Mobile health screenings helping under-served, uninsured - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Mobile health screenings helping under-served, uninsured

No one argues the cost of health care is skyrocketing and just getting an appointment to see a doctor can be frustrating.  (Source: Raycom Media) No one argues the cost of health care is skyrocketing and just getting an appointment to see a doctor can be frustrating.  (Source: Raycom Media)
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

No one argues the cost of health care is skyrocketing and just getting an appointment to see a doctor can be frustrating. 

Now a local hospital is taking the health care to those who need it most, the under-served. Folks who live in the area are being double teamed by two groups of caring health care professionals, offering a multitude of free health screenings.

"Since we've had it we screen about 6,000 people a year," said MMU Program Coordinator and Community Health Initiative Pranteek Patnaik.

That includes cholesterol, heart rate, glucose, blood pressure, height, weight and more.

"Providing over 200 community health screenings. Who we serve is really under-served and uninsured that have access problems to health care," said Patnaik. "So if they can't get to us, we'd like to get to them."

Funded by the Huntsville Hospital Foundation, these folks are offering a clinic on wheels to the residents of the Downtown Rescue Mission and the homeless.

People like Tara Clark consider it a blessing.

"Cause people care and everything and they come down here and help us," said Clark. "We get our blood pressure checked, our cholesterol and if we have any medical issues, we get that taken care of."

Before January 2016, they focused on preventive care. They noticed a gap in coverage for the homeless population and they have added some doctors to bridge that gap.

"The patients that we're seeing here can't necessarily get to the free clinic," said Patnaik. "They end up in our emergency rooms." 

When the bus goes out into the community its also saving dollars.  That's because these would have been visits to a local emergency room.

"We average 30 to 50 patients per clinic, at a value of service at about $150 a head," said Patnaik. "So just in our short span from when we've started, we've been able to save the taxpayers of Madison County over $30,000 by bringing these services here. A full primary care clinic for the homeless where we can draw labs, where we can dispense non-narcotic medications, where we can treat patients, and really avoid them from coming to the emergency room."

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