The Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System received a Medical Mobile Unit July 9 at the Biloxi VA Medical Center during an event livestreamed on Facebook.
Director Bryan C. Matthews accepted the 30-foot vehicle. He says the unit provides added benefit to Veterans served by the three-state health care organization. It represents another method of outreach and providing primary care.
“This is a great day for our health care system,” Matthews said. “And a great day for the Veterans that we serve and those in our system in rural areas. These units have been in use by VA for more than 20 years. They deliver primary care and other services to Veterans who have limited access to VA health care services. Those limits are due to low population density, remoteness, or limited local demand for specialized services. That we are essentially adding a primary care outlet capable of traveling anywhere will significantly enhance our capability of doing what we do, providing the best possible health care to our nation’s heroes.”
The Medical Mobile Unit, a 30-foot vehicle designed to deliver primary care and other services to Veterans who have limited access to VA health care services.
Although delivered to the Biloxi VA Medical Center, the unit will also be used at Community Based Outpatient Clinics in Alabama and Florida.
Significantly expands delivery of health care
The 30-foot vehicle is outfitted with a wheelchair lift, storage space for primary care medical equipment, a generator, sink, laboratory area and refrigerator. It is designed for non-emergent medical procedures.
Associate Director of Patient Care Services Dr. M. Christopher Saslo noted this will significantly expand capabilities in other areas of health care.
“We have administered more than 46,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccinations,” Saslo said. “Our goal with the use of the Mobile Medical Unit is to provide these and other vaccination opportunities to our Veterans in underserved areas.
“We also hope to use this to offer an opportunity to enroll Veterans who are not already enrolled. We want to provide resources about our services and provide training on VA Video Connect and other telehealth modalities. And to perform many other outreach opportunities.”
Can provide services during emergencies
The unit is also designed to operate in contingent situations, according to Emergency Manager Bill Wince.
“The unit can also provide service continuity during emergencies when permanent sites of care are disabled or insufficient to meet the demand for healthcare services,” Wince said. “Units similar to this one were used as part of VA’s recovery efforts during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in 2017 in Texas and Louisiana.”
The Biloxi VA Medical Center and the Mobile, Pensacola, Eglin and Panama City VA clinics are part of the Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System. That system is headquartered in Biloxi, Mississippi. It provides a variety of medical outpatient services to more than 77,000 Veterans.