GREENVILLE, SC (Dec. 15, 2015) Greenville Health System will soon make care more accessible and convenient in communities across Greenville County with a mobile health clinic that is the first of its kind in the Upstate.
Beginning in February, the GHS Neighborhood Health Partners Mobile Health Clinic will make regular visits to the Belmont, Berea, Gantt and Parker communities, as well as neighborhoods in the City of Greenville. These communities have been identified as having the highest ER and EMS utilization rates.
“Our goal is to bring many of the services offered in traditional brick and mortar healthcare facilities directly into the neighborhoods where patients live and work,” said Jennifer Snow, director of GHS Accountable Communities. “We are committed to improving the health of the communities we serve, and the Mobile Health Clinic is an important resource for increasing access to care for patients who lack transportation and for better serving patients who could benefit from being seen closer to home.”
Transportation is a major barrier to care for many patients. Without a reliable way to get to the doctor’s office or the pharmacy, patients may miss appointments, run out of medications and fail to get the healthcare services they need to manage their health. This can lead to more severe health problems, especially for those patients with chronic illnesses.
The Mobile Health Clinic, a 40-foot customized RV, is equipped with three exam rooms. It will be staffed by a nurse practitioner, paramedic, program manager and business office representative. Medical oversight will be provided by GHS emergency medicine and family medicine physicians. All patients are welcome, including those using Medicare, Medicaid and the uninsured. The clinic will provide basic acute and primary care services, including patient education, diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic illnesses.
The $467,000 unit was purchased with supporting grant funds from F. W. Symmes Foundation and Hollingsworth Funds, among others.
GHS has established relationships with agencies serving underserved populations, including Phillis Wheatley Community Center and Triune Mercy Center, to better understand community needs.
“There are so many people who come to Triune with illnesses of the street—spider bites and infections and broken bones,” said Deb Richardson-Moore, pastor and director of Triune Mercy Center. “Then, there are the chronic diseases of our working poor—diabetes and asthma and high blood pressure. We are thrilled that the Mobile Health Clinic will be available to offer primary care to these hurting people.”
The clinic has plans to serve each of its five current medical neighborhoods on a regular schedule so that patients will become familiar with and know when to expect these services in their communities. It will initially see walk-up patients, but may offer appointments after patient needs are identified.
The Mobile Health Clinic is part of the GHS Neighborhood Health Partners (NHP) program that is committed to improving access to health care in underserved communities by making services available where people live. In addition to the Mobile Health Clinic, NHP also includes the care team that consists of social workers, community paramedics and community health workers that care for patients in their homes.