Mobile clinic offered to residents

T-L Photo/DYLAN MCKENZIE
Melissa Gunn puts patient data in the computer inside the mobile care clinic. Gunn is a nurse who works with Southeast Health Services and travels with its mobile clinic to provide primary care services to walk-in patients.

T-L Photo/DYLAN MCKENZIE Melissa Gunn puts patient data in the computer inside the mobile care clinic. Gunn is a nurse who works with Southeast Health Services and travels with its mobile clinic to provide primary care services to walk-in patients.

MARTINS FERRY — For many people, one of the biggest issues with visiting the doctor is trying to fit it into their schedule, which often includes work, school and other activities. Now a local health care provider is helping to remedy that problem by providing a mobile health clinic.

Southeast Healthcare Services is located in St. Clairsville and provides a variety of health care services to the residents of Belmont County. A few years ago, Southeast decided to try something a little different to help serve patients. Regional Director Melissa Powers said the firm had a mobile coach that it used to provide medical services to homeless camps in the Columbus area, and employees decided to bring the vehicle to Belmont County and start offering a mobile health care clinic.

After making visits to Bellaire, Powers said she received word from Martins Ferry residents asking if there was any way the coach could come closer. Powers and her staff decided to include the Purple City on their route, visiting Martins Ferry twice a month.

“We’ve had the mobile coach for about a year now,” said Kelly Vansickle, a receptionist with Southeast. “We see everyone on here, all ages. It’s convenient for a lot of people to just be able to walk up.”

The mobile clinic drives around to neighborhoods in Martins Ferry and Bellaire, where it parks in a central location to be easily accessible to walk-in patients. The goal of the clinic is to help provide health care to people who might not otherwise be able to afford to see a doctor or physician. Vansickle said that they receive a lot of patient traffic just because they are so nearby and convenient.

On average, the van might see 15 or 20 patients in a day, all walking in for various medical needs.

The service provides health screenings of various kinds, primary care services and can even help people sign up for Medicare. Vansickle said everyone at Southeast has been very pleased that the public has embraced the service and hopes its service area can expand in the near future.

“We would love to expand,” Powers said, adding that workers are looking to take the van to events such as local festivals to provide health care and support and are considering taking their operation down to Monroe County as well.

“We’re just looking to go wherever people truly need health care,” Powers said. “There’s a lot of stigma with people in situations like this, so we’re trying to work past that.”

For more information on Southeast Healthcare Services, call 740-695-9344 or visit www.southeastinc.com.

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