employer’s name, address, and monthly gross income for each employed enrollee
  • Proof of residential status (Citizen/Naturalization Certificate or Permanent Resident-Green Card)

VOLUNTEER INFORMATION:

26. I want to volunteer. How do I sign up?

Go to www.ramvolunteers.org and select “Become a RAM Volunteer” to create an account. Then go to “Upcoming Clinics” to register for Seattle/King County and choose the dates you want to participate. Once you’ve signed up there, be sure to complete the supplemental registration for Seattle/King County Clinic at www.surveymonkey.com/s/SupplementalVolunteerRegistration.

27. I tried to register to volunteer, but the system won’t accept my password and/or I couldn’t make changes to my information. 

If this is the first time you’ve worked with RAM, don’t use “Log In”–instead, select “Become a RAM Volunteer” to set up an account. Once you have an account, you can “Log In” to change your information or select the clinics where you want to volunteer.

28. I wanted to register for a certain day, but the system wouldn’t let me.

That is probably because all of the openings for your discipline or volunteer role have been filled on that day. We thank you for your interest and encourage you to try to participate on another day. If you’re a healthcare professional and are willing to fill a General Support role, please contact Project Director Julia Colson at SKCClinic@seattle.gov to be scheduled.

29. I signed up to volunteer, but I never heard back from anyone.

We encourage you to contact RAM directly so they can investigate. You may have created an account, but missed the step of actually registering for the clinic. Please email Volunteer Coordinator Brittany Rhodes at brittanyrhodes@ramusa.org.

When you initially create an account on RAM’s site, you should receive an automatic on-screen notification that you were successful. This does not mean you are done! To be registered as a volunteer, you still need to go to “Upcoming Clinics,” select Seattle/King County and choose the dates you want to participate. After doing that you should receive an email confirming your acceptance at the clinic within one week. You may also want to check your spam folder and blocked senders list to be sure RAM’s emails aren’t being blocked.

30. I am not a licensed healthcare professional. Can I volunteer?

Yes. Although we don’t need as many non-medical support volunteers as professional healthcare providers, we do need help with patient registration, food service, escorting patients, interpretation, etc. And, don’t forget the set-up and break-down on the days before and after the clinic.

31. I’m studying to be a healthcare professional, but I’m still in school. Can I volunteer?

Yes, advanced, senior-level dental, vision, and nursing students with a licensed faculty supervisor may be able to assist in providing certain levels of care. Students who do not meet these requirements can participate as General Support volunteers. Faculty supervisors must first contact RAM to make arrangements for student groups because students sign up.

32. Can I volunteer with a group of friends or colleagues?

Yes, we have a number of groups or offices that are volunteering on the same day. Each person must register individually, and where you are scheduled to work may differ according to the role you are filling, but there will be opportunities for you to interact with your friends and colleagues.

If you are a healthcare professional who wants to work with your regular team (i,e, you’re a dentist who wants to bring along hygienists and dental assistants from your office) you’ll each need to register individually, and you can make note of your desire to work with your colleagues and we’ll do our best to schedule you as a team.

33. I am licensed in a state other than Washington. Can I still help? 

Yes, Engrossed House Bill 2351 was signed into law on March 28, 2014. This allows out-of-state healthcare practitioners to volunteer for up to 30 days per year at free health clinics or events. Volunteers have to complete a Washington State Department of Health online form no less than 10 working days before the event and also submit a copy to RAM. This information is accessible on the volunteer web page: www.seattlecenter.org/volunteers.

34. Do I need to buy special liability insurance for this event?

Patients will sign a liability waiver that helps to protect all volunteers. The Washington State Good Samaritan Law also indemnifies license healthcare providers, volunteering their services without expectation of compensation in community healthcare settings from civil liability, other than acts or omissions constituting gross negligence or willful misconduct.

This clinic is an approved mission of the Public Health and Medical Reserve Corps and members who volunteer will be covered under that program. Requisite paperwork will be available at volunteer check-in.

Many licensed healthcare professionals from Washington State can also apply for free malpractice coverage, paid for by the Washington State Department of Health, through the Volunteer/Retired Provider Program (the Seattle/King County Clinic is an approved site) at http://www.wwahec.org/index.php/professionals/vrp_program.

It is ultimately up to each individual practitioner to secure malpractice insurance.

35. Do I need to bring my license to the event?

Yes, you will need to bring at least a COPY of your license when you sign-in to volunteer.

36. If I volunteer, can I also attend the clinic as a patient?

No, not on the same day. If you do choose to pursue both on different days, you are encouraged to seek treatment during the first days of the clinic and register to be a volunteer on one of the last days of the clinic.

37. I can’t make it to all four days of the clinic, can I still volunteer?

Yes. We ask that you volunteer for at least one full day–additional days are optional, but keep in mind that we need a lot of volunteers, especially healthcare professionals! Please encourage friends and colleagues to participate too.

38. If I volunteer at the clinic, do I have to provide patient follow-up care?

No. We are seeking Washington State providers who will see patients who require follow-up care (for free or an affordable rate,) but as a volunteer at the clinic you are not obligated to provide follow-up care.

Any Washington State provider who is willing to take clinic referrals, whether or not they volunteer at the clinic, should contact Project Director Julia Colson at SKCClinic@seattle.gov.

39. What is the length of a day/shift for volunteers? 

It will vary according to the role, but in general the day is not broken into shifts because it impacts efficiency and reduces the numbers of patients that can be served. The clinic itself begins admitting patients to register at 5:30 AM (exact check-in times for your role will be specified in orientation materials) and generally lasts until 6 PM. Some volunteers will be needed on load-in and load-out days which may have shorter hours, others will be needed overnight to help with resetting the clinic and line management.

40. Will volunteers also be assigned to HealthFest?

No, volunteers who register through the RAM site will only be assigned to clinic related roles. HealthFest will be staffed through other means.

41. Can my child come/volunteer with me?

For legal reasons, all volunteers must be at least 18 years of age. If your child is at least 18 and wants to come with you, s/he must register as a full-fledged volunteer. Depending on circumstances we may be able to place you in related roles, but we cannot make any guarantees that you will be able to work together.

42. Will I need to bring my own food?

No, all volunteers at the clinic will be fed meals and snacks. If you have special dietary needs, you may choose to bring your own food as we may not be able to meet those needs.

43. Is lodging available?

Yes, we have arranged for group rates for nearby hotels. We are also tracking people who have rooms and are looking for roommates. The most up-to-date information is available at www.seattlecenter.org/volunteers.

44. Will there be security?

Yes, there will be security.

45. What else can I expect as a volunteer?

Volunteers will receive orientation materials via email (also available online) a few weeks prior to the clinic. This will address everything from how to get here, area hotels with group rates, the location for free volunteer parking, when and where to check in, and what to bring, as well as information specific to your volunteer assignment.

Please be sure to read through these materials. We want you to be fully informed about what to expect before arriving at the clinic.

If you register to volunteer and later discover you are unable to participate, please be sure to contact us as soon as possible so we can find someone else to fill your spot. Late cancellations and no shows will impact the number of patients we are able to serve.