Free health care services being offered through Aug. 14

Published 12:23 am Tuesday, August 2, 2016

NATCHEZ — If you’ve been avoiding seeing the doctor, dentist or even the eye doctor because your pocketbook is empty, help has arrived.

Beginning today, military personnel will be on the Natchez campuses of Copiah-Lincoln Community College and Alcorn State University offering free health care services to anyone who shows up.

The services are being offered at the Tricentennial Wellness Innovative Readiness Training medical clinic that will be open from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. through Aug. 14.

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The clinic is a part of the U.S. Department of Defense’s Innovative Readiness Training Program, a military volunteer training opportunity that allows military personnel to train and gain “real-world training” while offering services to underserved and underinsured people, Delta Regional Authority’s IRT Program Manager and Military Liaison Brittney Lindberg said.

No registration, identification, insurance or proof of income is required. Services will be given on a first-come, first-served basis and are not limited to Adams County residents.

“This is a place people can go — with absolutely no questions asked — and receive quality health care,” Lindberg said. “The president of the United States could walk in here, and we would treat him like anybody else.”

Services including basic medical and wellness exams, optical exams, single-vision eyeglasses as well as dental exams, extractions, cleanings and fillings will be offered at no cost. Fillings will be given on a limited basis.

Children ages 2 and older are also eligible for the health care services.

The DRA submitted an application in 2014 to the DOD for a training clinic to come to Natchez.

Lindberg said the DRA chose Natchez as a location because the city and the surrounding communities are located in a rural area with limited access to health care, with most of the community living at or below the poverty line.

“Those are the stipulations to receive this kind of aid,” she said.

Logistically, Natchez is a great hub for an IRT clinic to serve the city and neighboring areas because the city has the facilities to host the clinic and house the military personnel, Lindberg said.

Additionally, military personnel, most of which are reserve or guard service members, can help fulfill their annual training requirement through the IRT clinic.

“And they are able to get some valuable, real-world training they can take back with them,” Lindberg said.

The clinic’s community liaison, Robert Pernell, said Natchez is fortunate to have the clinic available to the area, and urges residents to participate.

“This is just a great thing for the community, and we are asking residents to come out and take advantage of these free services,” Pernell said.