Hospital to use community outreach van

·3 min read

Dec. 1—Starting Monday, Adventist Health/Rideout will roll out a community outreach mobile van that is intended to provide medical care for underserved populations in the Yuba-Sutter area.

The community outreach van will be able to offer basic health care services, triage and screening, checkups, wound care, immunizations, social services, resources and community referrals to underserved populations. Patients will be provided care regardless of insurance or their ability to pay.

"The main purpose of this unit is to support health care efforts to individuals experiencing homelessness," said Ashten Phillips, director of community well-being at Adventist Health/Rideout.

It will also be used to provide care for migrant farm workers and low-income households. The van will be involved with pop-up clinics throughout community events like the Winter Stroll, Summer Stroll, Peach Festival, Sikh Festival and others. The purpose of these mobile units and their intent is to bring needed services directly to those in need while eliminating barriers and creating better access, said Phillips.

The medical van was funded through two grants from the Sutter Yuba Homeless Consortium. The first grant, California Emergency Solutions and Housing, was for $100,000 and was used to purchase the van. The second grant, Emergency Solutions Grants, provided $38,000 that went toward supplies and the design of the van. An additional grant of $44,000 from the Rideout Medical Foundation assisted with additional purchasing costs of the van.

Van features include two workstations and two patient areas including one sitting and one patient treatment table with privacy curtains between. The van also has refrigeration, storage and carries medical equipment found in a standard clinic such as a blood pressure machine, otoscope, doppler and first aid supplies and other medical supplies for wound care.

According to Phillips, all care services will be provided out in the field and meeting people where they are. Some of the Yuba-Sutter community areas the mobile van may reach are shelters, day centers, encampments, farm labor housing, low-income housing regions, community events and places where individuals experience frequent homelessness.

While providing care, the mobile outreach van will always be occupied by a nurse with an option for telemedicine by a physician using telecommunication to deliver patient care. A social worker or a community health worker will also occasionally be there to assist as well.

"Currently, our Street Medicine program sees between 350 and 400 unique individuals annually with about 2,500 follow-up visits," said Phillips. "We do expect this to increase with the addition of the mobile unit since our teams will be more mobile providing additional services and conducting branded strategic outreach."

The medical van will be used by the Street Medicine team, a program within the Community Outreach team in the Adventist Health Well-Being division that reaches out to the community and provides services to those in need. The Street Medicine team started in January 2019 and consists of RN's, telemedicine doctors, social workers and housing navigators.

According to Phillips, the Street Medicine team has served 1,014 individuals experiencing homelessnesss and conducted nearly 5,000 follow-up visits to these individuals by providing wound care, medical management, telemedicine and helping them establish a primary care doctor. The Street Medicine team also assisted individuals with resources like medical insurance, an identification card, social security housing and other community based services. The team hopes to expand to two mobile care units in the future.

"The medical van increases access to care and increases capacity for delivering care to those who are most vulnerable, in need, and who also lack access," said Phillips.

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