Taking pediatric care on the road

When it comes to health care, it’s no surprise there are underserved children across the country who fall through the cracks.

Perhaps mom and dad lack health insurance or don’t know where to turn for immunizations or preventive check-ups. Or maybe a family struggles to find reliable transportation.

In northeast Indiana, however, two organizations are teaming up to turn the tide. 

The Care Mobile provides health care on the road for children up to five years old.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeast Indiana and Parkview Health are taking action to identify gaps in care and serve children where they need it most. The two are partnering to bring a Ronald McDonald House Care Mobile to northeast Indiana–one of only 50 around the globe–to provide health care on the road for children up to five years old.

“We believe it’s important to meet families where they are in their health journey, creating greater access to services and education and fostering healthy communities,” says Mike Packnett, president and CEO of Parkview Health. “We are proud to partner with Ronald McDonald House Charities on an initiative that allows us to extend pediatric care beyond the walls of our hospitals and clinics to meet patients where they need us.” 

The 40-foot long, 8-foot wide Care Mobile was built specifically for delivering pediatric care and includes two patient exam rooms, a laboratory, and reception and medical records areas. It will be staffed with a Parkview Physicians Group advanced practice provider/nurse practitioner, a medical assistant, and a driver/patient registrar.

And for those who have no insurance, there’s no charge.

“We believe in the power of serving the community and ensuring that all children have an equal opportunity to receive quality health care,” says Jen Veatch, executive director, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeast Indiana. The Care Mobile is designed to look like a doctor's office.

The services offered have been tailored to the specific needs of the community. In northeast Indiana, those services include:

  • Primary care, well-child visits, and developmental screening
  • Hearing and vision tests
  • Vaccinations
  • Point of care testing
  • Strep tests
  • Influenza and lead screenings
  • Fluoride treatments
  • Health and safety education

 

Tony GiaQuinta, MD, Parkview Physicians Group – Pediatrics, has a specific vision for the new program.

“The goal is to drive children into a stable, high-quality medical home,” he says. “Why is this important? The American Academy of Pediatrics defines the medical home as a model of care that is ‘accessible, family-centered, continuous, comprehensive, coordinated, compassionate, and culturally effective’ and promotes it as the source of primary care for all children. We know that children with a stable medical home are less likely to seek expensive and inappropriate emergency room visits, and more likely to receive important preventive services like developmental screenings and on-time vaccinations. Importantly, the medical home promotes healthy behaviors, such as family reading, dental hygiene, helmet use, and decreased screen time.”

Ronald McDonald Care Mobiles currently operate in nine countries: Argentina, Australia, Canada, Indonesia, Latvia, New Zealand, Poland, Thailand, and the United States.

“By investing in their health, we give northeast Indiana’s children the opportunity to succeed in all things,” GiaQuinta says. “This benefits both their future and our commonwealth."  

Full Disclosure: This article was written by Input Fort Wayne's sponsor Parkview Health.

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