April is National Volunteer Month and a time to celebrate the remarkable ways Concordia staff and resident volunteers lend a helping hand to communities and people inside and outside of Concordia’s walls every day.
In November 2023, Remote Area Medical© (RAM) and Concordia Lutheran Ministries will bring a completely free medical, dental and vision walk-in clinic to Butler, Pa. This endeavor is being spearheaded by one particularly motivated, mission-driven, community-focused employee and her team of Concordia colleagues, residents and a host of community partners and friends – all who have committed to volunteering their time and expertise.
Lynn McKinnis, DPT, was the first physical therapist hired by Concordia and has served Concordia Visiting Nurses’ home health patients for 26 years. One repeated observation in working with community patients during her tenure is that many individuals are underinsured or carry medical coverage but not dental and vision insurance. For her, finding a way to fill the gap of what people can afford and what they need is critical.
“The gaps in accessible healthcare are the same wherever you go in the U.S. Most people have insurance, many cannot afford to use it,” Lynn said. “They simply do not have the extra money to meet their insurance deductibles or co-pays.”
With the community need identified, Lynn received firsthand experience from volunteering at RAM clinics across the country and garnered the support of Concordia. She established a RAM community host group who have worked to bring the vision of a free health clinic to fruition over the course of a few short months.
Related: How Concordia’s Volunteers Support Our Mission
Founded in 1985, RAM is a non-profit provider of pop-up medical clinics delivering free dental, vision and medical care to underserved and uninsured individuals. RAM originally served the needs of individuals living in developing countries and later turned its focus to bringing free, quality healthcare to communities across the U.S.
The RAM Butler clinic will be held on November 11 and 12, 2023 at the Butler Intermediate High School (551 Fairground Hill Rd., Butler, Pa., 16001). The free clinic will provide uninsured and underinsured community members access to quality medical, vision and dental care on a first come, first served basis. No ID is required by the patient nor are they asked to provide their income level, insurance status or social security number at any point – a point Lynn really wants to stress.
“All services are provided at absolutely no cost to the patient with no pre-registration or proof of identification needed,” she said. “For those who would need follow-up care, we will need a good contact number. Follow-up care will be provided by our friends at the Jean B. Purvis Community Health Center in downtown Butler.”
Provided medical care will include physicals, women’s health services and general medicine. Dental care will include cleanings, filling, x-rays and extractions. Patients will also have access to a variety of vision services with free same-day glasses made on-site for adults and free children’s glasses made and mailed to families within four weeks.
Specific medical services will be communicated as the event draws nearer. The community host group is aiming to recruit 25-30 physicians, dentists, optometrists and nurses, along with hygienists, dental assistants, opticians, refract technicians and 100-150 general support volunteers to support each of the two days of the clinic. RAM supplies all equipment, instruments and supplies needed for all healthcare services offered.
Volunteer recruitment for healthcare professionals began in January of this year when a group of resident volunteers from Concordia at Cabot’s retirement living community mailed volunteer-invitations to over 1,500 medical, dental and vision professionals living and practicing in western Pa. Follow-up emails to all professionals contacted in January are being sent by student volunteers from Slippery Rock University.
One retirement living resident volunteer, Gale Limansky, who moved into the Haven Apartments on the Concordia at Cabot campus four years ago with her husband Nick, is delighted to be a part of the large community effort.
“Concordia and the community have been so wonderful to us,” Gale said. “We volunteer to give back. It’s really a blessing to do so.”
Interested volunteers can visit ramusa.org and select “Volunteer” at the top of the page to complete the registration form. Under the “Events & Assignments” header, select “USA: Pennsylvania” and “Butler, PA 2023: Butler, Pennsylvania” as the event.
For more information about Concordia’s mission and volunteer opportunities at one of our senior care communities in Western Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio or Tampa, Florida, visit our Locations Overview page or call our administrative headquarters at 724-352-1571.
Founded in 1881, Concordia Lutheran Ministries is a faith-based, CARF-CCAC-accredited Aging Services Network and recipient of the inaugural Pennsylvania Department of Aging Excellence in Quality Care Award. As one of the largest nonprofit senior care providers in the country, the organization serves 50,000 people annually through in-home care and inpatient locations in western PA, eastern OH and Tampa, FL.
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