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Mobile Health Care Clinic

West Virginia boasts one of the highest per capita rates of veterans in the country—1 in 9 citizens served in the military. But many of these veterans face significant problems in accessing adequate health care due to seclusion in rural towns. The Clarksburg VA came up with a nifty solution: the Mobile Health Care Clinic.

This traveling clinic, open three days a week, tours 19 north-central counties in West Virginia to bring veterans their much-needed health care. It started up in July 2009 and has treated more than 1,000 veterans since then. Many of these patients hadn’t seen a doctor in more than 10 years, and gave reasons such as lack of transportation, no insurance, or because they hadn’t signed up to receive their VA health benefits. Despite its large percentage of veterans, only about 35% of them have registered with the VA.

The clinicmobile is a 42-foot truck fitted up with two exam rooms and a nursing triage station. Its health care staff offers vaccinations, blood work, prescriptions, mental health screening, diabetes screening, and basic primary-care services. In addition to nurses and a doctor, the health care team sports an enrollment officer who has signed up about 500 veterans to receive their VA benefits.

The Mobile Health Care Clinic was started up by the Clarksburg VA, with funding from the federal government for two years. West Virginia joins a list of three areas for which the VA has chosen mobile clinics as an appropriate response to spread-out and rural populations—Maine, Washington, and one additional mobile clinic servicing the bordering parts of Colorado, Nebraska, and Wyoming.

For veterans in West Virginia who would like to know when the Mobile Health Care Clinic will be traveling through, call (304) 844-7463. The health care team has been treating patients on a walk-in-basis but is starting to work from a schedule so that patients can make appointments.

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