(Austin) – A new health clinic will soon roll into town, delivering health care services to eastern parts of Travis County which have historically been underserved.
Central Health announced it has purchased a forty-foot bus featuring two built-in exam rooms, a lab, and a waiting area that can seat up to four people. Central Health is Travis County’s property-tax funded health care district providing health care to people with low income – about one out of every 7 residents in the county. The mobile health clinic is part of Central Health’s strategy to bring more health care services to Eastern Travis County.
“When it comes to connecting people to care as quickly as possible, every option is on the table,” said Central Health Enterprise Chief Administrative Officer Larry Wallace, who is spearheading the health care district’s efforts to expand health services in eastern parts of the county. “Our community is changing, and our Board of Managers understands that the way we deliver care must evolve as well. Mobile clinics aren’t new – but they’re a proven strategy to deliver health care to people who live or work too far from a traditional medical clinic.”
Central Health’s fiscal year 2019 budget allocates $3.5 million for health care services in Eastern Travis County priority areas of Austin’s Colony/Greater Hornsby Bend, Colony Park, and the Del Valle area, including Creedmoor and Kellam Road.
Health on Wheels
Central Health purchased the vehicle previously used by CHRISTUS Health System in Houston for $280,000. The 2016 PHC Lone Star Diesel Motor Coach meets the Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility requirements, and is expected to arrive in Austin within the next two weeks. The goal is to launch services in local communities this summer.
“Transportation to and from appointments is a major barrier for many of the people we serve,” said Dr. Jaeson Fournier, CommUnityCare CEO. “A mobile health clinic will immediately increase access to CommUnityCare’s high-quality medical services, especially for people living in more remote areas of the county, by allowing us to bring needed services directly to these communities.”
Inside the mobile clinic, Central Health-funded CommUnityCare will offer primary care, preventive care, vaccines, lab services, chronic disease management, and limited pharmacy services.
To get started, the mobile clinic will visit Colony Park and Creedmoor. The bus will park at Turner Roberts Recreation Center (7201 Colony Park Dr.) and Barbara Jordan Elementary (6711 Johnny Morris Rd.) three days per week, and at the Creedmoor Community Center in the Del Valle area (12511 FM 1625) two days per week. The days and times haven’t been determined yet.
In addition to buying the mobile health clinic, Central Health is also purchasing a prefabricated modular clinic that will be placed on leased land in Austin’s Colony/Greater Hornsby Bend. Through a partnership with Travis County Emergency Services District 4, the health center will be located next the fire station at 14312 Hunter’s Bend Road Austin, Texas 78723. Central Health is also planning to purchase land and partner with other organizations to build permanent centers in other parts of the county including Austin’s Colony/Greater Hornsby Bend and Pflugerville. “We couldn’t do this without the community,” Wallace added. “Decisions about where to expand services are based on sound data and robust community input.” Earlier this year, Central Health-funded CommUnityCare Health Centers started a home visit pilot program in neighborhoods in the Greater Hornsby Bend area.
“Health doesn’t just happen in a clinic or hospital,” said Central Health Board Chair Dr. Guadalupe Zamora, a physician practicing in East Austin for 30 years. “The world is changing and so must the way we deliver health care. We have to meet people where they live and work to ensure they have access to quality care that fits their lifestyle, not to mention all of the other things that determine a person’s health like access to healthy food, safe housing, education and so much more.”