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Mobile health clinic helps city’s needy

Published: Monday, June 16, 2014 1:15 a.m. CST

BLOOMINGTON (AP) – A health clinic on wheels soon will be on the move in Bloomington-Normal to help provide health care in low-income and medically underserved neighborhoods as part of a community wellness effort that officials say could help reduce unnecessary emergency room visits and hospitalizations.

The clinic – a collaboration between the Community Health Care Clinic and Home Sweet Home Ministries – will be housed in a 40-foot-long truck that includes a reception area, two exam rooms and a restroom, the Bloomington Pantagraph reports. Advocate BroMenn Medical Center donated the truck.

“We want to go where our patients are, and we want to reach future patients who haven’t yet found us,” said Angie McLaughlin, executive director of the Community Health Care Clinic, who said she expects the clinic to treat everything from tooth abscesses to asthma to chronic diseases such as diabetes.

The clinic will be offered the first Monday of every month beginning Aug. 4, and will include an administrative staff member, volunteer nurse and a nurse practitioner, McLaughlin said. Patients will be registered into the clinic’s electronic medical record.

Home Sweet Home – which provides case management, shelter, meals and other services for the homeless – will assign a case worker to the clinic.

The truck’s first location will be in the Bloomington-Normal YMCA overflow parking lot, though other locations could be added.

Home Sweet Home CEO Matt Burgess said expanding access to medical care to low-income people in McLean County is critical, because they sometimes miss work – or even lose their jobs – when they’re sick.

“This is all about prevention ... and can be nothing but good for our community,” Burgess said.

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Information from: The Pantagraph, http://www.pantagraph.com

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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