ANNAPOLIS Mobile Medical Care Inc. of Bethesda is one step closer to getting a new mobile medical care vehicle that would improve and expand primary medical care services to homeless, uninsured and other patients in Montgomery County.
This week, the organization received a $50,000 matching grant from the Maryland Health Care Foundation, which distributed a total of $607,000 to nine state organizations.
Lynne M. McCombs, Mobile Medical Care executive director, said a new mobile unit is necessary because the current van isn’t comfortable for patients or staff, nor is it equipped for comprehensive medical care.
“As it is now, the exam table is slammed up against the side of the Econoline van and you can’t get around the patient easily. There’s no privacy and you can’t do true comprehensive exams,” McCombs said.
It will cost $106,000 to purchase a new Winnebago-sized mobile unit, McCombs said. The organization is in the process of raising more funds in order to get the new unit running by spring.
Patients will benefit from the larger exam area, laboratory area, and the on-board refrigerator for lab and blood sample storage, McCombs said. Services such as electrocardiograms and pap smears also will be added.
Mobile Medical Care began its van services 10 years ago. It provides free primary care to individuals in Montgomery County who are homeless, do not have health insurance or are underinsured. The van travels once a week to homeless shelters and soup kitchens in Montgomery County, including Silver Spring, Gaithersburg and Bethesda, McCombs said.
Having the new unit will allow the organization to expand its reach to northern Montgomery County, which is underserved, McCombs said. Another 600 to 1,000 people will be reached if the northern part of the county is targeted.
There also are plans for the mobile unit to serve individuals who need eligibility screenings for programs, such as the state’s HealthChoice program, a children’s health program, or a federal health program for uninsured persons, McCombs said.
Project Access of the Primary Care Coalition of Montgomery County also received grant money from the Health Foundation. The network of private medical care providers, which offers low-cost medical care to low income and uninsured Montgomery County residents, received $71,000. The money will go toward hiring an additional case manager, updating computers and purchasing laptop computers to do on- site enrollment at clinics the organization serves.
The Maryland Health Care Foundation was created by the state’s General Assembly in 1997 to work with private insurers, service providers and communities to raise and grant funds to expand access of health care services to uninsured, underinsured and medically underserved Maryland residents. An estimated 715,000 Marylanders are uninsured, according to figures from the foundation.