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The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Army Reserve IRT Team providing free health care

  • A United States Army Reserve Innovative Readiness Team is combining efforts with the Egyptian Health Department to provide free health services to the citizens of our area.
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  • A United States Army Reserve Innovative Readiness Team is combining efforts with the Egyptian Health Department to provide free health services to the citizens of our area.
    Staff Sergeant Rene Henriques explained that this outreach was a new program for the Army Reserve, recently authorized by the Department of Defense.
    The IRT pairs up with local health department workers to offer free health screening, write prescriptions, offer on-site dental and vision services including dental work, eye exams and glasses for the community.
    “All our troops are trained to the level of civilian paramedics or better, so we can provide state of the art health screening and care in the medical areas we deal with on this mission,” Henriques said.
    Henriques said this was the first time that the Army Reserve had implemented this program and Harrisburg was one of the first locations chosen for the services. With a team of 30 Army medical personal on site Monday through Saturday and optometrists on hand three days each week, the IRT could deliver basic health screening, optical, prescription and dental services. The team does not do blood work, inoculations or dispense medicine, but with the assistance of workers from area Egyptian Health offices they were here to serve their fellow citizens with free basic health services.
    “We are so glad to do this for our country,” Henriques said. “This type of program is something we do for other countries routinely, and now the Army and the D.O.D. are starting to do this for communities in our country.”
    Henriques further stated that the close cooperation between the Army team and civilian health workers was a crucial element of the success of the program.
    Amy Harrison, an Egyptian Health Department worker from the office in Carmi stated that she and her fellow health care workers were overjoyed to have this opportunity and to work with the IRT members.
    “We are on hand to help in any way we can and to also provide public health resource information to the patients,” Harrison said.
    Jamie Byrd of the Egyptian Health Department office in Eldorado echoed Harrison’s sentiments.
    “This is an excellent way for the army team to get training and to provide a vitally needed service to the community at the same time,” he said.
    Patients enter through the front doors of the Harrisburg Middle School on U.S. Highway 45 South, sign in and begin with a health screening in the gym. From there the patients can go to whatever service they desire or that they are indicated to need from their initial screening. The patients can get service from the pharmacy station, where needed prescriptions are written to be filled at local pharmacies, visit the full service dental, vision or physician stations as they desire.
    Page 2 of 2 - Dental work is preformed on-site and eye exams and glasses are also provided while the patient is in the facility. All of these services are provided free of charge. At the last station, as the patients leave the school, health department workers are ready to assist patients with more literature and information on health care services as well as helping patients sign up for medical cards if so desired.
    The military personal on scene are unfailingly polite, friendly, helpful and professional to the patients and the health department workers ready to provide information and assistance in any needed.
    The IRT and the Egyptian Health Department workers will be providing free services from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday at the Harrisburg Middle School until June 27. All patients will be seen with or without an appointment.
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