Peach Tree Health unveils new mobile medical unit

Sep. 19—Peach Tree Health invited community members to the Yuba County One Stop on Tuesday to unveil its new mobile medical unit.

Chief Operations Officer Eric Hernandez said that Peach Tree identified the need for a mobile unit in mid-2022 in order to bring COVID-19 tests and vaccinations to areas without immediate access to a clinic.

"We saw that some people couldn't come to us, so we decided to go to them," Hernandez said.

Director of Care Coordination and Community Health Amira Lindbloom said that Peach Tree is currently working to establish regular parking areas in places where people don't have access to care, including unhoused people and seasonal migrant workers. With the introduction of this medical van, Peach Tree officials hope to further expand their area of care to areas beyond brick-and-mortar clinics, including schools and the foothills.

Clinical Services Manager Brenda Jorgensen said that Peach Tree is currently collaborating with Head Start and the Yuba County Office of Education to possibly bring the medical unit to Yuba County schools. Peach Tree is also working with Sacramento County libraries to station the van on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting in December.

The medical van was acquired through grant funding, costing around $230,000, Jorgensen said.

"We are looking to make very strategic commitments for our community, and this itself is a signal to our unwavering commitment to our communities," Hernandez said. "We believe in taking the care to our patients where they need it, how they need it. This is going to give us the ability to take it out to their footsteps."

The mobile medical unit van features two exam rooms equipped with telehealth screening options. Patients will be able to receive full physical exams, vaccinations and behavioral health exams through the unit. A medical assistant and licensed vocational nurse will staff the van at all times, but telehealth was added as an option in the event that a healthcare provider cannot be physically present at the mobile unit.

"There is a provider shortage out there, so part of the strategy is how can we take care to the individuals knowing that we don't have a provider physically on the site? And that's through our telehealth services," Hernandez said.

With the addition of Peach Tree Health's medical van, the Yuba County Department of Health and Human Services is considering a possible rotation service involving the Ampla Health and Harmony Health mobile units, Yuba County Superintendent of Schools Rob Gregor said.

Peach Tree's mobile unit will also serve as a hub for community resources to connect patients to programs like Medicare and CalFresh, Hernandez said.

"We have a lot of different health assessments going on for the different counties. Mobile health is an initiative that we want to make sure to look at. Peach Tree is committed to that and committed to our communities," Hernandez said.