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The Power Of Mobile Health Clinics

The Power Of Mobile Health Clinics
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Traveling medical offices, operating out of RVs and vans, provide cost effective treatment for those in need.

Naresh Kumar
  • 7 july 2010

There are over 2000 mobile health clinics in the US that provide basic medical care at affordable rates, or free of cost to both the needy and to those who can spend on traditional private health care. By using inexpensive, portable screening tools and employing certified employees trained in basic medical services, these traveling doctor’s offices are racking up savings, and helping those in need.

Newsweek reports on one such service:

This particular clinic—the Family Van, a nonprofit affiliated with Harvard Medical School—has been operating for 18 years now, but it is only in the last year that many people have begun to realize what Jackson figured out a long time ago: “mobile health clinics” like the Family Van don’t just provide health care to people who don’t have any. They also help a lot of people who can get traditional health care by other means, and they do so in an astonishingly cost-effective and efficient way. In other words, they solve one of the most pressing problems facing the new health-care-reform law: how to expand access while controlling costs. In Massachusetts the need is particularly acute; spending on health care has increased by 52 percent since the state enacted its own major health reform in 2006.

That number would be even higher if not for the Family Van. For every dollar invested in the van’s operations, an estimated $36—in avoided ER visits, in prevention of diseases, in management of chronic illnesses that can spiral out of control—has been saved. The Family Van spared the health-care system more than $20 million last year, and it did that on a meager budget of half a million dollars.

Newsweek: “A Little Van with a Big Impact”

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