Mobile Health Van: The mobile health unit will be operational in November; Will Meet Diverse Rural Health Care Needs | The Miner Kingman Miner
KINGMAN — A mobile health unit hopes to begin serving rural Mohave County by November to make health care and outreach more accessible to communities.
The mobile health van, which will be paid for using a portion of American Rescue Plan Act funds received by the county, will provide preventative health care, education and screening. At the Wednesday, June 8, Mohave County Board of Health meeting, staff were briefed on the demographics of rural Mohave County by Tara Stanec. Stanec, a county public health intern, is currently a graduate candidate at Baylor University in public health.
The van was recommended to the board by supervisor Jean Bishop as one of the uses with its one-fifth share of ARPA funding.
Stanec described the community assessment she conducted, a project for Stanec’s internship with the county, examining 16 communities in Districts 1 and 4 to project the impact of the mobile health unit on areas with access. limited to health care. Stanec said the study is important because it examines the unique characteristics of each community to help determine their health care needs that the mobile health care unit can provide.
“The perceived threat of an outcome, how someone perceives their susceptibility to an illness or disease and how severe they think it would be, has a huge effect on healthcare decisions,” Stanec said. . “Just as the person believes that the obstacles to a certain action are greater than the benefits that he could derive from it.”
Of the 16 communities studied, the majority are made up of young children and the elderly. In Colorado City, 50% of the population are children and in Meadview, almost 60% of the population is elderly.
More than 30% of households in eight communities are low income, which means that a household has an income of less than $25,000 per year. Stanec said 12 communities have 40% single-adult-headed households.
“It’s important not only because they’re more likely to be impoverished, but also more likely to be hospitalized with an illness and have a longer hospital stay,” Stanec said.
All 16 communities have higher rates of smoking and heavy drinking compared to the rest of Arizona. Fifteen of the 16 communities also have higher rates of diabetes and high blood pressure compared to the rest of the state. Eight of the 16 communities have higher disability rates and five communities have higher than average obesity rates.
Due to costs of doctor visits and accessibility, six communities have high rates of not seeking care when needed. The numbers range from 14.5% to 28.1% of the 16 communities compared to the state average of 13%. Six also have high rates of people with no usual source of care. The numbers range from 28.1% to 47.4% compared to Arizona’s average of 23%.
Nine communities are 30 miles or more from a health care service, which Stanec said is a factor in some individual health care decisions. Stanec said these factors indicate that these communities will use emergency services to meet medical needs.
In 2019, there were nearly 2,600 preventable hospitalizations in Mohave County. Hospitalizations can be avoided in many cases with quality outpatient care, which the mobile health unit hopes to provide.
“Almost 1,800 of those (hospitalizations) were for a chronic illness or disease,” Stanec said.
Stanec said data for the study came from a combination of informant interviews with healthcare entities and providers, and a variety of open-source data platforms, such as websites. State health care web.
Based on the data collected, Stanec said the next step is to create an evaluation plan to establish effective programs for communities. Stanec said this includes creating process, outcome and impact.
The information from these steps will be collected over several years once the mobile unit is in place. They will examine the long-term impact as well as the management of patient health care.
“Overall, the community assessment will help inform mobile health unit services, strategies, and priorities, as well as provide baseline metrics for evaluation purposes,” Stanec said. “The evaluation plan will help map the processes and objectives of the evaluation, and provide the tools for collecting and reporting data.”
Testing services may include blood sugar, cholesterol, hepatitis C, blood pressure, STIs (sexually transmitted infections), HIV, COVID-19, and flu testing. Vaccinations will also be covered by the mobile health unit, and residents will be connected to resources related to HIV, hepatitis C, and behavioral and mental health.
The Mohave Mental Health Resource Team said the unit could help raise awareness of services provided by local organizations to help break the stigma around mental health.
The team also wants to focus on crisis care and find resources for people in mental health crisis.
Lynn Valentine, county nursing services manager, said the department wants to continue providing sexually transmitted infection care and education in the county, which is on the rise statewide and nationally.
Valentine said the three main infections the state is focusing on are chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis. She said Arizona was experiencing an “epidemic” of syphilis, with a 300% increase since 2015. Mohave County had eight cases in 2019.
“That doesn’t seem like a lot, but if you notice, it’s more than we had in 2018,” Valentine said. “In 2018, we had five cases; in 2017, we had three cases.
The mobile health unit could even provide antibiotics to the patient and their partner if they test positive for an STI such as chlamydia. The range of target patients includes people between the ages of 16 and 24, men who have sex with men and women of childbearing age. Valentine also said that STI investigations are “critical”, especially given the increase in syphilis.
“It’s on an upward trajectory,” Valentine said. “It’s not the path we want to go, but yet we are there.”