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Harvard mobile clinic – Clinic on Wheels Reaching Out and Saving Healthcare Dollars

Posted Jun 03 2009 10:19am

If you have never seen one of these in operation, it’s fascinating to see what can be done and how the vans and/or buses work.  A few years ago I had the opportunity to see one in the Los Angeles area from the Dream Center.   They are clean, up to date and really do a good job on serving those who normally would not be taking time to visit a doctor.  Some of the technology used is actually even more current than what you may find in a regular doctor’s office too.

The one I viewed had records, charts, etc. and made visits to the Los Angeles skid row area and other low income districts in Los Angeles and it also dispensed medications.  In this case the van is saving money and visits to the ER room as the study indicates.  At a little over $100 compared to over $1000 visit to the ER Room for non emergency care, it is paying it’s way.  Researchers and economists are looking at the bus and questioning the value, which seems odd to me, but when you can deliver healthcare to those who need it with mobility, at a fraction of the cost of a hospital ER visit, it seems to make sense to me.  BD

ROXBURY - Chris Coleman is upfront about his mission. The newly unemployed salesman engaged in some risky sexual behavior and, though he doesn't have health insurance or a family physician, figured he should get "an AIDS test, just to be sure."

The Family Van, Harvard Medical School's curbside clinic that has offered free tests and counseling in Boston's low-income neighborhoods for 17 years, saved the healthcare system roughly $20 million last year by getting hard-to-reach patients to stick with treatments and avoid costly care in hospital emergency rooms, according to a study published this week in BMC Medicine, an online peer-reviewed journal.

It costs about $566,000 to run The Family Van, which recorded about 5,000 patient visits last year. The researchers figure that about 80 percent of the visits would have ended up in a hospital emergency room if the van wasn't around, because most patients say they don't have a regular physician and instead head to the ER.

 

Harvard mobile clinic may save healthcare system millions - The Boston Globe

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