End of the medical clinic in remote areas | News

SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP — A two-day free medical clinic ended Sunday afternoon as the remote area medical team closed up shop at Lakeside High School.

“I’m a little sad to see it unfold and close because you put so much emotion into the planning,” said Jo Anne Surbella, who led the community host committee that helped organize the event.

Over 500 people were served with their medical, eye and dental needs. Organizations in the region also provided information on the various services available.

Surbella said it has been particularly difficult the past two years as planning for events in 2020 and 2021 had to be scuttled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“There weren’t that many people [as 2019]but we were still able to provide care to over 500 people,” she said.

David Maurer, RAM coordinator, said the event was a success even though the numbers weren’t as high as previous clinics.

“It was very successful, we are happy to help the community,” he said.

Maurer said clinic attendance across the United States has dropped about 35-40% since the pandemic. He said the number of people in a building has been reduced and the selection process takes time.

Local officials and RAM representatives say the event will return.

“We will have a wrap-up meeting with the community welcome group,” Maurer said.

He said once a decision is made by the local committee, planning for next year will begin.

Ashtabula County Commissioner JP Ducro said the clinic was fantastic and rewarding.

“Everyone we help is someone who could use the help,” he said.

Ducro said he hopes the clinic will continue to be an annual fixture in Ashtabula County.

“We hope that more and more people will take advantage of the clinic,” he said.

“We are grateful to the Ashtabula City Schools for their partnership and for allowing us to use this wonderful facility,” said Ducro.

Many community organizations were also able to share information on how clinic patients could be helped through various community service groups.

“A lot of people came,” said Peggy Senskey, Community Liaison Officer for Signature Health. She said many people don’t realize the breadth of services available.