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Hospitals Take Health Care to the Streets
04/27/2004
FORT WORTH – Harris Methodist Hospitals are hitting the streets with a new mobile health unit – the latest addition to the hospital system’s fleet aimed at improving the health of the community by mobilizing its services and providing technology to go.

The new unit – a virtual health clinic on wheels – will make its debut during a sneak peek ceremony on Tuesday, April 27, at 5 p.m., at Harris Methodist Fort Worth Hospital’s Klabzuba Cancer Center.

"We are so excited to add this unit to our fleet and increase the number of people we will have the opportunity to serve," said Rosemary Galdiano, coordinator of Harris Methodist Fort Worth
 

 Click here to enlarge picture.

Hospital’s Wellness for Life Program, the community health program encompassing mobile health services. "The $576,000 unit is 100 percent donor supported, which tells us the community fully supports our initiative to improve access to health care."

Designed to provide basic health screening services to businesses, underserved communities and at community health events, the unit will help increase access to mammography, cervical cancer, colon cancer, bone density, prostate and skin cancer screenings.

Taking into consideration the comfort and security of patients and staff, the 40-foot vehicle features a screening suite, two dressing rooms, and a galley area with refrigerator, sink and coffee maker. Technicians utilize advanced mammography equipment for the detection of breast cancer and offer patients a MammoPad for added comfort. MammoPad is a foam cushion designed to relieve the discomfort some women experience during a mammogram.

While waiting for an exam, visitors can relax in the reception area with a flat screen TV, a video/sound system and earphones for each individual’s personal enjoyment.

"The interior is designed to be inviting and friendly rather than sterile and clinical," Galdiano said. "The colors inside feature calm, soothing earth tones."

For the safety of the staff and patients, the van is equipped with a security system that monitors anyone approaching the vehicle. The staff pushes a buzzer to admit patients onto the van.

In 2003, the Wellness for Life Program expanded the number of screenings offered on the mobile health units to include cervical cancer, colon cancer, skin cancer and bone density. Previously, only mammography and prostate cancer screenings were performed on the units.

The Wellness for Life Program’s mobile health units make regular monthly stops around Tarrant County providing a number of services in underserved areas. A number of local businesses clear their parking lots to make room for a van visit and provide their employees with routine health screenings. The unit also is available to visit clinics, senior centers, churches and health fairs.

Screening results are sent to the patient and his/her primary care physician within five to seven days following the test. If a patient does not have a primary care physician, Harris Methodist Hospitals assists them in finding one.

Visitors to the mobile unit pay a nominal fee for screenings and many of the tests are covered by insurance. For those without insurance who cannot afford to pay for a screening, assistance is provided through money raised by the Harris Methodist Health Foundation and its philanthropic sources, such as the Doris Kupferle Health Board and the Bernard C. Alger fund.

The new unit was made possible through generous donations from the Harris Methodist Fort Worth Hospital Volunteer Auxiliary, the Klabzuba Family Foundation, and the Helen Irwin Littauer Educational Trust, Bank of America Trustee.

"The unit is hard to miss with its colorful exterior graphics depicting the diverse communities it serves," Galdiano said. "Be sure and wave if you pass us on the streets. We may be headed to your neighborhood, business or church!"

For more information about the Wellness for Life Program or to schedule a visit by one of the mobile health units, call (817) 820-4970.

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Contact:
Ashley Wesson
(817) 882-2152
(817) 930-2515 – pager
ashleywesson@texashealth.org

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