Hitting the road: Southwest Medical’s on-the-go mobile medical center

Many Nevadans have significant challenges accessing health care. The number of primary care physicians in Nevada has not kept pace with the state’s growing population. In fact, Nevada has one of the lowest number of doctors per capita in the country and an increasing demand for health care services. And even getting to clinics can be difficult for many people, especially in the Medicaid population.

Health Plan of Nevada and Southwest Medical Associates, a part of OptumCare, have partnered to design and commission a customized mobile medical center to bring health care directly to residents in Nevada. This will lower barriers to health care — such as transportation, child care, work obligations and the low number of primary care physicians in Nevada — that often put even routine checkups out of reach.

The “Medicine on the Move” vehicle is a 45-foot-long mobile medical center. Furnished with state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment and designed to have a look and feelPatient in Mobile Medical Unit similar to traditional Southwest Medical health care centers, patients can use Medicine on the Move to obtain a wide range of health care services, such as pediatric or primary care visits, wellness checks, annual OB/GYN exams, immunizations, mammography, ultrasounds, x-rays, Medicare annual physicals, sport physicals and basic laboratory tests.

Robert McBeath, M.D., president and CEO of Southwest Medical and Don Giancursio, CEO of UnitedHealthcare in Nevada worked together to bring the concept to completion.

“Reliable transportation, child care or the many other daily life challenges shouldn’t be a barrier to quality health care,” said McBeath. “Many patients struggle to get to a health care provider, so we’re taking the health care provider to them. It’s a convenient option for Nevadans who want easier access to health care care closer to where they live and work.”

“Access to quality primary and preventive care is essential for people to maintain good health and quality of life,” said Giancursio. “Bringing quality health care to the people in our communities is what this program is all about.”

Through this partnership, the mobile medical center travels to to community centers, schools, charities, homeless shelters and churches to reach Medicaid members and others who need health care services, as well as other organizations where patients and health plan members may not have easy access to medical care.

So far this year, Medicine on the Move has partnered with several Southern Nevada charitable organizations, such as the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, Family Connect and St. Joseph Catholic Church Food Pantry.

It also made a visit to Reno earlier this year and partnered with the Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows/Reno and Volunteers of America Homeless Shelter.

Medicine on the Move features two examination rooms, a laboratory for urinalysis and blood tests, a radiology lab, a lobby, restroom and a wheelchair lift. Medicine on the Move has the only digital mammography unit in the country on a mobile medical center that provides care to patients, as well as offering radiology exams.

The vehicle is staffed by one or two physicians or health care providers, two licensed practical nurses, two medical assistants and a radiology technician, as well as a driver and setup crew.

To view a calendar of the mobile clinic’s future locations, visit MedicineOnTheMove.NV.com. To schedule an appointment, call 800-382-0870.