ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – With the urgent need for healthcare, UW Health SwedishAmerican launched a mobile health unit Thursday that could soon be in a neighborhood near you.
The mobile health van offers a variety of no-cost services, including non-emergency acute illness treatments and health screenings. You can even learn about bike safety from medical staff on board.
Residents looking for care can use the new services without insurance or a primary care provider.
“It’s one thing for an individual to go to an appointment. It’s something entirely different when the van pulls into your neighborhood and opens the doors and welcomes you in with open arms,” says UW Health of Northern Illinois Nursing and Project Coordinator Sue Thompson.
UW Health and its partners, including the Rockford Fire Department, want to eliminate barriers to good health care – like transportation costs.
“If we can really bring that care to those neighborhoods to those folks, we can really help solve kind of some of the health inequality in our area,” says EMS Coordinator Brian Park.
Coordinators say the word is out on the new unit which will impact several areas of the city. They expect to work with homeless shelters and food pantries in the future.
“I’ve already had some conversations with individuals there and so we’re excited. There are a lot of folks that may be transient in our community depending on whether they come to visit families, someone gets sick and needs health care,” says Thompson.
Brian Park with the Rockford Fire Department also says the convenience of the van could prevent many emergencies.
“A significant portion of what we do is is emergency medical services and a lot of those emergency medical services are actually born in an inability to receive health care in a timely fashion or obtain your healthcare by getting to the doctor,” says Park.
In addition to food pantries and homeless shelters, the mobile unit plans to stop at school events and community centers.
Molina Healthcare also announced $180,000 to support the van and the resources it will provide to Winnebago County and surrounding areas.
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