Healthcare Van Goes Where It’s Needed Most

County Executive Steve Neuhaus (L) shakes hands with HONOR housing resident Labriska Brown in front of new mobile health van in Middletown on Aug. 17, 2016. (courtesy of office of County Executive)

Cornerstone Family Healthcare deployed a new state-of-the-art medical van to serve the needs of low-income residents in Newburgh and Middletown.

The van made its first stop on Aug. 12 at HONOR, a transitional housing shelter in Middletown. County Executive Steven Neuhaus and Cornerstone officials were on hand to celebrate the launch.

The van stops every week at six locations in Newburgh and Middletown.

Labriska Brown, who received healthcare from the unit with her son in Middletown, said she appreciated the service.  “I’m asking from the bottom of my heart to continue the work that you are doing in helping me, and there are others. Without my health, I have nothing.”

A family nurse practitioner and support staff treats patients in the van’s two exam rooms. Patients are treated for acute and chronic illness, such as diabetes, asthma, and high blood pressure.

The van is equipped for physical exams, immunizations, and lab testing. The staff can also help to enroll patients in health insurance programs.

Interior of Cornerstone Healthcare's new mobile healthcare van which stopped at the transitional housing shelter in Middletown on Aug. 12, 2016. (courtesy of County Executive)
The interior of Cornerstone Healthcare’s new mobile healthcare van, which stopped at the transitional housing shelter in Middletown on Aug. 12, 2016. (Courtesy of County Executive)

Along with the standard services, the mobile unit provides specialty care for individuals in need and periodically offers dental screening. The mobile unit serves city residents who have no transportation to a healthcare center.

Healthcare Access

“Access to healthcare is our number one priority,” said David Jolly, chief operating officer for Cornerstone Family Healthcare. “We have made key investments in innovative solutions to confront these challenges filling significant healthcare gaps.” 

April Gozza, senior director of public relations and government affairs at Cornerstone, said community health centers play a unique role in reaching beyond the walls of conventional medicine. Cornerstone addresses the reasons for sickness, such as lack of nutrition, mental illness, homelessness, and addiction.

Cornerstone has been deploying a mobile health van since April 2015, according to Gozza in an email. She said the older van did not operate during the winter months because it was not winterized. “With this new unit, we’ll be able to provide mobile healthcare year-round,” she said.

Gozza said Cornerstone is the only provider of mobile primary care health in Orange County. The organization is now fundraising for a full-service dental care vehicle.

Cornerstone Family Healthcare is a federally supported health center that provides health care services for the homeless and low-income residents in the area.

Gozza said the health center is not a clinic but part of a federal program with a network of 1,200 community health centers throughout the U.S.

The van was made possible by a $200,000 grant from Affinity Health Plan. Edina Vukic, executive director of primary care and vice president of sales and community engagement for Affinity Health Plan, said, the  van came from “a long-standing relationship and our commitment to Cornerstone.”

The new mobile van will stop at the following Orange County locations: the Emergency Housing Shelter at HONOR in Middletown, and at the Newburgh Ministries, Ecclesia House, Hudson House, YAP, the United Methodist Church, and Hudson Valley Inn in Newburgh.

The new mobile health van went into service on Aug. 12, designated as Healthcare for the Homeless Day during National Health Center Week. 

In 2015, Cornerstone provided services to 24,000 people through 200,000 patient visits, according to its website.

“Removing barriers and meeting patients where they’re at is what sets us apart. If transportation is an issue, there is no reason to try and reinvent transportation; we can deliver the same quality healthcare remotely,” Jolly said.

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