There’s a new health clinic in town — and it’s ready to roll.
Family Health Center (FHC), which already operates six clinics across its five-county service area, recently added a sparkling new 38-foot mobile clinic to its fleet. Equipped with two examination rooms, a waiting area and a retractable awning, the new clinic vastly upgrades FHC’s capacity to offer “pop-up” health clinics and serve patients in remote and underserved areas.
Either alone or in tandem with FHC’s previous one-room mobile unit, the new vehicle means that FHC can set up a fully functional clinic virtually anywhere in our service area where there’s enough room to park.
“Our smaller unit wouldn’t allow us to deliver the quality of care that we emphasize,” said Dr. Rashad Ali, CEO of Family Health Center. “It’s useful, but for instance, it’s not able to really deliver the vaccination program like we really want. It can’t go out on a long mission. So we needed a bigger, more robust unit to deliver the care that we are committed to providing.”
The new mobile clinic, which was purchased with grant funds from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), is customized to FHC specifications and includes refrigerators to store vaccines and other sensitive medicines safely. The examination tables also include stirrups to facilitate OB-GYN patients. And for those with mobility challenges, there’s a hydraulic lift capable of lifting wheelchair users and other patients directly into the rear examination room.
“A lot of thought went into how we can best serve our patients,” said Lee Eric Smith, Director of Marketing and Communications. “For instance, to serve pediatric patients, we could set up at a school, place of worship or community center and offer school physicals and vaccinations. The next day, we could partner with a women’s shelter to offer OB-GYN services. It’s a game changer.”
And that doesn’t factor in health fairs, community events or “after-worship” events that come about via partnership with area nonprofits and places of worship, Smith said. “We’re going to help a LOT of people with this mobile clinic,” he said.
For the uninsured and underinsured clientele that Family Health Center serves, one of the biggest obstacles to quality care is access — simply getting to one of FHC’s five clinics in Laurel, Ellisville, Sandersville, Taylorsville and Waynesboro. FHC has a Social Services Department with social workers who focus helping patients overcome those barriers, including arranging transportation to an FHC clinic.
In fact, FHC was recently recognized by HRSA, receiving honors for improving access to healthcare, for reducing disparities in healthcare and for addressing the social factors (like transportation) that lead to poor health outcomes. And that was before adding the new mobile clinic.
“Now we can expand our services and do a more complete canvassing of our service area,” Ali said. “We can take this unit down to the far corners of Wayne County and deliver some services.”
Are you interested in partnering with Family Health Center to bring a mobile clinic to your company, community organization or place of worship? Visit our new website https://laurelfamilyhealthcenter.com to get started!