MCHD launches healthcare on wheels

MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – While many of you are battling the flu and other illnesses, the Mobile County Health Department (MCHD) is trying to make it as easy as possible for you to get flu shots and other services. In fact, it brings its clinics on wheels out into the community.

MCHD launched new mobile medical units in October. They say their goal is to reach more patients.

The units have everything you would see in your average doctor’s office.

“With our Mobile Medical Units we can offer all the services of our nine sites located throughout the county. In all the clinics you can expect the same service at our Mobile Medical Unit. We have a fully functioning laboratory – think of everything from well-child visits, sick visits, cancer screenings — we can do everything there on the mobile unit,” said Charity Gardner, health services administrator for MCHD.

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Two smaller mobile units and one large bus reach people throughout the county – funded by federal grants.

Adrienne Irvin is a healthcare worker who runs a unit every day.

“It’s quiet. It’s comfortable. It’s relaxing,” Irvin said. “I think it’s safer for patients knowing they’re going to be in and out versus waiting in line at a busy clinic.”

Gardner says the ease of access is changing lives.

“This helps when we’re dealing with people experiencing homelessness, patients who have transportation issues, reaching schools, going to community centers like we did this summer,” Gardner said.

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Unlike the big bus, the smaller units in Semmes and Mobile are stationary. Nevertheless, they are ready to be moved at a moment’s notice.

MCHD says the larger bus is equipped with a full exam room and state-of-the-art technology.

“We can do vaccinations, blood sugar and your analysis — the same thing you would do in a clinic,” Gardner added.

Irvin says even though COVID remains a threat, they are also feeling the effects of the intense flu season.

“There’s been a lot of patients that come in and it turns out to be negative — and it turns out to be the flu or RSV,” Irvin explained.

Regardless of the disease, Gardner says they are ready to change the future of health care in the Port City.

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“The team we’ve put together really has a heart for the Mobile County community and we’re really excited to get this unit out and fully capable — that’s what we’re all about. That’s why we’re here, that’s what we’re working for the family’s health,” Gardner said.

Gardner says MCHD would like to partner with organizations for their community outreach events. You can do this by calling 251-690-8823.

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