So, the Gathering is coming to your neighborhood. What does this mean for your hospital, clinics, health departments, etc?
Report about CALM & Public Health experiences
When 20,000 people suddenly show up to your local National Forest, this might double or even triple the population of your area. This can be very sudden and frustrating for local Health Departments, hospitals and medical centers. Please know, CALM is dedicated to proving quality and holistic health and healing services for the people who attend a Gathering, preventing many needless trips to local ERs. CALM volunteers desire to establish strong bonds and communications with local health services in order to help make the coming of a Gathering as smooth and painless as possible, with as minimal burden on local health services as possible.
As hard as CALM tries, there are always visits to the local ERs either referred by CALM (in order to attain more comprehensive care) or, as in a majority of cases, those who simply bypass CALM. The latter is often done by those who do not know about CALM (often their first Gathering).
During the early "Seed Camp" period of a Gathering, there is often no well staffed CALM available so more Rainbows will end up in local ERs and clinics. Many the Rainbows are uninsured or carry state run plans perhaps not accepted by your facility.
What to expect from CALM when a Gathering comes to town?
CALM volunteers span the range of training and experience in health care. Some are physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, midwives, CNAs, EMTs, naturopaths, homeopaths, herbalists, chiropractors, massage therapists, social workers, counselors, therpists, etc. Many simply have a strong desire to help and a willingness to learn and help out. CALM is an organic group of healers who come together to provide for healing and healthcare.
Forming the CALM-Health Dept-Hospital relationship
To help lift the burden created by such a sudden and mass influx of people in your community, CALM volunteers will contact and meet with local health services as early into the Gathering as possible. During this meeting CALM crew will present what CALM is and capable of and ask the same of the local services. By this communitation CALM hopes to form a response to those Gatherers who ask about being referred to local services. At this time, as well, CALM may ask about some donations which could be made. Common requests are: biohazard and sharps boxes/bags, bandages, splints, antibiotic ointment, hydrogen peroxide, etc. Through these sorts of donations, CALM will be better equipped to handle the health needs for the Family, and lower the burden on local services.
Letter from Dr Debra Clyde, chief physician of Modoc Medical Center (Alturas, CA) where the 2004 Gathering was held.
Now, about the CALM unit. I would characterize it as a life saver for our local medical community. I thought the medical demands of your group would overwhelm us. It was not easy to deal with the added work, but it was not overwhelming. I found the group that came to discuss the CALM unit with us early on to be reasonable, rational, intellegent, and reassuring. The assurances you provided turned out to be well founded. It was a pleasure to collaborate with you. My suggestions for the local hospital and health department would be to let you do everything you are able and willing to do for your group. I doubt that all of the doctors who were there were licensed in California. I doubt that the other professionals were credentialled by their respective state agencies, but then, it is entirely not my problem to worry about that. I think if we would have started fussing about the internal workings of your medical system for you group, we would have been way more frustrated. I think it would have also made it more difficult to work together as well as we did.
Debra Clyde, MD
Modoc Medical Center