Walking Shield Provides Free Medical Care In Cass Lake Area
Over the past week, the US Army Reserves has provided hundreds of free medical procedures to the public, thanks to a program called the Walking Shield.
If you’re in need of a check-up but don’t have the cash, you may want to add a trip to the Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig school in Cass Lake to your calendar this week. The reserves teamed up with the Leech Lake Band Of Ojibwe and Cass Lake Indian Health Services to provide free medical care to the public.
“Walking Shield has two major objectives. One is to provide sorely needed clinical services to a worthy community, but it’s also an opportunity for our US Army Reserves soldiers to train ourselves to be able to mobilize,” says Major Omar Nava, the officer over Operation Walking Shield.
The clinic is first come, first serve. First, you sign and then you get your vitals checked. Then, you’re off to whichever area you need to be in for services.
“It was very fast! We came in. We were the first ones here, so we filled out all the paperwork. Very friendly at the front desk, gave the kids some snacks and very friendly staff and very good with the kids and they gave them their fun balloons,” says Leah Wilson, who brought her two sons to the clinic.
There are exactly 40 medical professionals who are working in the clinic. They range from doctors and nurses to dentists and combat medics. So far, they’ve provided over 1,000 different services.
“Those dental services include tooth extractions and dental fillings and general exams. That includes the use of dental x-ray. We provide optometry services where they’re able to do general screening evaluations, but also do a little more comprehensive exams to screen out for the chronic illnesses that may affect their vision like diabetes; they may also be evaluating people for cataracts syndrome and we’re also able to write prescriptions for prescription lenses,” says Nava.
Whether you have a toothache, your vision is a little blurry, or you just need someone to talk to, the Walking Shield is here for you, and the best part is you don’t even need an appointment. At the end of your visit, everything is wrapped together for you.
“Finally, we have case management that takes a look at all the clinical services that the patient has received and they provide patient education on what they received, they provide patient information on what the different clinical disciplines have recommended they should have,” says Nava.
If you need follow-up care, people who are already patients the Cass Lake Indian Health Services can continue appointment there. Otherwise, the clinic will work to connect you with other facilities close to where you live. At the end of the day, one of the most important things is getting the patient the care they need.
“I’m sure that I speak on behalf of everybody here. We are honored that they would give us the opportunity to be able to impact their health and try to improve it,” says Nava.
The free clinic will continue until this Thursday at 4:30 in the afternoon. It opens everyday at 9 in the morning.