‘Health Care on the Go’ hits West Virginia’s country roads
PARKERSBURG, W.Va. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia is launching a doctor’s office on wheels to help Medicare Advantage, Medicaid and Affordable Care Act (ACA) members in West Virginia who aren’t getting necessary medical care or preventive health screenings because they may have difficulties in getting to the doctor. Beginning this month, Highmark West Virginia’s Health Care on the Go mobile clinic will visit communities throughout West Virginia where members face such challenges and bring the doctor to them.
“Sometimes it’s the little things that trip us up. Not having a primary care provider, not being able to get to the doctor’s office, or simply not being able to take time off of work during normal office hours,” said Fred Earley, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia president . “The unfortunate reality is that, for one reason or another, not all of our members are getting the care they need. Our hope is that Health Care on the Go can be a solution for our West Virginia members who have trouble making and keeping a doctor’s appointment.”
According to Earley, getting Medicare Advantage, Medicaid and ACA members to the doctor is just the first step. “We are purposefully staffing our Health Care on the Go mobile clinic with local network physicians and nurses. Ideally, the initial mobile clinic visit will be the start of an on-going relationship.
By making it convenient for our members to build connections with health care resources right in their community, we can change lives.”
The mobile doctor’s office contains two exam rooms separated by walls instead of curtains for patient privacy. It has a fully functioning bathroom which can accommodate a wheelchair and is fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It has the appropriate refrigeration needed to store medicines and lab specimens. A wall of glass windows lends a bright, airy and inviting feel.
Like any doctor’s office, care will be by appointment. Highmark West Virginia will reach out to members directly to schedule appointments based on the health services they need. Medical staffing in the mobile clinic will depend on that day’s range of appointments. In addition to Highmark West Virginia local community/network physicians, members can expect to see licensed nurses and physician assistants. Medical services provided will include annual wellness visits and immunizations, osteoporosis testing for women who have recently had fractures, retinal eye exams for diabetics, colorectal cancer screenings, postpartum care, medication reviews, smoking and tobacco use cessation counseling, as well as blood draws and urine samples needed to test for chronic medical conditions.
The mobile clinic will initially focus its efforts on West Virginia Family Health Medicaid managed care members at back to school health screening/backpack events near flood-stricken areas across the state later this month.
About Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia
Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia serves approximately 290,000 members through the company’s health care benefits business and hundreds of thousands of additional members through the Blue Card program. With offices in in Parkersburg, Charleston and Wheeling, it employs more than 750 people. Highmark West Virginia is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information, visit www.highmark.com.