One unit is geared toward general medical care and the other is equipped for dental care. Both contain state-of-the-art equipment, two examination rooms, and wheelchair lifts. The units have traveled to schools to
offer immunizations, routine and sports physicals and dental check-ups to outlying communities for appointment or walk-up service on a rotating schedule.
“There’s next to nothing we can do in our office that we can’t do in the mobile units,” says Dr. Michael Henry, RAHC medical director. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a vaccine, addressing a chronic condition, or a telehealth appointment with a mental health professional—it’s all possible.”
Word is spreading about the units thanks to partnerships with community organizations, radio ads, and word of mouth. For some, merely spotting the vehicles parked at the Natural Bridge Fire House, at the old library in Goshen, or at the Rockbridge Baths Volunteer Fire Department sparks interest and draws in new patients.
“For those who don’t have reliable transportation or who can’t afford round-trip journeys from home to the health center, the mobile units are a lifesaver,” Dr. Henry says.
“We’ve got people from Alleghany County who can make it to Goshen but would find it hard to get all the way into Lexington,” he says. “We actually have one patient with a chronic condition who uses his lawnmower to drive the 15 minutes to come see us.”
Dr. Stuart Fargiano, director of RAHC dental services, cites the vast expansion in service to schools as a major plus of the mobile unit. The vans are able to pull into a school parking lot and serve dozens of students a day.
Getting young people on track to routine health care has immense positive effects down the road, studies show.
“Being out in the community, we can create a ‘dental home’ for people, whether they need cleanings, extractions, root canals, dentures, or x-rays,” Dr. Fargiano says. “We’re finding that especially people who need
multiple visits are more likely to keep their appointments at the mobile unit.” With constant monitoring of the health needs of the region, RAHC is committed to expanding its service area to ensure quality care for all.
So keep an eye out. From Goshen to Glasgow and Natural Bridge, Rockbridge Baths to Effinger, and points in between, friendly, affordable, accessible healthcare is coming to a spot near you. Mobile dates and locations can be found online or by calling RAHC.